Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Bad Religion at the House of Blues Anaheim

Bad Religion are the Rolling Stones of punk rock in that they are truly an institution. The major difference is that Bad Religion still puts out good new albums and they don’t rip off their fans on ticket prices. Their latest release New Maps of Hell on Epitaph records is a perfect example that Bad Religion has a lot left in their gas tank with blistering cuts like “New Dark Ages” and "Murder".

Del Toro

Del Toro started the show with their unabashed take on garage rock with a twist of classic rock. It really wasn't what the audience was expecting but it was loud enough that some of the audience appreciated it.

Miss Derringer

Miss Derringer had to work hard to fight the boos from the angst filled Bad Religion audience. I am used to seeing some diverse opening bands in my concert going history so I would like to think of myself as being a little bit more open minded. Miss Derringer mixes the elements of cabaret, show tunes, goth, country and '60s girl groups for a bizarre musical collage. Song titles such as “Suicide Song" and ”Bulletproof Heart" speak for themselves in terms of subject matter covered by Miss Derringer. Lightnin' Bill Woodcock (Guitars) had the musical chops to match his mutton chops as he howled on his Gretsch Guitar. They will be opening a few more dates for Bad Religion so I hope the Bad Religion faithful are ready.

Bad Religion

Bad Religion is currently challenging Social Distortion for the number of sold out House of Blues shows while promoting their new album “New Maps of Hell”. Instead of playing the same set every night though, Bad Religion is focusing on different eras during their storied career. Since I attended the first night of the series, it happened to be the 80-85 era that Bad Religion was focusing on.

“New Dark Ages” was the second song to lead the charge as Greg Hetson (Guitars) was furiously bouncing up and down like he was on a pogo stick as he rattled off power chords on his Gibson SG. Brett Gurewitz (Guitars) was switching between a Gibson Les Paul and a modified Fender Stratocaster. I was impressed that Brett had a Diesel VH4 head in his backline as his tone was cutting nicely through the mix. Brian Baker (Guitars) had his Gibson Les Paul rocking the whole night combining for a triple guitar attack that simply devastates. Greg Graffin (Vocals) is one of the most entertaining front men in punk rock with his multitude of expressions and gestures that fit the context of whatever song they play.

“We’re Only Gonna Die” sounded classic as the crowd swirled in the pit on the floor. “Slaves” was a rapid fire blast of guitar strumming from Greg Hetson and went by in barely over a minute. “Do What You Want” was another old school gem as I was singing along with the chorus. Bad Religion still managed to throw some more recent gems into the mix as they deftly played “Stranger Than Fiction”. “Generator” is the signal for any fans weak at heart to get off the floor because the pit went absolutely nuts as shoes started to fly. Brian tore into a mini wah solo during the song as Jay would scrape his bass on the microphone stand for a chaotic ending. Greg Graffin would make an impromptu set change as he opted for “Punk Rock Song” from the Grey Race album and would put his arm around Brett as they sung during the chanting chorus. It was easy to see that they were still having a good time up on stage.

“Let Them Eat War” is one of the top songs from The Empire Strikes First and seemed like a very timely statement. “American Jesus” is another Bad Religion gem that also had me singing along word for word. It is a shame that KROQ only plays “Infected” all the time as Bad Religion has so many classic songs. Bad Religion did tone it down for a few songs as they did a short two song acoustic set. They came back for a second encore of “Along The Way”, “21st Century Digital Boy” and a huge crowd sing along of “Sorrow”. It is impossible to hear every favorite Bad Religion song at a show, but I am thinking of catching a few more to try and make it happen.


Craig said...

Jeez... that sounded like an awesome show. Maybe if they start touring Hard Rock Cafes I can check them out live. I'm thinking that's unlikely though.

Mel said...

After being so disappointed with the last Social D show, your review of this one makes me much more optimistic for my upcoming show at HOB Anaheim. I'll be excited to see which era they are doing that night! And you know you've got a ride if you wanna tag along. ;)

BTW those two pics of Greg are killer!