Live Review: Rise Against, The Nightwatchman, Polar Bear Club

10/11 at the UAE LCR

Until I bought the tickets I had never heard of Rise Against and I was unaware of Tom Morello’s 'Nightwatchman' alter-ego. I bought them purely because of Tom’s output with Rage Against the Machine & Audioslave.

The UEA LCR was its usual self, small enough to be intimate yet large enough that you can watch from the sidelines safe from the moshpit. The crowd was best described by Morello when he referred to the;

"Adolescents at the front" and the "forty year olds in the faded Rage against the machine T-shirts" at the back!

The night kicked off with Polar Bear Club, a post-hardcore indie rock band from upstate New York. Yep, that’s lifted straight from Wikipedia, I hadn’t heard of them either! There’s no doubting their energy, but the curiously Harry Potter-like lead singers voice faltered several times during their set. For me they lack a defining sound to make them memorable. Like their peers Broadway Calls they seemed content to bash through their set without much interaction with the audience.

Morello came on to loud cheers and did not disappoint, just so long as you don’t mind mixing music and politics. Compared Polar Bear Club, Tom showed that you need substance AND energy to put on a good show, with the crowd eager to be involved. My only criticism was that he didn’t play longer and teased with the intro from Rage’s Sleep Now in the Fire without performing the whole track!

This leaves Rise Against, the 'straight edge' political punks. 'The Kids' clearly loved them, and they really went for it, but when their material was catchy it seemed too polished I couldn’t help feeling that they were going over ground already well covered by The Offspring, RATM and Green Day.