Why on earth am I thinking ‘bout that guy from Violet Stigmata right now? Maybe because he’s got ab-so-lu-tely nothing to do with the following review. Aaaah, Bad Religion… Takes one back, doesn’t it? I mean, these guys were doing the punk thing when I was in kindergarten, and I’m 27. Don’t know if you read the BR (or bs, more like it) review in De Morgen, but I actually like the band I’m about to review, ain’t that something!
The Ancienne Belgique was sold out weeks before the concert, which isn’t half bad for a bunch of old-timers like Bad Religion. Like singer Greg Graffin said during the show: Bad Religion would have no claim to a place on that stage at this point of their career, if it wasn’t for the fans, who’ve been supporting them for an astoundingly long time.
Did they soundcheck during the afternoon? Possibly, since they started off the second they got on stage, and didn’t stop until the fourth song or so. Sound at the beginning wasn’t that great, that is to say, Greg’s voice was drowning somewhat in the instrumental violence. But power is part of the punk tradition, right? The audience sure didn’t seem to mind: the second the drums kicked in, it was good old Oi!-pit time in front of the stage. Having suspected this somewhat, I had decided to drag my old bones up to the first floor. What? If I died out there, who would’ve written the review, ey? The thing about Bad Religion is that you kinda feel sorry that they’re an American band. I mean, come on guys, don’t confirm all the clichés we have about stupid Americans by saying we speak Belgian here, p-llllease... As they have always done, there was some kicking the shin of the authorities to go through as well, but when that was out of the way, I really enjoyed myself. I even had a couple of goose bump moments (they’re telling, I tell you!) during some of the songs. The audience seemed to agree, as they did their very best to get onto the stage and join in the fun. The security guys kept getting in their way, even when they came from above, surfin’ over the crowd. Then two guys from up on the balconies got the idea to slide down the posts right onto the stage, where they started doing the cancan with Greg, who didn’t seem to mind a few extra souls on stage and just kept singing one song after the next. Among my high points of the evening were Do what you want, Atomic Garden, 21st Century Digital Boy, Fuck Armageddon & Punk Rock song.
The great thing about Bad Religion is that their songs actually have something to say, and sometimes include words of –get this- more than two syllables!!!! No, seriously, I’m not kidding, it’s a nice change to see a word like ‘incongruous’ appear in a bloody punk song.
Bad Religion smelling like a bodybag? No sirree! They haven’t lost a bit of punch over the years. Check the number of shows they’re doing these days and say: “respect!” If anything, they are alive ‘n kickin’. Or were those some other guys?