Las Vegas’ premier alternative radio station X107.5 once again brought us the annual Holiday Havoc concert that has become a yearly staple in the Vegas music scene. The difference this year is that it has become a two day event in two different venues. Day one was held at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel and featured alternative rockers RISE AGAINST along with a powerful undercard consisting of PORTUGAL THE MAN, ROYAL BLOOD, NEW POLITICS and MONDO COZMO.
There is no doubt that RISE AGAINST was the big draw on this night as evidenced by much of the late arriving crowd who may not have been aware of the early start time to the show. For those late arrivals, they missed a couple of real show stealers in NEW POLITICS and ROYAL BLOOD.
NEW POLITICS is a Danish band out of Copenhagen that I would best describe as a good blend of Punk, Pop and Dance music. This Danish trio was highly entertaining and included some of the most talked about moments of the night including a break dance routing performed by the lead singer and his new form of crowd surfing where he walks out into the crowd, stepping only on their raised hands for support. The younger audience seemed to thrive on the pop vibe these youngsters produced.
ROYAL BLOOD is a band a was really looking forward to seeing, and they did not disappoint. I had no idea that ROYAL BLOOD was only a rock duo, and still have no idea how they get that much sound out of only two guys! One thing I found shocking yet really enjoyable was when the band opened with their big radio single “Lights Out”. I expected to have to wait until the end for this one, but instead they got your attention right from the start, and kept it going from there.
As mentioned earlier, RISE AGAINST was the big draw of the night. Whether you agree with their political views and philosophies, in these highly charged times you could expect this sometimes polarizing band to be right in the thick of things. RISE AGINST are a west coast staple and regulars on the Warped Tour, which by the way will be concluding after this year’s event. There is really no mistaking the point of some of the band’s highly charged lyrics such as evidence by the song “Make it Stop” from the album Endgame, which established RISE AGAINST’S stance on homophobia. This song contained a specific reference to the September 2010 suicides of teenagers in the LGBT community. The band has always been known for their highly Democratic stance and targeting the Bush and Trump administrations, but surprisingly there was really not a lot of highly charged political commentary on the evening on such controversial subjects, but just a good old fashioned rock show from the melodic hardcore rockers. For a band once known more for their social commentary, vegetarianism and support of PETA and animal rights than their music, RISE AGAINST showed once again that there is a pretty solid band behind the activism!