Emerging from nearly 18 months with no live shows, FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine is rockin’ again. Saturday August 21 on an unseasonably cool night brought out a near packed house to witness Rise Against, Descendents and The Menzingers. For most in attendance, this concert was probably their first since early 2020.  

A lively opening set by Scranton, PA’s The Menzingers was seriously entertaining. The band brought a high level of energy that conditioned the crowd for the remaining acts. As the sun set, “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” appropriately served as the opening song. The four-piece punk act roared through a quick 8 song set that finished up with “After The Party”.

South Bay natives Descendents maintained the energy as they stormed through 24 songs during a 45-minute set. The punk rock band from Hermosa Beach is celebrating over 42 years with Milo Aukerman as their iconic front man. The lead singer, complete with his well-documented PhD in Biology from UC San Diego still commands the stage and continues to appear like he is having the time of his life performing. With songs like “I Like Food”, “Weinerschnitzel”, “Coffee Mug” and “I Wanna Be A Bear” you can tell that the band has always embraced their punk roots. One of the biggest hits “Suburban Home” lead into the set closer, “Smile”. 

Describing the night as “a little bit magical, a little bit like a dream”, Rise Against front man Tim McIlrath and his bandmates threw together a 90-minute rock set that was graciously soaked up by the nearly 12,000 in attendance. The Chicago based band with lead guitarist Zach Blair, Joe Principe on bass and drummer Brandon Barnes mixed their radio friendly and chart-topping hits through an 18-song set that also highlighted selections of their recent June 2021 release, Nowhere Generation

Using a set filled with static-filled televisions and heavy spotlights, the band opened with their latest single “The Numbers”. Two of Rise Against’s biggest hits followed immediately behind with “Re-Education (Through Labor)” and “Satellite”. 

McIlrath later addressed the crowd stating “SoCal…it’s been too long since we’ve thrown our fists in the air” before launching into “The Violence”. Later he also gave background on “I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore”, stating the song is a way to get out of “dark places”, its meaningful words serve as a metaphorical antidote.

A two-song solo acoustic interlude by McIlrath included a new song “Forfeit” and “Swing Life Away”.  A jam-packed encore of five songs kicked off with “Make It Stop (September’s Children)”, a striking song that addresses teen suicide and homophobia. McIlrath dedicated “Worth Dying For” to Descendents, noting that they were an early influence for Rise Against while “Savior” brought the evening to an triumphant ending.  

Rise Against continues to have strong political views, which is still very much evident in their music however this evening the band made sure to connect with the audience —thankful for the ability to tour again and share an evening under the stars with some good old fashion punk rock.

Rise Against Set List:

The Numbers | Re-Education (Through Labor) | Satellite | The Violence | Broken Dreams, Inc. | Audience of One | Ready to Fall | Nowhere Generation | I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore | Chamber the Cartridge | Give It All

Tim Solo Acoustic: Forfeit | Swing Life Away

Encore: Make It Stop (September’s Children) | Prayer of the Refugee | Survive | Worth Dying For | Savior

The Menzingers Photo Gallery

Descendents Photo Gallery

Descendents Photo Gallery