Opening the night was Montreal’s NOBRO, who absolutely crushed their set for those who got into the arena in time to see the act. Kathryn McCaughey provided the lead vocals and thunderous basslines to quick songs that each seemed to be more fast paced than the last. Sarah Dion on the drums kept everyone in check, while still adding some flare with solid technical fills. Partway through Rise Against’s set, lead singer Tim McIlrath mentioned NOBRO, saying, “I think we’re witnessing the next big thing in punk rock.”
Rise Against were up next, a staple of the punk music scene from the moment Siren Song for the Counter Culture released in 2004. Opening up with one of their biggest hits, “Prayer of the Refugee,” the band got right to it and so did the crowd—opening up the mosh pit as soon as the tempo shift hit by the first chorus. Rise Against released their 2021 album, Nowhere Generation, and so were eager to play some of the new songs in front of live audiences for the first time. McIlrath stated between songs, “This has been the longest we’ve gone without being in Ottawa… we started in clubs downtown and now we’re here. It’s good to be back.”
Canadian punk rock icons Billy Talent were back in town after several years away, to play a packed TD Place Arena. Fresh off of their new album, Crisis of Faith, the band were ready with fresh music for their fans. Things kicked off immediately, starting with “Devil in a Midnight Mass” off the band’s second album. With so many hits spanning over 20 years, it must have been hard for which songs to leave off the setlist. Classics like “Fallen Leaves”, “This Is How It Goes”, and “Red Flag” all made appearances on what was a full night of punk, and a first night back to live music for many fans in attendance.