A real success yesterday for Vertigo, the event organizer who brought to the stage of theAlcatraz the first melodic punk band in the world: i Bad Religion and theirs 40 years + 2 anniversary tour.
Announced in 2020 in the aftermath of the release of the biography “Do what you want”, the show was supposed to celebrate the 40th anniversary d‘activities of the band, founded way back in 1980 in Los Angeles, California. Since then, with their irreverent style and their lyrics based on religion, politics, society and science, Bad Religion have given new life and dramatically expanded the audience of punk rock, inspiring bands in turn. go down in history as NoFx, Offspring, Pennywise, Green Day and many others; could they possibly allow themselves to be stopped by the COVID pandemic? Of course not, and here they are then candidly add a +2 and embark on a world tour.
Needless to say, the Alcatraz was packed yesterday and, although some might maliciously insinuate that there were more squares than ridges, the energy was sky high.
Also thanks to the The Rumjacks, the Australian band that with its punk rock and Celtic folk vibes had the task of warming up the scenes. Mission that he completed perfectly, mixing the songs of the new EP with the most acclaimed songs Brass for Gold and setting the spirits on fire with a rough and direct sound. Unmissable “An Irish Pub Song”, but also “A Fistful O ‘Roses” and “Hestia”.
A special mention to the new singer, Mike Rivkees that did not make us regret the old line-up for even a second and gave new energy to the band and its audience. On the other hand, that the Rumjacks have a special bond with the Milanese city is undeniable, given the long time spent in Milanese pubs and bars during the recordings and the origin of the drummer, Pietro Della Sala, as well as the manager, Gianluca Amendolara.
Affection more than repaid yesterday by the ovations of the audience, who after having sang at the top of their lungs and poged with enthusiasm on the notes of their songs, greeted the band’s exit with great warmth and emotion.
Nothing to do, however, with the real roar that after a few moments welcomed the triumphal and energetic entry of the Californian formation. Mike Dimkich’s clothing is striking, unmistakable in a yellow leopard-print jacket with black hearts and a leather jacket next to bassist Jay Bentley, rigorously dressed in optical white.
Bad Religion are in their fifties, have balding hair, glasses and, let’s face it, some have a little belly too. Yet, they have no intention of stopping giving lessons in hardcore melodic, in a constant and perfect balance between impetuousness and melody that will characterize their entire concert, an hour and a half of pure energy.
The secret of such success is as banal as it is absolutely not obvious, and it has a name: Greg Graffin. Her voice sounds like it was forty years ago, just a little more scratchy and smoother. Anyone who thought this was a post-production miracle has to be reconsidered: the 57-year-old is simply in great shape.
At ease both in the muscular parts and in the melodic moments, the singer makes the difference, supported by five well-established musicians who play their elementary scores with one hand and exceptional savoir-faire.
It is at this juncture that the benefits of age emerge. Not in the music itself, but in the way of playing it together: decades of craft that filter through the meshes of a simple but very compact sound. In genres such as blues or jazz on the other hand, you would never think of a musician who is too old. Indeed, age becomes synonymous with wisdom and skill. Rock, and even more punk, remain on the contrary linked to the myth of the rebellious youth from which they originate. But it is basically a cliché, and artists like i Bad Religion I’m here to remind us.
To tell the truth, Bad Religion has always been a mature punk band, starting with the lyrics and the arrangements, but now that they are all in their fifties or so, what used to be a pleasant dystonia becomes a rather bulky baggage and to handle it without our consequences have dusted off a respectable anger and energy.
Not an uncertainty, not a pause, for a band celebrating its forty years (+2) of activity. No doubt about it, with sixteen studio albums to their credit and millions of copies sold, Bad Religion once again proves to be one of the most spectacular bands in the history of punk rock.
Miss Stormy Valentine
Recipe for Hate
New Dark Ages
Do What You Want
F * ck You
Los Angeles Is Burning
Like Join Us
End of History
Stranger Than Fiction
Struck to Nerve
We’re Only Gonna Die
Dept. of False Hope
Along the Way
Punk Rock Song
I Want to Conquer the World
21st Century (Digital Boy)
Photo by The Rumjacks courtesy of Antonio Invernizzi