On May 3rd, Bad Religion dropped yet another bomb in the punk world. Age
of Unreason is the band’s seventeenth studio release, and nothing short of fantastic.
This album delivers everything you’d expect from these legends; from addressing
inequality and corruption in today’s society to the fast-paced punk rock sound we all
know and love.
The Age Of Unreason summer tour kicked off in July with Dave Hause & the
Mermaid on the first part of the tour, and the Lawrence Arms on the last leg of the
On August 6th, hundreds of people lined the streets of Rochester, New York
waiting for the doors of local club Anthology to open for a sold out show. The staff
was very quick and friendly getting everyone through the door right at 6pm. Upon
entering, the merch tables were set up along the walls in the back with a huge bar.
My crew and I grabbed a few drinks and some merch before we headed down to the
main floor by the stage.
The Lawrence Arms came on right at 7pm and got the crowd started with
“The Slowest Drink at the Saddest Bar on the Snowiest Day in the Greatest City.” The
band played a great set, with the pit really exploding during “Recovering the
Opposable Thumb” a little more than halfway through their performance. Once the
crowd was good and sweaty, the band closed out with “Are You There Margaret? Its
Me, God.” Most of the crowd dissipated immediately after their set, since Anthology
allows reentry; which I thought was pretty awesome, we don’t get a lot of that at
venues up here. My friends and I grabbed a few more drinks and headed up to the
front for Bad Religion.
Being a pit girl, I find it hard to stay on the rail during a show. However, for
the first time in my whole show-attending, punk rock loving life, I stayed on the rail.
The lights went dark about 20 minutes after The Lawrence Arms, and everyone
naturally packed together. One by one, the members of Bad Religion graced the
stage, the crowd erupting more and more as they came out and grabbed their gear.
The lights powered on all at once, and Bad Religion burst into “Them and Us,”
immediately followed by “End of History” and “Fuck You.” The band bantered back
and forth for about one minute, and then continued on to their 27 song set list with
“Stranger Than Fiction, The Dichotomy, Recipe For Hate” and “Chaos From Within.”
“Los Angeles is Burning” started a long, fun run of powerhouse anthems
including “Suffer, No Control, Skyscraper, 21st Century Digital Boy, New Dark Ages”
and more. At this point most of us had lost our voices, as the band thanked us for a
great welcome back to Rochester. It’s been 30 years! Sweaty yet on point, the band
closed their set out with “Sorrow,” but left the crowd wanting more.
“BAD RELIGION! BAD RELIGION! BAD RELIGON!” was chanted over and over
again, by every soul packed into Anthology for about 2 minutes. Bright white
spotlights blinded the crowd for roughly 20 seconds, followed by an explosion of
sound from guitarist Brian Baker in the form of “”Infected.” As the pit kicked toward
the front with crowd surfers coming from every angle, we sang our hearts out in
unity. Front man Greg Graffin thanked the crowd yet again before playing one last song, “American Jesus.” The crowd went wild once again, but quickly cleared out as
the band left the stage. Jay Bentley came right back out and shook everyone’s hand
in the front row. I happened to be speaking to a super rad chick about Mable
Syndrome and was lucky enough to talk with him for a few minutes. For sure a night
and moment I will never forget!
After chatting with Jay for a few, my friends and I decided to head out for a
few drinks. It was a beautiful summer night, so we walked the streets of Rochester
with some friends we made at Camp Anarchy back in June. We made our way to a
spot called Filger’s for one more drink (and some tacos) and ran into guitar player
Mike Dimkich. He seemed genuinely thankful for the sold out show and warm
welcome back to Rochester. I briefly talked with him, but wanted to let him relax for
the night. We headed upstairs to play some pool before saying goodbye on our way
Bad Religion never disappoints, however for myself, this was a surreal
experience. It was a combination of things that made it so perfect. The venue was
intimate, the crowd was fantastic, their set list was unbelievable, the Lawrence Arms
were great, and most of all my company was great. I love getting to hit up shows
with my best friends, and also friends I’ve made through the punk community. This
show was the perfect reminder of why I love punk rock and why Bad Religion will
always be one of my all time favorites. If you haven’t checked them out, get to it!
They’ll be touring Latin America this coming fall.