On Thursday, September 19th, punk legends Pennywise and Rancid took to the stage at the Agora Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio.
Somehow in my almost 20 years of being a fan of punk rock, I’ve never seen Rancid or Pennywise live. Blasphemy, right? Well, they lived up to any expectations I had for this moment. More on that in a second.
Since I had to travel two hours after work from Columbus for this show, I missed being able to photograph the first two bands, Angel Du$t, and The English Beat. I caught the tail end of The English Beat performing and I liked what I heard. It was the best parts of reggae and ska in one band.
Now for exciting moment number one, Pennywise! I won’t lie, as excited as I was to photograph them, the dark red lighting and Jim wearing a baseball hat posed a challenge for me. No matter though, I got to photograph a band that helped shaped my teenage years and that’s what matters! Not only did they play all their classics like ‘Fuck Authority,’ ‘Perfect People,’ and ‘Bro Hymn,’ they even played snippets of Van Halen’s ‘Jump’ and Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets.’ The best non-Pennywise song performed though was Bad Religion’s ‘Do what you want.’ As expected, there was some political talk between songs. Talk of how the world sucks right now and how we all need to be better and kinder to one another was met with great cheer. What was met with mixed reaction though was Fletcher sharing the news that gun manufacturer Colt was stopping production of the AR-15 for civilians? A fair amount of booing tried to drown out the applause. Not enough to dampen anyone’s overall mood once the music started up again. The set, of course, ended with ‘Bro Hymn,’ and it was the perfect end to my first Pennywise experience.
Still riding high from Pennywise, we now came to the second and final exciting moment of the night, Rancid. They’re one of those bands that sound the same live as they do on an album. The set started off with the song ‘Roots’ and from the sound of it, the crowd was almost as excited as I was. Getting to photograph Lars Frederiksen, Tim Armstrong, and Tim’s great big bushy beard was a top 5 moment of the year for me. Sadly, because I had a two-hour drive back home and had to work in the morning, I didn’t stay for the whole set. There isn’t much more I can say about the night except that getting to photograph and see perform two bands that have meant so much to me since I was a teenager, was a fantastic way to kickstart my birthday weekend.
All photos by Tiffany Detzel