Bad Religion Sells out the Palladium and Once Again Affirm their Relevance. Bad Religion Hits L.A. On The Age Of Unreason Tour
LA Punk rock pioneers Bad Religion rolled into town last week for a sold-out show at The Hollywood Palladium, touring in support of their newest album “Age of Unreason.” The album is their first full-length release in over five years, and what better time for such a politically driven band to make a come back? Bad Religion has always been known for their smarter than average lyrics and using their voice to speak up against social injustices, so it was only a matter of time for this triumph return. The new album is filled with all the traditional BR ingredients: aggressive power chords, harmony-filled choruses, and of course those intelligent verses that make you go ‘hmm.’ Yep, Bad Religion is back ladies and gentlemen, punks and punkettes -and what a satisfying treat they delivered. I’ve been listening to “Age of Unreason” quite a bit since it was released and it definitely ranks up there with some of their best work.
Although I’ve seen the band countless times over the years, I was still really excited for this show. There’s just something about this style of skater punk music that holds a special place in my heart, perhaps because this was the type of music I first felt connected to. While other kids were going to parties and football games, my friends and I were dancing and crowd surfing at local punk shows. Angsty teenage me loved the outlet punk rock provided and Bad Religion is most certainly a band that has continued providing those outlets years and years forward!
The show was packed to the brims, proving that the band holds a special place in many other hearts out there. The crowd was filled with mostly old school fans but I did spot a few youngsters which were nice to see.
Bad Religion came out to deafening applause and got right down to business, opening their 28 song set (yes you read that right- 28 songs!) with the hard-hitting “Them and Us” from 1996’s “The Grey Race.” The crowd went nuts-singing, jumping, moshing- hell, they were even floating!
Sorry, I’m going to rant for a second. PSA: Look it’s cool to still rock out at concerts, in fact, I hate boring crowds who just sit or stand still during a show, but come on- crowd surfing past your early 20s should be outlawed! No one wants to hold your old sweaty ass up or have your crotch in their face (ew), nor do any of us old folk want to be kicked in the head- we got shit to do in the morning! And if we are kicked, it better be by a damn kid who doesn’t know any better and who doesn’t weigh more than a buck forty -not by a bunch of old dudes who had too much to drink floating around! Get your dad bods down! End of rant! (And yes this applies to women too.)
After the first song, lead singer Greg Gaffin told the crowd it’s always a treat to play the Palladium and how he remembers watching The Ramones play the venue back in the day. (What a cool show that would’ve been to see.). He thanked the crowd for coming out and sticking around after all these years. The band then jumped right into the new track “End of History.” The song is just one of the many ‘F you Trump’ songs off the album, with lyrics like “I don’t believe in golden ages, Or presidents that put kids in cages.” Let’s just say it’s safe to say you won’t see any MAGA hats at a BR show.
Gaffin and his bandmates, which consist of Jay Bentley (bass), Brian Baker (guitar), Mike Dimkich (guitar) and Jamie Miller (drums), blasted through the rest of their epic set and chose wisely from their huge catalog (17 albums) to ensure the fans got what they wanted. The night was filled with a good mix of new material and classic BR songs like Suffer”, “Generator”, “Stranger Than Fiction”, “Los Angeles is Burning” and “21st Century (Digital Boy).” They even took it way back to their first album with “Fuck Armageddon…This is Hell.” The band may have aged, but they sound as good as ever and deliver an energetic live performance. Gaffin’s vocals are strong, the vocal harmonies are spot on, and the slashing power chords are electrifying. These dudes still rock and they rock hard! Hell yea!
They ended the night with a two-song encore. The opening bass line of the immensely popular “Infected” put the crowd in a frenzy and the entire venue was jamming along. They ended the night with “American Jesus” a song from 1993 that still resonates with current issues so much it feels like it could’ve been written this year. And that’s the thing about BR. They have managed to remain revered and relevant, even after 40 years in the business. They’ve always written songs with a sense of urgency, songs that make you think, and the fact that they still have something to say and have people caring to listen…well if that’s not impressive, I don’t know what it is! The So Cal band’s sound has helped define generations of bands who followed them, but there is still is no other band quite like them.