REVIEW: Rise Against Mourns Amerika in NYC

Well isn’t that a fitting headline when you consider that our current “leader” is a douchebag from NYC? The Mourning in Amerika tour headlined by punk rockers Rise Against and also featuring AFI – who have been everything from hardcore punk to emo to rock in their career – as well as the anti-establishment punk rockers Anti Flag has the perfect name and stormed into NYC – home base for Mein Fuhrer trump (I refuse to capitalize his name) – at Coney Island’s Ford Amphitheater adjacent to the world-famous Coney Island boardwalk and beach. This venue, now in its third season, has still not sold out a single show, which is a goddam Greek tragedy, and the Mourning in Amerika tour featuring three stellar bands was its latest victim.

That’s Live Nation’s fault, and as a result there was nobody in the place when Anti Flag opened the show. They co-headlined with Reel Big Fish last year and were tons of fun, and that was the case once again as they kicked off the night with The Press Corpse and Fuck Police Brutality along with other anti-governmental tunes like Die for the Government and Brandenburg Gate to end their 9-song set with bassist Chris Barker singing in the crowd.

I love Anti Flag even though I disagree with many of their political views – specifically their anti-police views – and their music and performance always kicks ass. Here’s a few photos from their set:

Up next was AFI, who I’ve wanted to catch for a while now and missed last time they came through town. Frontman Davey Havok is known to be a bit of a maniac on stage and has a lot of fun doing it, so finally scratching them off the list was a cool experience. AFI went through 10 songs including a couple from my youth – Girl’s Not Gray and Miss Murder, which closed their set – along with Strength Through Wounding, Paper Airplanes, Bleed Black and Silver and Cold. There really isn’t much to say about AFI, they’re basically the Davey Havok project at this point, as he’s clearly the main attraction, though Jade Puget is stellar on guitar as well, and AFI did put on a fun set that ended with Havok being held up by the crowd in that became a mosh pit. I’ll let the photos do the talking for this one.

Rise Against, the tour’s headliner, came out like gangbusters for their extended set – which was actually more like three sets – including a brief acoustic set and an encore, all of which totaled 19 tunes spanning the band’s history. It comes as no surprise that the recent single, House on Fire, was a fan-favorite in Coney Island, as was Help Is on the Way, with my personal favorite being the acoustic Swing Life Away from so many years ago that reminds me of simpler times and was something of an anthem in my late teens.

Seeing Rise Against isn’t really something that had crossed my mind up until this tour was announced and word got out that they were playing my neighborhood venue, and when you consider that the opening and support acts can and have headlined their own tours, it becomes a must-see and I’m glad I got out to this one as I get ready to make a big announcement here at Soundboard Magazine. Hearing tunes like The Violence, Megaphone, Blood-Red, White & Blue, People Live Here, Make It Stop and Prayer of the Refugee made for a special performance.

Add Rise Against to a lineup of AFI and Anti-Flag and make them the headliner and you take an already killer show and make it a monster. AFI and Anti-Flag alone are worth the price of admission, adding another stellar band to that just makes it unfair to any other show going on the same night as this tour is in your town. It’s not the biggest tour of the summer, and it likely won’t even be the best by the time the calendar turns to fall, but it’s a solid tour to check out. How can you go wrong with three bands who hate our country as much as I do right now?