The Menzingers, Descendents, and Rise Against: Some Surprises, Great Music, and an Awkward Moment

by Jesse Hudgins

The last few weeks have been all about concerts for me. After attending the Hella Mega Tour on August 15th, I had the privilege of seeing The Menzingers, Descendents, and Rise Against at Huntington Bank Pavilion in Chicago. It was my first time ever seeing a show there, and the setup of the venue was different to me, as there was a normal pit area, an area behind where it was basically general admission, and then two sets of seat stands on the sides with nothing in the middle but the sound booth. It makes sense, but I just haven’t seen anything like it.

When it comes to the show itself, I wasn’t too into the Menzingers before the show. After watching them, though, I want to see them again at a smaller club. I think they were a solid opener for this show. They brought a lot of energy with their sound and pretty much played each song back-to-back to back, which I appreciate. There was an awkward moment later in the night, though, when during Rise Against’s set, Tim McIlrath said that he thought The Menzingers were the future of punk. They’ve been around for 14 years, though, so…oops.

The the highlight band of my night, the godfathers of pop-punk, Descendents, took the stage second. They didn’t mess around when it came to their set, playing 30 songs in about an hour. If you’re an avid listener of Descendents, you can understand how they accomplished this, since most of their songs average about 2 minutes. This was my favorite part of the show; my dad and I were jamming out, having fun, and singing every lyric to every song. It was a great time, and I highly recommend seeing Descendents perform live.

Rise Against was the closer of the show, and it was obvious Tim had some vocal fatigue. They were still solid musically, playing mostly hits, two newer singles, and a few deep cuts. My one gripe was that Tim talked about how he missed the fans and how we all struggled after almost every song. I get that it was nice to be back and it was emotional, but it got really annoying to hear it after every song. They did have a really classy moment, though, shouting out Descendents, saying that without them, there would be no Rise Against. It’s something you don’t often see when an older band opens for a younger band.

Rise Against did bring a lot of energy to their hometown, getting the crowd involved and excited with a great performance that, in the end, left me happy. Nothing will beat a moment like hearing “Swing Life Away” and looking out to see the city and Lake Michigan in the background.

Overall, the show was great, and I was lucky enough to get the chance to jump into the mosh pit for a bit at the end of the night. It’s definitely a concert I’ll remember forever, and going with my dad made it even better. I also highly recommend checking out the venue, as well as all three bands. You won’t be disappointed!