Rancid at Skyway Theatre, 9/18/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Arik Cannon

Skyway Theatre, Minneapolis
Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It's been over 20 years since Rancid rose from the ashes of Operation Ivy. In that time, a lot of mohawks have been spiked and consequently fallen as youthful vigor has been replaced by adult responsibilities. Wednesday's return to Minneapolis showed an older Rancid, one that jumps around less often, keeping their guitar chords plugged in and their harmonies on point. The stage presence may have been calmer, but the floor show was another perspective on the age spectrum.

After co-vocalist Tim Armstrong essentially opened for himself with side project Tim Timebomb and Friends (through which he releases a new YouTube video on a daily basis), Rancid took to the stage, revealing a skull banner that loudly proclaimed "twentieth anniversary." Immediately, the 18-year-old "Roots Radicals" kicked into action and it was clear that the musicians and many of the audience members may have aged, but the spirit of their songs remains in eternal, fist-in-the-air youth.

While the set mixed things relatively evenly from their catalog -- hitting something from each of their seven studio albums and even a couple of compilation and b-side tracks -- it was heaviest on 1994's Let's Go! and 1995's well-known ...And Out Come the Wolves, only hitting the edges of their newer material. In fact, the first four songs all came from the 1995 gem, and it also established a connection to an audience that was definitely younger up front, but gained life experience as one neared the back of the room.

They didn't talk much, and when they did it was generally in a retrospective tone and one of a love of music -- just as their discography has always been. The biggest difference from previous concerts was a set that focused on keeping the sound tight. Rancid are eternally young, jumping on stage and running around like a youth in the garage, but last night it was a largely stationary set from the four-piece, choosing to stay by their respective microphones and hit each note rather than lose themselves in the moment. It was a bit reserved, and perhaps a showing of the real wear and tear that a life on the road can bring. The two-tone and ska song seemed to result in a more enthusiastic performance from Armstrong.

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