In terms of credibility, it helps that members Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman cut their teeth in '80s ska-punk hybrid Operation Ivy, and that guitarist Lars Frederiksen initially played with The UK Subs. Likewise, their albums were released on (still) independent label Epitaph Records, founded and run by Bad Religion alum Brett Gurewitz. When the band wanted to pull a Clash and play around with reggae, dub, and rockabilly, it felt like progression and curiosity rather than a label-mandated change. It certainly doesn't seem like anyone ever asked Armstrong to dress up his singing voice, which sounds like it comes out of a mouth full of marbles and whiskey. Rancid has proven that they can have it both ways, garnering big sales and a stadium-sized following while still maintaining some underground authenticity.
But, can the same be said for Rise Against, who share tonight's bill? Their switch from another California indie punk label (Fat Wreck Chords) to Dreamworks signaled a shift in their music, moving from growls and yowls to more anthemic, melodic songs, and losing a sizable chunk of their original fan base in the process. They've certainly made up the difference with new followers, but by taking a stab at the big time, they may have lost the kind of dual musicianship that makes Rancid special. One thing's for sure: You can draw your own conclusion tonight at Myth, where both acts will be primed and ready for the stage.
Rancid w/ Rise Against & Riverboat Gamblers - Myth - Friday, 6/26 - Doors @ 6:30 PM - All ages - $30 adv/$35 DOS