BY TIM HINELY
So Bad Religion came back to town and this time played the smaller venue the Ogden (as opposed to the Fillmore) but played it for two nights. They broke each night up into older stuff (pre-2000) and newer stuff (post-2000) or as it said, songs from the 20th century and songs from the 21st century. Hey, not a bad way to go about it as they’ve been around for so long and have such a huge catalog it makes sense. I opted to go for the first night of old stuff (though I really did want to hear newer stuff like from 2004’s The Empire Strikes First and 2008’s New Maps of Hell).
Missed local openers King Rat but heard they weren’t so hot but it was good to see Off! in this larger venue. Caught them here last year at the Marquis but the place was way too packed and it was a total steam bath. They played a generous selection from all three of their records including a new one that just came out. (I also saw a new, rare 12” that had a drawing of Loni Anderson on it…yeah!). Newer ones like “Over Our Heads” mixed in fine with older cuts like “Poison City,” “Time’s Not On Your Side,” “Panic Attack” and “Bad Thoughts.” Vocalist Keith Morris (Black Flag/Circle Jerks) is still a total howler (where does he get his energy from?) while the rest of the band, Mario, Steven and Dimitri grinded it out in supreme fashion.
Bad Religion hit the stage at 10 PM on the dot and gone is long-time guitarist Greg Hetson replaced by another guitarist (who looked a bit like Mr. Brett) while Brian Baker is still on other guitar, bassist Jay Bentley and drummer Brooks Wackerman and upfront Mr. PhD himself, Greg Graffin. They opened with “Spirit Shine’ and ripped right into “21st Century Digital Boy” then right into ‘Stranger Than Fiction” then “Along the Way” and “Sowing the Seeds of Utopia” before even taking a breath. Graffin then announced they’ll be doing a string of songs from their ’88 classic, Suffer (which brought some serious approval from the crowd) including “(You are) the Government,” “1000 More Fools” and “Delirium of Disorder” (among others).
Later on we also heard “The Gray Race,” “Change of Ideas,” “Sanity” and too many others (30 songs in all). Ending the set with the trifecta of “Infected,” “Generator” and American Jesus.” They came out for two encores including “Fuck Armageddon this is Hell” and “New America.”
The band’s age is showing, if just a bit. A tad slower, not as energetic (‘cept for Jay Bentley who still bounces around on stage like’s he’s in is 20s) and the guitars don’t quite roar as they did in the past but that’s ok. After 35 plus years I’d say they’ve earned their keep.