Bad Religion Push Hot And Sweaty First Avenue Over The Edge


Things are starting to get back to normal after a whirlwind weekend trip to California for a family reunion that left me exhausted and completely out of my routine. I’ve been struggling to get back in the swing of things and the fact that tomorrow is a holiday with no work and no plans other than day drinking doesn’t help anything. For most people, going back to work with a steady bedtime and wake-up time does the trick but, as you clearly know by now, I’m far from being like “most people” and knew what I had to do. I had to drag my exhausted butt out of my apartment and get to a show. Luckily for me, there was a hell of a show going on Tuesday night at First Avenue and I woke up this morning finally feeling like things were getting a bit back to normal.

The crowd was clearly excited for the headliner to come on and opener Dave Hause & the Mermaid caught on quick. Jabbing a bit at the audience and themselves (including a story where the headliner’s merch guy literally saved them from dying in a car crash after a previous First Avenue show so basically had that guy not saved them, we wouldn’t have to stand through an opener) there was a slight annoyance that radiated off the stage towards the audience but there was also the feeling that I love getting from this group. Dave Hause is a force in the scene. Having been in such groups as The Loved Ones and The Falcon, Dave is definitely one of those iconic figures if you’re in the know when it comes to the punk scene.

I’ll try to keep the gushing over Dave to a minimum as I just saw him a couple of months ago and spent that entire post basically declaring my love for this man but there is seriously just something about him. His music has a way of translating to a certain demographic of working class punk kids that, although they had to grow up and get real jobs, still have this sort of hard edge to them. Dave Hause & The Mermaid’s set seemed to be over in the blink of an eye but not before I heard my favorite song “Dirty Fucker” and a flawless cover of The Loved Ones’ “Jane”. The rest of the audience may have spent majority of the opening set having conversations or getting drinks at the bar but I found myself with my eyes glued to that stage eating up every single word and note that was put out there. After a quick shout out to everyone to go to D4th of July (Dillinger Four’s little annual festival that will be on Friday night at Modist Brewing– hint, hint, nudge, nudge), it was done and Dave Hause was walking off the stage with his talented band members in tow. I’m already hoping for a new announcement in the upcoming days for a return date to Minneapolis.

Headlining the Tuesday night show was Bad Religion- a band that I’ve seen multiple times at various festivals across the country and over the years but have never really been able to see in all their glory. Last night was my chance and I wasn’t letting a single minute slip away. Since 1980 this band has been at the top of their game. A punk band with a message, these guys don’t stray away from politics and were actually one of the main reasons I got into politics as an angsty teenager. Their music was chaotic and heavy at times but it also taught me a lot and that’s something that I don’t think much music does today which breaks my heart. Things have definitely changed since 1980 including the songs and some of the faces in this band (although the vocalist, bassist and lead guitarist and still originals) but some things haven’t changed at all and one of those things is Bad Religion’s talent and impressive live shows.

For a bunch of old men (sorry, not sorry), these guys can seriously throw down with the youngest bands in the scene. Sure, there’s less jumping and stage diving than there probably was back in the day but there’s still an undeniable sense of energy that radiates off the stage while Bad Religion performs. Their nearly thirty song set was full of songs that spanned their lengthy career. With 17 full length albums out (no, I’m not kidding), this group could have played for hours on hours and they would have still left songs on the table yet somehow they were able to find the perfect balance between new and old and chaotic and calm (or at least as calm as they get) when it came to their set list. Every song they played was a favorite for the older audience and, although it was hot and humid inside (to the point where even vocalist Greg Graffin said a snarky comment about the lack of air conditioning), every beat was reflected in the movement of the crowd. From the sweaty moshpit front and center to the people in the back of the nearly sold out venue who were just chilling (or trying to) while having their drinks, there was an indisputable sense of energy flying through the air.

Sure, I’ve seen Bad Religion before but never for a whole set and I couldn’t help but just stand there in my little bubble while watching this influential and iconic band do their thing. It’s so heartwarming to know that even in an ever-changing world, there are constants here and there. One of the main constants in my life is, and always will be music. Thank you Bad Religion for being one of those constants.

Things are getting back to normal for me and, with a full calendar of shows and festivals coming up, I’m definitely excited to see what the rest of this summer has in store for me. If last night was any indication, it’s going to be a hell of a season!