Rancid - Marquee Theatre, Tempe - 7/24/13
Seeing a 21-year-old punk band is always kind of a crapshoot. Bands like Social Distortion continue to sell out shows year after year, while groups like The Misfits, Dead Kennedys, and certain iterations of Black Flag would be better off hanging it up for good.
Where does that leave Bay Area punk legends Rancid? The band hasn't released a new album since 2009 and it doesn't tour enough for its shtick to get old. The fact that Rancid hasn't performed a headlining show in the Phoenix area in quite a while was enough for Marquee Theatre to be nearly sold out Wednesday night.
Fortunately, Rancid is more on the Social Distortion/Bad Religion side of the spectrum. The band has three out of four of its original members, which is impressive in its own right (The Used's Branden Steineckert took over on drums in 2006). Like that of most of the more popular bands on Epitaph, Rancid's live show hasn't changed much over the past decade, which for the most part, is a good thing.
Rancid still represents the fundamental punk ethos -- celebrating youth and having problems with authority -- which provides a continued appeal. The band played only two new songs from its forthcoming full-length album, leaving room for plenty of old material in its 28-song set, which spanned 90 minutes.
The band got off to an energetic start, performing four songs from ...And Out Come the Wolves back to back without so much as an introduction. The band didn't need to say hello, hearing "Maxwell Murder" and "The 11th Hour" in sequence, just as they are on the album, was all that the band needed to do. Eighteen years later, these songs still sound great live, even though both Rancid and its fans are starting to show their age.
In Rancid's case, this isn't a problem. Singer/guitarist Tim Armstrong still has a lot of energy, punctuated by his goofy expressions and stage presence. Matt Freeman really is one of the best bassists in punk -- just listen to the "Dead Bodies" intro, and Lars Frederiksen remains the best singer out of the three.