Rancid whips up intense, relentless Phoenix show

By Andrew Berenson

Arizona Daily Wildcat

"When is this line going to move!"

These were the first words out of my mouth as I waited in the mile and a half line to get into the Rancid concert at the beautiful Party Gardens in Phoenix. I had just received my guest passes courtesy of Epitaph Records, and I was ready to get into the venue and slam. After around 20 minutes of waiting, my buddy Chris and I got into the Gardens just as the second band, the Lunachicks, was taking the stage. By then it was complete mayhem inside.

The Lunachicks play riot girl punk in a way that is quite unique. I had heard they were terrible live from my friend back home, but what I witnessed was pretty much the opposite. The Lunachicks were extremely tight and played punk that was hard, yet melodic, and definitely got the crowd moving. The only major complaint I had was that as I ventured into the pit during this set, I was completely surrounded by the entire Phoenix Aryan nation and I was definitely not enjoying this.

To put it into Arizona words which I hate to use, "IT WAS NOT ALL GOOD!" All these bastards were doing was causing fights and pushing people around that didn't believe in their pigheaded beliefs. I feel these morons should have stayed at home and fought with one another. They say white power is about unity. Well go home and bond with each other and stay away from the good shows. Also, another thing that made me mad was that the Lunachicks had to stop their set and ask the security to kick out those racist pigs. The security in return did nothing about it, for half of them were Aryan themselves.

About an hour later, Rancid hit the stage and never let up. Rancid are huge, and for those of you who don't know that, well, you know now. The whole crowd was going sick and the pits (with less skinheads) were less violent and more enjoyable. Tim Armstrong was his ever-punk self jumping around from one part of the stage to the next, leading his band of punk misfits through a phenomenal set. Playing songs from their three Epitaph releases as well as their two seven-inches, Rancid were relentless.

From the opening notes of "Roots Radical," which preaches to punks around the nation to "Give 'em the boot," to one of the final encores, "Rejected," this show was nonstop fun. Other Rancid highlights included the bass-madness song "Maxwell Murders," "St. Mary" in which Rancid sing "Now Mary's out the door with a loaded .44, shooting down the law, which shot down her dear departed man" and the ever powerful "Nihilism." Another highlight was my personal favorite Rancid song "Radio," in which Rancid rant the ever pumped-up chorus which says "Radio, Radio, Radio, when I got the music I got a place to go."

Besides Armstrong taking the spotlight, Rancid have now shown that they are a very powerful UNIT, for every member carried his own weight and showed that they could perform well in the spotlight. Lard Frederiksen, the guitarist, stepped into the forefront by singing many songs and he actually sang them great. I had seen Rancid twice before in Boston, and I thought he screwed up a couple of songs with his voice, but at this show he definitely held his own. Matt Freeman, the bassist, also stood out as usual with his hyper-sick basslines that go 200 miles an hour and almost never slow down. And drummer Brett Reed kept a vicious backbeat that complemented Rancid's intense set.

Overall, I really enjoyed this show (minus a lot of the crowd) and, if you don't see Rancid sometime in your lifetime, you are really missing out on one of the best live bands in the country. Also, if you won't go to see them because you think they sold out, I say go to hell, and you sold out for listening to what other people say. See Rancid live, live life, and have fun doing it.

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