The following review will be short and sweet. I will rate my overall experience on a 1-10 scale based on three categories. I realize this isn’t a perfect system, but I think it’ll get my point across clearly. Here are the three categories my review will be based on (in this specific order):

Overall Entertainment Experience – Did I enjoy the set? Was this a good concert experience?

Performance – Are they good live? Does it sound good?

Energy – Stage presence, overall energy, crowd reaction.

10 = Mind blowing experience. 1 = I’d like to leave now.

Now that we’ve settled that, time for the reviews.

First off, the venue.

The Armory.

Dude. This place is fucking sweet. Very clean. Very modern. Very spacious. The staff is friendly and helpful. This was my first time here, and it lived up to the hype. This venue is enormous. There is plenty of room for mosh pits, circle pits, and for people to stand and enjoy the show, but it’s not so big you can’t see the show. Quality overall experience. Way better than some of the other venues around town. 10/10. Will come back.

AntiFlag – 8 8 9

I first heard of AntiFlag sometime in my early high school years. I never got into this band, so I didn’t know what to expect. The stage went dark. A bunch of guys that are nearly my dad’s age with mohawks and bleached hair walked out. The band started playing and captivated the crowd immediately with their punk sound and their on-stage energy. They were jumping from here to there, running from one end of the stage to the other nonstop. It was fun to watch. There were circle pits and mosh pits forming throughout the venue. It brought me back to my younger years. I had a good time. I almost joined the pit and got in on the group yells. 8/10 would see again.

AFI – 2 5 5

Every review can’t be good. This is one of those reviews. I was not a fan. Again, I first heard of this band in high school and had zero interest. I can confirm that’s still the case. I’m sure they’re all great musicians, but this band isn’t for me. Unless you’re in the angsty teenage phase of life, it likely isn’t for you either. The guitarist’s favorite move was a ballerina spin. Literally a ballerina spin. I’ve seen cool spins at shows before. This was not one of them. The lead singer pranced around stage like Kevin Bacon in Foot Loose. He looks like Petyr Baelish from Game of Thrones. That has nothing to do with the performance, just an observation. The bassist was cool. The drums sounded good. Overall the vibe was whiny and over-dramatic – like an emo teenager with too many problems. I’m probably not their target audience, and that’s ok. Gave them a shot, wasn’t impressed. 2/10.

Rise Against – 7 8 7

The headliner. The band I came to see. I listened to these guys back in high school. Not my favorite band in the world, but they’ve got some good tracks. You could see the pure joy and excitement from the fans in the front row when they walked out on stage. My first impression: they were good? They definitely weren’t bad, but I guess I was expecting something more. Anti flag set the bar for energy and none of the bands surpassed them. Rise Against played their most popular songs and the crowd was feeling it, but there wasn’t the same electricity in the room as there was before.  Maybe my expectations were too high, but I did feel a little let down. I can’t put my finger on it, but I can put a number on it. 7/10. I’ve seen them once. I’m good.

Review and photos by John Pesavent