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Rise Against, Thursday & Poison The Well - Cardiff University - 22/11/09

The last stop of Rise Against's European tour with post-hardcore kings Poison The Well and Thursday was at Cardiff University last Sunday, in the sold-out Great Hall.

Poison The Well launch the show with their brutal blend of metal and hardcore in front of an absolutely indifferent and very young crowd. The set list is a fair mix of their discography, including old fan favourites 'Nerdy' and 'Slice Paper Wrists'. Despite a unfortunate lack of reaction from the crowd, the band from Miami delivers a well-executed performance, proving they haven't lost anything from their glorious early days.

Emo idols Thursday are next, opening their set with the powerful 'The Other Side of the Crash/Over and Out...'. Frontman Geoff Rickly is in a great mood and is genuinely moved to play this last show with his friends. As always, the performance is flawless as guitars are soaring and drums are banging, while the Rickly screams his lungs out. It's hard to build up a 7-song set list for a band like Thursday but the result isn't that bad, including recent 'Resuscitation Of A Dead Man' (accompanied by Tim from Rise Against) and the instrumentally impressive 'Circuits Of Fever', as well as the inevitable 'Understanding In a Car Crash' and the violent closer 'Jet Black New Year'. A perfect set, despite a non-reacting crowd.

Rise Against open up with 'Collapse (Post-Amerika)' with much enthusiasm, which continues throughout the next hour and a half. A 20+ set sees the band covering everything from heavy older classics off 'Siren Song Of The Counter Culture' (and even 'Blood Red, White and Blue' from 'Revolutions Per Minute'), to softer new songs. It's without a doubt the tracks from their latest album 'Appeal To Reason' that makes everyone sing-a-long; as a big part of the audience seems not to know the other songs. The encore sees frontman Tim McIlrath alone on stage to play the sweet acoustic 'Swing Life Away'. Guitarist Zach Blair comes back on stage, for the political 'Hero Of War', sung in unison by the whole room. As an end of the tour surprise, Poison The Well and Thursday members appear on stage slow dancing and waltzing on the piano notes from 'Dancing for Rain'. Punk rock hits 'Give It All' and 'Ready To Fall' close the show on a great note, with a beautiful and long solo before getting in the latter song's last rocking chorus.

Three great bands were on stage tonight, showing off their talent and experience. A strong friendship seems to exist between them and even if Ruse Against's disparate audience weren't really open to the other acts' music, it looked like the tour ended on a glorious note for everyone.

Romain Jeanticou

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