Bad Religion - Pacific Amphitheatre - July 17, 2014

Categories: live review

Alex Distefano
Bad Religion
Bad Religion
Pacific Amphitheatre

This summer, Bad Religion, The Offspring and Pennywise are teaming up for the Summer Nationals Tour. With the closest stop being in Chula Vista on Aug. 30, Bad Religion decided to perform a show for OC fans, by playing a concert last night, at the OC Fairgrounds' Pacific Amphitheater, with LA punk veterans X opening the evening.

"This is our first show from a long tour of Europe and it's good to be able to communicate in our own language," said Bad Religion vocalist Greg Graffin to the crowd at the Pacific Amphitheater half way through the band's set, which lasted just over an hour. "It's good to be back home in California. We love it here at the OC Fair. MMM... Smell the fried Oreos and funnel cakes?!"

Bad Religion live consisted of Graffin, along with guitarists Brian Baker and Mike Dimkich, bass player Jay Bentley and drummer Brooks Wackerman. The band played a solid set, which transcended through the audience, from the younger punks in spikes and anarchy signs to the older, gray haired punks in shorts and glasses.

You could see the sweat dripping off of Wackerman, who smashed his kit through songs such as "Can't Stop It," and "Do What You Want." Fan favorites, included "You Are the Government," "Best For You," and "1,000 More Fools," from the band's seminal 1988 album Suffer. The crowd also erupted as the band played the hits like "Infected" and "21st Century Digital Boy."

Bentley's movements with the bass, along with the intense drumming, caused bursts of energy that brought out a certain conviviality on stage. This force combined with the band's optimistic set of melodic hardcore punk, and was able to harness enough energy from the crowd to start moshing, in a seats only venue.

"Put those seats back, now we're going to get in trouble," said Graffin jokingly, as guards did their best to contain the would be slam dancers, including many younger women in the make shift circle pit, started all for fun of course.

Bad Religion is, like its punk rock peers in The Offspring, capable of being simultaneously a great American 'modern rock' band and a punk band that writes catchy tunes. Greg Graffin's vocals are in many aspects spot on, and the melody, cadence and harmonies in his voice comes off awesome live, on tunes like "Sorrow," and "Los Angeles is Burning,"

"OC is burning too though my friends, I assure you," Graffin told the crowd after the song.

The band played various songs off of albums as Generator, Stranger Than Fiction, No Control, The Process of Belief Recipe for Hate and others. Playing songs off of the recent True North(2013), and even reaching into the band's super early work, towards the end of the set, by playing the song "Fuck Armagedon.This is Hell," from the band's debut album How Could Hell Be Any Worse (1982).

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