Gig Review :: Bad Religion – Academy 2, Manchester – 24/08/10

The Only Religion I Can Get Behind

©Emma Stone 2010

It’s hard to review a band that have been around as long as Bad Religion. In their 30 years they’ve influenced countless musicians, released 15 studio albums and helped revive the punk rock genre. It was always going to be special to see these guys play, but I didn’t think it’d turn out to be one of my favorite gigs of 2010. Some might consider them amongst the ‘dads army’ of punk but if this gig showed anything, it’s that they’re far from past it.


With a new album on the horizon, some bands would choose to play their more recent stuff. Not Bad Religion. The setlist was fantastic. It was like being at a greatest hits show. Anything a Bad Religion fan would’ve wanted played was.

Greg Graffin was in fine voice as he blasted his way through songs like ‘Suffer’, ‘New Dark Ages’ and, a personal favorite, ‘Los Angeles Is Burning’. I have so much respect for him – even more now I’ve seen the guy do what he does best with my own eyes. He’s not only a great singer, but a great showman too. He commanded the stage (and the attention of the crowd) better than I’ve seen anyone do it before.

The audience isn’t usually an element of a gig I’d comment on, but I really feel the need to here. Given who these people were watching, you’d have thought there’d have been a bit of energy about them. The crowd may have been the most inanimate I’ve ever seen a group of people at Academy 2. There were definitely small pockets really going for it, as they should be, but the majority of people were stood perfectly still throughout the gig. I’m sure some of that was down to the amount of people packed into one of the smaller venues in Manchester, but my point still stands. This is a punk gig people, a bit of movement would be nice.

There’s no doubt that Greg was on top form, but the rest of the band were too. After a little bit of a shaky start, they really got into it and were really tight through to the end. It has to be said, that this was Bad Religion sans-Brett Gurewitz. I overheard some fans outside who sounded disappointed that he wasn’t there. Admittedly, it would’ve been awesome had he been, but the show was great regardless.

‘American Jesus’ closed out the main part of the show and, at last, the crowd finally seemed in good spirits. The band left stage and it seemed the encore everyone wanted wasn’t going to happen. After a little while, the guys came back out and played more fan favorites. This was the highlight of the show for me. Stranger Than Fiction is my favorite Bad Religion album, so to hear ’21st Century (Digital Boy)’ live was a great thing to behold. It was a great show and I don’t think anyone was doubting it would be. 30 Years and still going strong. I think some up and coming bands out there need to take notice.


Setlist:

  • Do What You Want
  • Overture/Sinister Rouge
  • We’re Only Gonna Die
  • Recipe For Hate
  • Flat Earth Society
  • Before You Die
  • A Walk
  • How Much Is Enough
  • No Control
  • Requiem For Dissent
  • Sanity
  • Atomic Garden
  • New Dark Ages
  • Dearly Beloved
  • Suffer
  • Germs Of Perfection
  • No Direction
  • Los Angeles Is Burning
  • Along The Way
  • Fuck Armageddon…This Is Hell
  • You
  • Infected
  • American Jesus

Encore:

  • Generator
  • 21st Century (Digital Boy)
  • Sorrow

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