With Aggrolites and Off With Their Heads
"Like a rock / like a planet / Like a fucking atom bomb / I'll remain unperturbed by the joy and the madness that I encounter everywhere I turn." Only one band could make a singalong out of a mouthful of lyrics like that. So, happy 30th birthday Bad Religion. Your thoughtful, humanist take on punk rock is an inspiration to us all, and well worth a three-show retrospective at Irving Plaza.
Night one (last week) saw the SoCal band mining its early '80s back catalog. Last night, the band hammered through its 1988-1997 period, which saw a number of highs ("Generator", "Recipe for Hate"), a major label hit ("Stranger Than Fiction") and a couple of uneven albums lacking co-founder/songwriter Brett Gurewitz. Still, it was the band's commercial peak, and the slew of high-minded yet perturbed anthems from that era ("American Jesus," "Infected," "Generator") riled up the crowd. Although not too much—can we just say Bad Religion fans are quite a polite bunch? Bravo, gents. With Aggrolites and Off With Their Heads. —Kirk Miller