Bad Religion, Alkaline Trio & War on Women 11.19.21

Fillmore Auditorium
Denver, CO

Words by Martin Smith (Whiskey & Wax Trax)
Photos by Melissa Evans (Medoesphotos)

Friday night at the Fillmore in Denver was a sampling of many different punk styles. Bad Religion brought their more polished intellectual punk rock that they have been performing for the last 40 years. Alkaline Trio brought that anthem punk rock sound they perfected over the last 25 years. And War on Women, a female led hardcore band, brought one of best hardcore sets I have ever seen. All together they made for an amazing night of moshing-crowd-surfing punk rock.

Bad Religion is nerdy punk rock in the best way imaginable singing about politics, religion, science and society in brainy ways. Frontman, Greg Graffin, is a gifted songwriter but is also an evolutionary biologist, college professor, and author. Their set was filled with some of their more well known hits over the years like “We’re Only Gonna Die” and “21st Century Digital Boy." There were some crowd surfers but for the most part the crowd just wanted to move to the beat, not really not moshing, just kind of dancing. As the show neared the end the band delighted with amazing renditions of “There Will be Sorrow” and “American Jesus.”

Alkaline Trio had legions of fans at this show who knew every word and chanted along with every song. Their arena punk rock style lent itself to a lot more crowd surfing. The surfer in the banana costume was a particular hit with the crowd. The last half of the set is when things really picked up with a circle pit erupting in the middle of the crowd and die-hard fans with fists in the air singing so loud they drowned out the sound from the stage. Even though they didn’t headline the show the audience demanded an encore, but they ended up leaving the audience wanting more.

War on Women opened the night, but by many accounts they absolutely stole the show. Their hardcore feminist punk rock had the place going crazy right from the get go. They by far had the biggest and most energetic pit of the night. Frontwoman Shawna Potter even had to pause a few times to make sure everybody in the pit was okay. She sang with such energy, power, and emotion as she thrashed her green, blue, pink and black hair around. They sang protest songs about politics and the state of society, and the many issues women are battling. Shawna was visibly pissed about the Rittenhouse verdict as she explained to the crowd that everyone should have the right to protest without fear of being murdered. War on Women may have been one of the best parts of the night. They absolutely killed it as the opening act and set the stage for a great night of punk rock to come.

The Fillmore Auditorium is a gorgeous venue with large beautiful chandeliers hanging throughout and upper and lower level viewing and seating areas. It is impossible to get a sense of the size or the grandness of the venue from outside. There are multiple bars, food service, the Mammoth Lounge, and plenty of room to spread out. They even have a VIP section with more perks. The beauty of the venue made for the perfect juxtaposition for a night of punk rocking with some legends in the scene as well as a relative newcomer.

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