On Friday night (July 30th), Rise Against and Descendents played one of the first big rock shows back in New York City since the pandemic started. The veteran punk acts rocked a sold-out concert at The Rooftop at Pier 17 on a beautiful night in the Big Apple.
The show marked the second proper concert for Rise Against and first for Descendents since the concert industry came to a halt in early 2020. Thankfully, a clear night with low humidity greeted the bands and the fans, as the Empire State Building could be seen to the left of the stage, while the Brooklyn Bridge was visible to the right.
Rising Los Angeles punk act Spanish Love Songs opened the evening’s festivities with a set of anthemic songs, including cuts from their most recent album, 2020’s Brave Faces Everyone. For many in the crowd, it was their first time seeing live music in a year and a half.
Descendents then took the stage, armed with 40-plus years of punk songs. In addition to favorites off such classic albums as Milo Goes to College and Everything Sucks, the band played a few tunes from their new album, 9th & Walnut, which is actually a collection of songs that they wrote back in the late ’70s and early ’80s but never properly recorded — until now. Overall, the legendary California punkers ripped through 23 songs during their 45-minute set.
With The Rooftop at Pier 17 having a 10 p.m. curfew, headliners Rise Against launched their set at 8:30 p.m., kicking things off with “The Numbers” from their new album Nowhere Generation (which was produced by Descendents’ Bill Stevenson). A sound issue marred the first minute or two of the band’s set, but thankfully it was quickly fixed and they sounded fine for the rest of the evening.
Amid hits like “Re-Education (Through Labor),” “Help Is on the Way,” and “Prayer of the Refugee,” frontman Tim McIlrath expressed extreme gratitude for being able to rock in front of the band’s fans again after such a long time away. In fact, McIlrath said that at one point during the pandemic, he was fearful that live music as we knew it was over.
Among the other Rise Against highlights were the Nowhere Generation title track, which just hit No. 1 on the Active Rock radio chart, as well as “Swing Life Away” (McIlrath solo) and the set-closer, “Savior.”
Rise Against’s summer tour with Descendents continues tonight (August 3rd) in Baltimore, with the The Menzingers jumping on the bill for the remainder of the month-long run. Pick up tickets via Ticketmaster, and see our exclusive gallery of photos from the NYC show below.
Photo Gallery (Click to Enlarge and Scroll Through):