Rise Against w/ Killswitch Engage and letlive
Showbox SoDo, Seattle, WA

Loud and unforgiving, the heart-pumping, fist-pounding trio of Rise Against, Killswitch Engage, and letlive made a stop at the Showbox SoDo on Friday night, donning a friendly smirk and a take-no-prisoners attitude. Who’s been waiting how long to see this show? A ton of folks. This show sold out in a hot minute – Seattle starved for the long-lost riffs and inescapable beats of Rise Against, tandem in an unbeatable pairing with musical slaughterhouse Killswitch Engage. Letlive was just the initial icing on this towering, kickass cake of punk-laden, metal mayhem…

Killswitch Engage, a metalcore band from Westfield, Ma, is nipping at the heels of two decades full of hardcore, and the pioneering thereof. With six albums under their belt, they’ve surpassed goals that most in their genre only dream of: a solid handshake with the Billboard 200 at #21, not sneezing of course on their Grammy nomination. They’ve played every major festival, watching the globe spin as they toured every corner and filled every willing ear. Killswitch Engage came ready to do it again.

With “Turn Down for What” humorously jamming the house speakers, Killswitch Engage took the stage at 9:19. Lead man Jesse Leach, in his scariest monster voice, bellowed “What’s up, Seattle?!” as they opened their set with “My Curse.” Dedicated red spotlights shown down on blue and white strobes, highlighting Leach’s endless energy as he swapped platforms with guitarists and declared to the anxious crowd, “Seattle! It’s time to open the fucking mosh pit!” Finishing “Beyond the Flames,” in a left-field jab, Leach opened the floor with this crowd pleaser: “How you guys doing? It was a beautiful sunny day! It’s good to be here in Seattle! We are from Massachusetts, which would be the lovely New England Patriots [Boo’s from the crowd ensue]… Sports Rage! Thank you guys for the Super Bowl. You guys have given us a wonderful gift and we’ll never forget it.” Way to go, Leach – you just dedicated the rest of your set to intermittent Seahawks chanting. That’s ok, though, he put a Band-Aid on that with some inspirational words to close it out.

With a few words still remaining in the crowd-chanting vocabulary, the lights went down at 10:40 to frantic cheers of “Rise Against!” As red and white spotlights grew reasonably dim, Rise Against burned right into their set with “The Great Die-Off.” Drummer Brandon Barnes sat upon his throne, centered to the back on a raised platform, which was a great jumping-off point for all band members. The sweat dripped. The energy buzzed. The floor shook. Singer Tim McIlrath sounded as golden in my ears as my teenage years of yore, some fifteen years to burnish and finesse a trademark voice that makes your mother want to punch walls. They played nothing of their 2001 break-out album, The Unraveling, which was a bit disappointing; but, their graceful, synchronous stage presence made the night in spades. Amid a backdrop of huge, color-changing letters spelling out R-I-S-E, McIlrath properly addressed the audience before “Satellite” with, “Seattle, Washington! Holy shit, it’s been way too long! Thank you for being patient, my friends. This song is about the miles we traveled to do the things we love to do. If you haven’t yet, one day you will.” The clapping, fist-pumping, crowd-surfing vibrations moved from one body to the next, summed up beautifully by McIlrath himself: “Seattle! There’s something in the air – in this building – something that you can’t touch or feel!” That’s probably for the best, considering that their last trip to SoDo made pieces of the ceiling fall down. They are never one for the ‘norm.

However, they are, in summation, great. And they’re getting better with age.   

Killswitch Engage Set List:
My Curse
Rose of Sharyn
Beyond the Flames
Strength of the Mind
A Bid Farewell
This Is Absolution
Fixation on the Darkness
You Don’t Bleed for Me
My Last Serenade
In Due Time
The End of Heartache

Rise Against Set List:
The Great Die-Off
Good Left Undone
The Dirt Whispered
Give It All
Re-Education (Through Labor)
I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore
Make It Stop
Prayer of the Refugee
Help Is on the Way
Black Masks and Gasoline
Ready to Fall
Hero of War (acoustic)
Swing Life Away (acoustic)
Dancing for Rain

Review by T. Monte
Photos by Christine Mitchell

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