Bad Religion still packing a punch!!!

The veteran punk band cranks it up to the delight of young and old in this Anaheim show.

By Michael Coyle
Special to the Register

Bad Religion has done what every band dreams of doing.

The 22-year-old Los Angeles punk-rock outfit has kept most of its original fan base while remaining cool with the youth of today. At the band's sold-out concert Tuesday night at the Grove of Anaheim, you could see fathers pumping their fists with sons, and 14-year-olds flailing around in the mosh pit with belligerent drunks twice their age.

Invigorated by the addition of Brooks Wackerman, a young ace drummer from Orange County, the four 40- ish founding members of the band played songs from almost all their 12 albums with an admirable quickness and a deafening volume. Though Bad Religion is often referred to as the thinking-man's punk rock band, Greg Graffin's academic anger was incomprehensible amid the din. The songs were indistinguishable from one another until the crowd chimed in to yell along on a chorus or bassist Jay Bentley and guitarist Brett Gurewitz backed him up with one of their famously harmonious "ooh and aah" sections.

Bad Religion
WHERE: The Grove of Anaheim

WHEN: April 8

Graffin strolled the stage, pointing and gesturing and generally looking about as exciting as the college professor he is. His humor was light and hardly as biting as any of his lyrics as he joked about not yet having to wear adult diapers onstage and about what a drag it was to have to play in Bakersfield on Wednesday night. Surprisingly, he avoided any commentary on current events, except for introducing the anti-conformist "All Good Soldiers" as "a very relevant song."

Gurewitz and Bentley wore a groove in the stage strutting from their amps to their mikes. Besides Wackerman, with his relentless pounding, guitarist Greg Hetson was the most animated onstage; leaping, lurching and whipping around his shaved head, he had as much fun as anyone in the crowd.

Bad Religion let the sheer intensity of its music carry the show. That was surprising because the group, with its trenchant lyrics, is so much more than just loud - and because these middle-age guys pulled off this noise-fest so crisply.

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