Gig Review : Ignite (12/07/09)

There’s a first time for everything. Today I introduce the first gig review on this blog. I have writtin dozens in the past for other websites & forums but I figured I might as well start here. This is the first of what I hope to be a monthly tradition.

Past Sunday, Ignite came to town. Now this is a band I have seen at least 5 times already. So I suppose I know what I’m talking about when it comes to these guys and live performances.  Today’s show was an indoor show, the way I prefer it.  There were 3 support bands, unfortunately I only saw one.

Reno Divorce (from Denver, Colorado) opened for Ignite. Perhaps a weird combination, but it worked quite well for me as I was in a relaxed mood before the headliner (didn’t feel like doing crazy things like stage diving etc.) . Reno Divorce play a blend of punk & rock heavily inspired by Social Distortion, Bad Religion and perhaps a little Misfits as well. The earlier stuff is sometimes a little rougher around the edges than SD, but the vocals are very much alike. The newer stuff is even more melodic (hence why I listed Bad Religion as influence). The newer tracks deffonetly sounded better to these ears but I was quite impressed with the band in general. They played a single from the new album called “How Long’s it Been?” which was the highlight of the set for me. Two big hits from the previous album also passed the review (“Say It” & “Firecracker”) . “The Ace of Spades” cover I could have lived without, but it was a good attempt for sure.
Quite a relaxed and enjoyable performance with a little bit of humor from the lead singer/guitarist. The performance did seem a bit short… (we did walk in when they were already playing so we might have missed some songs..).

Ignite were up next. And the the Trix Zaal at the Trix Music Center was heavily packed for a Sunday performance. A lot of younger listeners came out to see Ignite, which isn’t a surprise given the wide range of audience their last album “Our Darkest Days” appealed to. The first half of the set was colored by tracks from this album.  Just like the last 3 times  I saw them they opened with “Bleeding” , which is also the opening track for the aforementioned album. It certainly got the crowd going. More tracks from that album followed (“Fear is our Tradition“, “My Judgement Day“, “Poverty for All“…).  In between, ” A Place Called Home” got the crowd singing along.  Traditionally one of the best accepted tracks in their repertoire is their U2 cover of “Bloody Sunday” and today was no exception.
Acoustic versions of “Slow down” and of course “Live for Better Days” were nice to hear, but slowed things down a little too much I suppose because the crowd response was less enthusiastic after this intermezzo.
Perhaps the choice of tunes also had something to do with this.
In the second half of the performance only older songs were played. “Who Sold Out now” still got a circle pit going. One of my favorite tracks “Hands on Stance” seemed to get little appreciation by the crowd. “Ash Return” , also still a regular addition to their set,  unfortunately got the same treatment. The crowd lifted their spirits one more time for “Veteran” which was a highlight late in the set. The encore consisted of “By my Side” , which unfortunately isn’t my favorite song.
They also did a cover of  The Misfits (“20 eyes“?) but that song did nothing for me.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with the performance (though I have seen them better in Holland, or at Groezrock fest). The crowd response in the first half of the gig was better than expected. “Hands on Stance” in the set and some of the big hits from the latets album made for a sufficient performance as far as I’m concerned.
A few remarks : Leave out the cover. “Ash Return” is a great song, but largely unknown by the younger audience so it seems. Perhaps “Embrace” would have been a better choice. Also, “Call on my Brothers” should be played at any Ignite gig!
The acoustic intermezzo was interesting and sounded pretty good. Apparently they are recording an acoustic album with Walls of Jericho later this year.
The older I get, the more the comments and speeches Zoli Teglas delivers between songs appeal to me. I used to think “cut the crap and play more songs”, but now that I’m older myself, I see that a band is in a very privileged position to get important messages out to a thinking audience. In the end :  If  our generation doesn’t act, who will? Therefore I applaud bands like Ignite who are still doing this. And it’s a necessity as fewer young people seem to be interested in these things.

In the end I went home quite happy. Perhaps the only real downside to this gig was the price. 5 years ago Ignite played around here nearly for free. Now a ticket was 18€ at the door. Wether this is due to their popularity now or a consequence of the global economic recession I don’t know. Everyone has to make a living and if it is a socially/politically aware band who try and do some good and deliver a good live performance while at it, I still gladly pay that money : “Nothing’s for free, Pay may ticket at the door“.

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