Monday, June 13, 2011

Rival Schools @ Chain Reaction & Bootleg Theater. 5/20 & 5/21/2011.

Re-United By Fate
I never thought I'd be writing about my experiences at a Rival Schools concert, let alone two of em'. This was not supposed to happen. The band released one awesome album, United By Fate in 2001. They started falling apart in 2002 and by the next year, Rival Schools was kaput.

I was a lowly teenager then, subsisting on a healthy diet of Slayer and Cannibal Corpse. I don't know why, but something about Rival School's "Used For Glue" video (R.I.P. MTVX) struck me. I would come back to United By Fate over and over again throughout the next few years. Songs like "Travel By Telephone," "Favorite Star," and "Undercovers On," were like my bible during this trying time in my life. It always bummed me out that I'd never get to see the band whose songs helped me deal with so much bullshit.

Flash forward to the present. I'm on youtube and come across live footage of Rival Schools from 2011. My jaw drops. The band was back from the dead! They were coming to SoCal the next week and even had A NEW ALBUM out. No way in hell I was missing these shows.

Their first show was Friday night at Chain Reaction in Anaheim. The turnout was ok. It wasn't packed but not dead/empty either. It's understandable though. Chain is an all ages venue and doesn't sell alcohol. I'm in my mid 20's (whoa, scary) and felt like the youngest dude in the crowd. I can't blame a bunch of older peeps for avoiding a drive out to Disneyland after a long day of work and not being able to get plastered. Saturday night's show at the Bootleg Theater in Echo Park was packed. Closer to the city + booze usually = larger crowds.


(This video is better quality than the one I took at Chain. My video can be see HERE)

So THE BAND. Yeah, Rival Schools back from the dead. Holy shit. I can't really describe how awesome they were. And no, this wasn't just a sick nostalgia trip either. I downloaded their newest album, Pedals, in preparation for this show and man, these new songs are amazing as well. Like candidates for favorite record of 2011 good. They opened both nights with their new single "Wring It Out" and it was on from there. Walter Schreifels' voice was as awesomely raspy as on their albums. Aside from his distinctive vocals, dude's an entertaining front man as well. He was hopping all over the stage and adding some funny banter in between songs. Their drummer Sam Siegler was pretty amazing too. He was like a hunchbacked octopus, playing on borrowed drums(from the opening band) and straight ripped that kit to shreds. The band had a few audio/technical problems during the beginning of their set at Chain, but they were pretty flawless at the Bootleg. They played with older material, adding touches of reggae and funk, to make them sound fresh and spankin' new while new songs like "Eyes Wide Open," and "Shot After Shot," show they still know how to bring the rawk.  Overall, I'd say the 2nd show was the better of the two. They had a slightly better setlist (played "Favorite Star") and just seemed to gel together more.


(Same deal as before. My video from Chain is HERE)

As stoked as I am about Rival Schools' new material, all the old songs they played from United By Fate got the best reactions. It was quite surreal during "Undercovers On" at the Bootleg. Standing close near the stage, watching this band I never thought I'd see, singing along, word for word with total strangers to a song that, from the looks on our faces had a significant meaning for all of us, it was intense. United by fate indeed. The band could have went onstage and read the phone book and I still would have bought my ticket as a thank you for those 10 years of awesomeness they provided me and my discman/iPod. Luckily, they came out and rocked our faces off.

*Note*
I made it a point not to mention the long list of bands associated with Rival Schools or Walter's mind boggling resume. Saving that for another post perhaps.

29 comments:

  1. Are the videos not working just for me?

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  2. haha that one guy looks like chevy chase

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  3. I remember Rival Schools! I had a United By Fate sticker up on my wall back at my parents' house.

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  4. I've been kind of forced to understand that I'll probably never see my favorite musicians. Your post actually gives me a little hope.

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  5. good stuff, now i have new music to get

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  6. Their music sure sounds good.

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  7. I'm going to check out the United By Fate album now :D!

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  8. Had never heard of them but they're damn good.

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  9. i only just discovered them recently

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  10. some nice live performances there

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  11. Heh heh. That guy making the face is awesome. I'd do that if I was in a band.

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  12. If breastfeeding became the new Bel Aire, I'd be blessed indeed.

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  13. SIQ POST BRO!!!

    my band Terminally Ill is from orange county, you should check them out on my blog yo

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  14. Why haven't I heard of them?! Damn!

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