Sharon Burgess – rise-against-hbf-perth-feb-2018-sharon-burgess-19
Picture: Sharon Burgess. Full gallery

Review: Rise Against at HBF Arena, Perth, 7 February 2018

Chicago punks Rise Against kicked off their first Australian Tour in two years at HBF Arena Wednesday night, bringing with them a young group of hardcore heavy hitters from Sydney, Bare Bones.

Touring on the back of their eighth studio album Wolves, and fortunately for us, Rise Against chose to begin the Aussie leg of their tour right here in Perth

It’s a long way from Sydney for Bare Bones, but the boys didn’t come here to pat quokkas. Frontman Tom Kennedy was hell-bent on winning over the reserved Perth crowd from the opening minute, but three songs in the boys really hit their straps. ‘Thick as Thieves’, from their Album Bad Habits, had even the semi-interested onlookers fully engaged and the floor starting to fill. ‘Heavy Burner’ continued the trend.

Whenever a support band wins over a few indifferent locals has to be deemed a success – and Bare Bones succeeded.

Make no mistake, though, the main event was politically charged rockers Rise Against. The hardcore outfit know exactly what their army of fans want and they delivered.

From the dark and ominous opening display of air raid sirens, weaving search lights and the warlike staccato sound of drums, the mood was set for their legion of followers.

The tension was perfectly built and fans sporting Rise Against t-shirts fans jammed the floor, giving closed-fisted rallying salutes to the band as the boys hit the stage with ‘Chamber the Cartridge’.

For the next 30 minutes the boys whipped the floor of HBF Arena into a seething mass of bodies with songs like ‘The Violence’ and ‘House On Fire’ from new album Wolves.

Just when the excitement threatened to boil over, frontman Tim McIlrath expertly calmed the masses with an interlude of solo acoustic songs, a highlight being the excellent ‘People Live Here’.

The short break was a chance for some on the floor area to catch their breath before the amps were turned back up to 11 and the band powered through a final series of hits.

McIlrath’s connection with an audience is so genuine it is impossible to not get swept up in the moment. From jumping into the crowd and high-fiving everyone around him to time spent relating stories and ideals the band hold dear.

At times, the spoken interaction got a little preachy, but no one was complaining, especially the stage invader who adoringly hugged and took selfies with his obliging hero during the encore.

Rise Against owned HBF Arena for those 90 minutes and it was a pleasure to witness.

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