FZW, Dortmund, Germany
29th July 2013
Bad Religion “True North Tour” - Support: The Ghost Rockets
More than 30 years of Punk Rock - BAD RELIGION are one of the most influential bands in this genre. With their current album ‘True North’, which was released in early 2013, BAD RELIGION have shown once again that they still do for what they are known. Mostly short, melodic and pithy songs which are more than a simple "Punk Rock Song". Time, then, to come over to Europe again to play some new songs besides classics that have certainly influenced many bands.
Additional concerts - usually they take place the following day. Not in this case. The first show at the FZW has already taken place in the first days of June. Me as a BAD RELIGION fan, has been very surprised that this first show already has been announced as sold out earlier this year. The organizers were probably surprised by that run for tickets as well. And that is how it came that an extra concert was scheduled as the band once again visited Germany for some further gigs and a festival.
The Ghost Rockets
As already done in June, CANDYCUNT should support this evening. A very pleasant young Berlin-based band that clearly had fun in June, but also seemed a bit nervous to be on stage for supporting the “legends of punk rock”. Unfortunately, the re-appearance of CANDYCUNT had to be canceled. I myself have read it a few hours before the trip to Dortmund and so certainly some others were surprised as well. As the band announced on Facebook on Saturday, the shows had to be canceled due to an injury of the drummer Toby. So there was no “riot girl punk with a boy from Berlin” (as the band describes its music), but THE GHOST ROCKETS from Schweinfurt, Bavaria. Alternative/ Rock, which also fans of the FOO FIGHTERS or QUEENS OF THE STONEAGE might like. An energetic band with a powerful presence. A solid show in any case.
Just in time at 21:00 ‘Past Is Dead’ sounded. The 2nd song off the current album is the opening song at this year's tour. It was still rather odd calm on the right-hand side of the stage. Guitarist Greg Hetson is still missing. That is striking of course as in terms of moving on stage he was the most active band member. Mike Dimkich of THE CULT was therefore found as a replacement and still plays shows with BAD RELIGION. The reasons for Greg Hetson being absent are still not known exactly. Bass player Jay Bentley expressed this in the forum of “The BAD RELIGION Page”, the most extensive fan page: “this is the greatest fan page a band could ever ask for, but it's important to not read into things, or turn speculation into fact. Greg Hetson is dealing with some personal issues, if he wishes to make a statement we will support that, if he chooses not to we will support that. Mike Dimkich is indeed helping us out right now, and we are genuinely appreciative. right now we are just looking forward and getting ready to play our shows.”
Well, a suitable musical replacement was found. However, Mike Dimkich plays a rather passive role. He is very focused and sometimes effaces himself. I do not consider that as too bad. Concerning the stage performance BAD RELIGION are not well-known for outstanding extroverted shows. Their fans do not need that. This band is authentic. They make great music and turn in honest shows. And nothing else matters. But do not get me wrong and do not think I am talking about a band that does not interact with the audience. Of course they do and so they did that night. Singer Greg Graffin referred to past, but also suggested, considering that there have been two shows in two months in Dortmund to play in this city every month from now on. Applause! That met with approval. Furthermore it would mean to come over during the “Spargel Season” [sic] (asparagus season).
Greg Graffin wanted the people who already have been at this venue in June to just pretend everything was new this evening. And first it really looked as if there would be no changes in the setlist. This assumption, however, was refuted during the evening. Striking again but not surprising, no song off the album ‘No Substance’ and the follow-up ‘The New America’ was played. Both albums do not rank among the fans' favourites. Nevertheless, supporting DIE TOTEN HOSEN this year they played at least ‘Raise Your Voice’ (off ‘No Substance’). It made sense as this is the song that was recorded with DIE TOTEN HOSEN singer Campino. Classics such as ‘Generator’, ‘21st Century (Digital Boy)’ and ‘Suffer’ were not missing that night, and - of course - they played their famous ‘Punk Rock Song’. One of those songs which still thrill the people most. I, however, do not count this song among my favourite songs and would rather want to hear a rarely played song like ‘God Song’ or ‘Pity The Dead’ instead. But as it is. There are songs that are seeded in the setlist.
All in all everything was fine again. Very entertaining 90 minutes that ended as they started - with a new song. After ‘Infected’, which rocks the audience every time as it really is a mighty tune, the band finished with ‘Dept. of False Hope’. As always it was a great live experience. And I hope that I will see this band often in future (hopefully with Greg Hetson back). After all, they are already more than 30 years in business. And they will not get younger, what Greg Graffin mentioned during a little break. This music is timeless. And as I might speak out for many fans: You will never get tired of visiting BAD RELIGION concerts.
Total: 8 / 10
Pictures by Bastian Trojahn