BAD RELIGION at the Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht

As always, the TivoliVredenburg guarantees incredible emotions hosting internationally renowed artists. Born in 2014 as a contemporary music complex, this impressive building is located in Utrecht, between the city center and the station and consists of 5 concert halls, a café and a restaurant. It offers a wide range of musical events, from jazz to rock, from folk to electronic music and  can accommodate more than 5000 people.

I had the pleasure of attending the live performance of Bad Religion, pioneers of the punk rock scene since the beginning of the 80’s. Opening for them, the Bad Cop/Bad Cop, an irreverent anarcho-feminist band from California.

At around 21.30, it was time for the main show. Formed in Los Angeles in 1980, the Bad Religion are: Jamie Miller (drums), Mike Dimkich (guitar), Brian Baker and Brett Gurewitz (guitar and backing vocals), Jay Bentley (bass and backing vocals) and, last but not least, Greg Graffin, lead vocals, piano and “brain” of the band. In addition to be a songwriter and a multi-instrumentalist, Greg is also professor of life sciences at the University of California and at Cornell University, in New York. According to his education, he proclaims himself a naturalist that believes in the power of science which, unlike religion, is based on observable facts and it is a constant discovery of our biological and social history (hence the name of the band). Science, as he says, is the first expression of punk because it advances challenging the authorities and shaking the system.

In 2010, Graffin published a provocative book titled Anarchy Evolution: faith, science and bad religion in a world without God, in which he analyses the collisions between religion and science, in line with a positive nihilism. He shows us that there are many alternatives to the religious worldview and many connections between naturalism and hardcore music. In their pursuit of truth, science and punk are very similar: their critical power is used not only to destroy but also to create new meanings, a new sense and perception of things.  Bad Religion’s lyrics are dense with rage against everything that is taken for granted or indisputable. So, the strength of their music lies in both melodies and words, aggressive, sincere, universal. This mix of energy and intellectualism makes this band a real treasure in the history of punk.

The Bad Religion are still on tour in northern Europe.  Quoting the title of an album, hardcore will never die…but you will. Don’t miss them!   Federica Veccari   6th August 2018

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