The 4th Annual Ugly Sweater Holiday Party

December 11, 2017
4:30 pm
Mesa, AZ
Rise Against at Mesa Amphitheatre
The 4th Annual Ugly Sweater Holiday Party

Chicago’s Rise Against began in 1999 when ex-88 Fingers Louie bassist Joe Principe tapped area vocalist Tim McIlrathfor a new project rooted in the sound and social vision of traditional hardcore. Joined by fellow 88 Fingers vet Dan Precision on guitar and, eventually, drummer Brandon BarnesRise Against signed to Fat Wreck and issued The Unraveling in 2001. Precision left the band that same year to be replaced by Todd Mohney. Extensive touring followed, leading to their sophomore outing, 2002’s Revolutions Per Minute. After a solid response from fans and critics alike, as well as a stint on the Warped Tour, Rise Against left the Fat Wreck fold for DreamWorks/Geffen. By this point, guitar duties were being handled by Chris Chasse(Reach the Sky). Rise Against made their major-label debut in August 2004 with Siren Song of the Counter Culture. They toured steadily after the album’s release, received plenty of solid press, and even saw Counter Culture crack the Billboard Top 200. In 2005, Rise Against appeared in the skateboarding film Lords of Dogtown, playing an old-school Cali punk band. (They performed a rousing version of Black Flag‘s “Nervous Breakdown” for the film’s soundtrack.) Rise Against continued to tour throughout that summer, including a spot at the U.K.’s Reading and Leeds festivals in August. Their fourth album, The Sufferer & the Witness, appeared in July 2006 and its debut at number ten on the Billboard Top 200 was their highest yet. The band spent the summer tearing up Warped’s main stage before hooking up with Thursday and Billy Talent that fall. Rise Against continued playing shows into 2007, but their extensive tour schedule eventually proved to be too much for Chasse, who bowed out that February. The band soldiered on, enlisting Only Crime‘s Zach Blair to temporarily take his place. In 2008, Rise Against released Appeal to Reason, which marked a more melodic shift for the band and was their most successful album to date, reaching number three on the Billboard chart. For their next album, the band hit the studio with punk mainstay Bill Stevenson, who’s played with Black FlagDescendents, and All. Their sixth album, Endgame, was released early in 2011. In 2013, the band delivered Long Forgotten Songs, a collection of B-sides and covers that helped whet fans’ appetites for their blockbuster seventh studio album, The Black Market, which followed in 2014 and debuted at number three on the Billboard Top 200. In April 2017, the band dropped “The Violence,” the first single from their hotly anticipated eighth studio long-player, Wolves, which arrived later that May.

Akin to the Darkness in their unabashedly over the top, retro-fetishist, classic rock style, English rockers the Struts burst onto an unsuspecting public with big dreams and loud mouths to match. The band was the brainchild of singer Luke Spiller, the child of strict Christian parents, who had dreamed of being a showman ever since becoming obsessed with Michael Jackson at the age of seven. With his sexualized swagger, powerful voice, and outrageous pronouncements like “I was born to do this, and I’ll die doing it,” Spiller came off like a cross between Freddie MercuryDavid BowieMick Jagger, and Robert Plant. The band’s music was a similar blend of ’60s and ’70s tropes, with big, singalong choruses that earned their videos hundreds of thousands of YouTube hits and won them a deal with Mercury Records.

Born and raised in Bristol before moving with his parents to Devon, Spiller practiced his moves for years in his bedroom before deciding the time was right to form a band. He recruited guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott, and drummer Gethin Davies, and they all lived and rehearsed together in Derby for two years, steadily building a reputation through solid gigging. Eventually, the band got the attention of Mercury, who signed them. Their career was boosted when Spiller was recruited by Mike Oldfield to do all the vocals for his 2014 album Man on the Rocks; they were then invited to support Black Sabbath at their massive Hyde Park gig, winning over a hostile crowd. Their debut album, Everybody Wants, was released in July 2014, peaking at number 52 on the U.K. albums chart. The following year saw the release of the EP Have You Heard. It also saw the group relocating to Los Angeles, where they made appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Late Night with Seth Meyers. A 2016 U.S./Canada reissue of Everybody Wants included five songs that didn’t appear on the U.K. version, and in 2017 they released their first live outing, the all acoustic Live & Unplugged EP.

Falling on the more melodic side of the post-hardcore world, Florida’s Sleeping with Sirens create a whirlwind of emotion with their yearning and aggressive blend of metal and emo influences. Formed in 2009, Sleeping with Sirens — featuring vocalist Kellin Quinn, guitarists Jack Fowler and Jesse Lawson, bassist Justin Hills, and drummer Gabe Barham — quickly caught the attention of metalcore label Rise Records, which signed them and released their debut record, With Ears to See, And Eyes to Hear, in 2010. The album launched the band onto the Billboard Heatseekers chart, debuting at number seven and selling over 25,000 copies. Their sophomore effort, Let’s Cheers to This, arrived in May of the following year. At the beginning of 2013, the bandmembers announced they had entered the studio to record their third album, and Feel was released just six months later. The album debuted at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. Madness, the band’s fourth studio long-player and first outing for Epitaph Records, arrived in early 2015. Live and Unplugged followed the next year, an acoustic set that also included covers of Sublime‘s “Santeria” and Goo Goo Dolls‘ “Iris.” The band’s fifth set, Gossip, arrived in 2017 on Warner Bros. Produced by David Bendeth, the album featured the lead single “Legends.”

 

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© Soundwave Brigade 2017