The Balaclan, a 1500 capacity venue, is known to be the hottest, warmest, sweatiest venue in Paris. A band once even finished their set topless. This is where the best of the best of punk-rock was happening on that cold night of November. After queuing for some time, a surprise hit the fans just few moments after entering the venue. Indeed, a backdrop and the drum set on stage was reading “Swimmers.” A new band announced at the last minute? No, just Emily’s Army, known for their drummer Joey–Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong’s son–who changed their band name, and performed new songs. People started to move in the crowd, which was not full at this time, getting ready for the punk-rock night. After many bass, heavy bass, rhythmic guitars and awesome vocals, the band was looking stoked for their first show in France, and the great reaction, the jumps, and dances.
Soon after Swimmers’ set, some yelling–mostly grown up men–happened as the Pennywise backdrop was being held. Beers in one hand, the other hand is the air, the band arrived on stage, and Fletcher’s [Dragge, guitarist] beer holder on his mic stand dropped, spreading beer on stage. Obviously, a new bottle was brought, and drank. Jim [Lindberg, vocals] interacted with the crowd, talked to people, and even to the photographers, as he asked to borrow a camera, and snap a picture of the crowd (find the picture here http://instagram.com/p/vbHJ_GO9JS/). Needless to say that Pennywise, doing “bullshit for 25 years,” to quote Fletcher know how to open circle pits, crowd surf, get 1500 middle fingers up in the air, and they didn’t stop doing it. During the set, Jim said some legend, classic band names, such as Nirvana, The Ramones, or Black Flag, but the winner of the competition was Bad Religion, and the sold out venue was given an awesome cover of “Do What You Want,” sang back by everyone.
When Rise Against hit the stage, with 19 songs on the setlist, they appeared in the fog, were difficult to be seen with all that smoke. But this made fans only more impatient to move, open a pit, and start crowd surfing some minutes after the first drum beat. Obviously, fans did not need any break from this legendary punk rock band in front of them. After introducing Swimmers, and why their name changed, and welcoming Pennywise, celebrating their 25th anniversary, Tim McIlrath and his band mates went on performing songs such as “I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore,” “Voices Off Camera” or “Alive And Well,” the band took a small break to perform a couple of songs acoustically in front of fans of any ages. Finishing with two songs after the encore, Rise Against showed on that night some old punk rock roots, which were showed every day at the beginning of the Vans Warped Tour in the USA, and that France is ready to welcome more punk rock bands, and to party hard.
In addition, Pennywise teamed up with a Parisian vegan fast-food, East Side Burgers, and created a limited edition burger.
Photos and review by Edouard Camus.