Bad Religion @ NYC 10/26/2010

October 26, 2010

Celebrating their thirtieth anniversary, Bad Religion scheduled three nights in New York City (with support from The Aggrolites and Off With Their Heads) to tackle material across their entire discography. On the second night, the California punk legends focused on songs released in the 1990s, digging into Against the Grain, Generator, Recipe for Hate, Stranger Than Fiction, The Gray Race, and No Substance. Things began with the 1996 title track, “The Gray Race”, and continued on with two more album leadoffs, “Hear It” (No Substance) and “Modern Man” (Against the Grain). The band tore through a handful of other classics before stopping to acknowledge their recent release of The Dissent of Man and subsequently performing that album’s “The Resist Stance”.

Bad Religion

Bad Religion

It was the band’s older material, though, that drew the biggest response from the motley crowd. Mohawks and mothers, fratboys and fathers — generations of fans sang along to cuts like “Anesthesia”, their only commonality a love for the most prolific punk band in existence. Discontent with resting solely on their past efforts, though, Bad Religion tossed in new songs like “Avalon”, proving that frontman Greg Gaffin is still a potent lyricist. The brand new “Wrong Way Kids”, sewn in between two 1992 cuts, sounded right at home with speedy riffs and unrelenting drums. The slower “Infected” seemed to conclude Bad Religion’s set, but “American Jesus” kicked off the encore as the spacious Irving Plaza floor opened into a gigantic circle of dancing and running. It almost wouldn’t be a Bad Religion show without “Fuck Armageddon…This is Hell”, so the quintet launched in the 1982 track, drawing the biggest applause of the night. “Sorrow” closed out the evening, capping off a fantastic twenty-five song set.

The Gray Race
Hear It
Modern Man
Stranger Than Fiction
Recipe For Hate
Flat Earth Society
The Resist Stance
Man With A Mission
Struck a Nerve
A Walk
Sowing The Seeds Of Utopia
Turn On The Light
Come Join Us
No Direction
What It Is
Atomic Garden
Wrong Way Kids
American Jesus
Fuck Armageddon…This is Hell

It’s obvious that few bands last even one decade, and even fewer acts continue through thirty years. What’s most surprising, and important, about Bad Religion, however, is their consistency. On average, the band has released a full-length effort every two years, each album potent and relevant. Fans argue fiercely over which album is the band’s best work, citing widespread influence and lyrical prowess as supporting facts for their particular favorite; perhaps those arguments are the most telling examples of Bad Religion’s long-lasting excellence.