As we have commented before, Estereo Picnic is one of those festivals where there is a very particular ambiance. In this case, very chill with a hint of hipster attitude to the layout of the festival; however music wise there are always exceptions that make you wonder why certain bands are there in the first place. Estereo Picnic has a very explicit pop/electronic list of acts, but the organization once in awhile add other genres into the mix; Bad Religion was one of those out of the box selections. With 24 songs in their setlist, Bad Religion was a highlight of the festival.
After wandering around in a light-hearted festival through three different stages and after enduring heavy rain, I had the chance to slow down a bit and prepare for Bad Religion to come. In my musical taste, there is a broad range of genres, but after hearing the constant parade of pop rock music from the first set of bands it was getting on my nerves the repetitiveness of the music. I am not complaining about the quality of the bands, just that after two or three songs I could tell exactly what would come next. I had heard about Bad Religion before, but never paid too much attention for different reasons, but once I saw them live, I must say it was a pleasant surprise what this punk rock band had to offer on the stage.
When the band came to the stage, and knowing that Bad Religion was founded in 1979 by members in their late teenage years, I was expecting a rather aged group on the stage, but I was set to amazement. These guys, all in their early fifties, came to the stage with a very young disposition wearing clothes worthy of the genre. The first song played was a bold statement from their latest works, ‘Fuck You’ full with energy and just going for the kill. A clear criticism to the over usage of the phrase, it undoubtedly brought energy to the rainy, cold evening. The next song to be performed was ‘21st Century Boy’ another blunt criticism to then outburst on digital footprint we have now. Despite that this song was written in the late eighties, it has remained updated. With the following couple of songs ‘Overture’ and ‘Sinister Rouge’ especially with the latter, it brought the punk shiver down my spine, such an energetic song! Even for those in the audience that was not much into punk, the urge of jumping came with the first riff. This jumping spree continued with ‘Come Join Us’ where most of the people were singing along their lungs out, shouting and jumping all together, it was fantastic!
As the show was progressing, the tiredness I had accumulated during the week started to dissipate, because there is a certain charm with these short songs played live, you must let yourself go with the bit. That was the case with 1988 ‘Do You What you Want’ and ‘You Are’, a couple of song charged with the punk anger that you would expect from the heyday of American West Coast punk scene. Bad Religion gave it all, one song after the next, and from the audience perspective, you could tell those real fans among the random people. Those jumping, moshing, and singing fans are always a pleasure to see. One of the songs that got people jumping, especially in the frontline was ‘Infected’ possibly one of the more “slow” beats of the set, but for those singing, the song kept them in the mood.
The night went on, and the show was about to end. Bad Religion, performed a varied setlist from their extensive discography, with songs like ‘Sorrow’, ‘You’, ‘Generator, ‘Punk Rock Song’, ‘Los Angeles Is Burning’, among others. Those true fans got completely excited, and those not well acquainted with the band got a pleasant show. The time came to wrap things up, and nothing better to do so than ‘American Jesus’ where mosh pits were formed at the punk rock custom. With some of the participants visibly tired but ultimately grateful, Bad Religion thanked those that came to the show in Spanish as it is the custom in this kind of concerts.
The impression that I got from the band and the public, in general, was of complete joy. Yes, Bad Religion stood up from the recruited bands in Estereo Picnic, but they did not disappoint those that were not familiar with their music. Pure energy, the short songs boosted with energy made the cold evening bearable for those on that stage. Personally, they came as a breath of fresh air. I enjoyed the punk boost at that hour, and it helped me to keep going for the remainder of the day.
All photographs were taken by Angélica Vargas. She is a professional photographer with more than one decade of experience, and occupies the position of Chief Creative Officer since October 1st, 2015.
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