A heavy mist of damp grey permeated the scene as soaked rockers slinked about the crowd awaiting the second band of the evening – Rancid was set to begin momentarily, and I was seeking a good spot to enjoy the show without getting trampled.
Ever the solid live performers, Rancid brought the noise pleasing the crowd with familiar hits like Salvation, Ruby Soho, Time Bomb, Roots Radicals, Olympia, WA and Fall Back Down, giving the usual animated performance that I’m beginning to rely on. Without costume changes or set props, there’s not much to distinguish between the Rancid shows I’ve seen over the past couple of years; the performance is always on point and new songs always well received – from the band’s latest release, Let the Dominoes Fall, Last One to Die, fit seamlessly into last night’s set; where Civilian Way, popped as a way new sound for the band while the lyrics speak true to the Rancid vibe; though the tune was originally intended for release on an acoustic record, the track instead found its way onto Let the Dominoes Fall.
Rise Against played a straight forward set, put in their 2 cents worth of French to appease les Québécois and played their hits to please the crowd: Audience of One, Ready to Fall, The Good Left Undone, and Paper Wings off 2004’s Siren Song of the Counterculture. This band is a solid live performance; quality tunes with socially conscious lyrics avoid the vapid thrashery that blinds prudes to good edgy rock. In the spirit of dedicating songs to each other (the bands were doing it all night, it was all very sweet and bro-mantic really) – Rise Against then dedicated a song to the audience; while front-man Tim McIlrath urged the audience to embrace their pain, for it is in those moments that we define who we really are, the band started into Survive, off their hit 2006 record Sufferer & the Witness.
Well, I hope I defined myself as a survivor by sucking up my pain and standing through the whole show despite the sadistic cruelty of whoever made the decision to cover the entire island with an inescapable layer of sharp rocks. Apparently the people running Parc Jean-Drapeau and le Parterre de l’Ile Notre-Dame were so happy to book such a great slew of concerts this summer, that they decided it would be a grand show of appreciation to punish concert goers with the most unpleasant possible footing made up of endless shards of rock. Is this just to test the will of the masses to support their favourite musicians through rain or pain? Or simply a show of total ineptitude? Either way, I shall take the advice given and embrace thoughts of you, whoever you are, as I curse your malicious souls while limping all the way home to soak my suffering feet – you bastards.