NEPA Scene Staff

Rise Against, Killswitch Engage, and letlive come to Lancaster on Nov. 3 and Stroudsburg on Nov. 4

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From a press release:

Formed in 1999 when ex-88 Fingers Louie bassist Joe Principe tapped vocalist Tim McIlrath for a new project rooted in the sound and social vision of traditional hardcore, Rise Against has been tearing through show after show worldwide on a non-stop mission to spread their message and sound, scoring multiple Top 20 Billboard chart-topping hits. Now they’re coming to the Chameleon Club in Lancaster on Tuesday, Nov. 3 and the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg on Wednesday, Nov. 4 with Killswitch Engage and letlive.

Tickets are on sale now. General admission tickets for the Chameleon Club are $30.75, plus fees, and can be purchased at the Chameleon Club box office or General admission tickets for the Sherman Theater are $35, plus fees, and can be purchased at the Sherman Theater box office,, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 800-745-3000. Call 570-420-2808 to purchase VIP boxes.

“There’s a lot of raw emotion on this record,” begins Rise Against singer and guitarist Tim McIlrath as he describes the Chicago punks’ searing new album, “The Black Market,” on Interscope Records.

“It’s a raw nerve,” he clarifies. “It’s going to be a hard thing to ignore.”

These words should not be taken lightly. After 15 years and six incendiary albums, Rise Against have become one of the most successful, challenging, and revered punk rock bands on the planet. While selling four million albums globally across their last four releases – with 2011’s “Endgame” debuting at No. 1 in Germany and Canada, and No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard charts – they’ve also always adhered to the idea of music as a vehicle for change. In doing so, they’ve appeared alongside superstars like Adele and Sting on Amnesty International’s “Chimes of Freedom – The Songs of Bob Dylan” compilation in 2012, toured with Rage Against the Machine’s iconic guitarist Tom Morello, campaigned against gun violence with the Demand a Plan organization, and advocated the Make It Stop campaign’s attempt to raise awareness of LGBT teen suicides and bullying, working closely with “It Gets Better.” It’s important to keep this rich heritage of protest in mind when discussing “The Black Market.”

On the one hand, “The Black Market” was forged like other Rise Against records. McIlrath, bassist Joe Principe, guitarist Zach Blair, and drummer Brandon Barnes recorded it between January and March of 2014 at the Blasting Room Studios with longtime producers Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore. But something was different this time around.

“I underestimated just what a Rise Against song is, what the lyrics are and how they can sometimes take you to a dark place,” explains McIlrath. “I used to go into songs and walk away virtually unscathed. When I was creating this record, I was having a hard time walking away from it – I was wallowing in the sadness and the angst of the songs.”

The superb title track addresses this subject directly. Not only does it question the world, it also examines the burden of the person who feels compelled to ask them. “As a writer I’ve always felt some responsibility to not just acknowledge the sadness of the human condition, but to help people find a way out,” reveals McIlrath. “That’s where the whole ‘Black Market’ idea came from – we’re trafficking these emotions, we’re living in them and it can be a dark place but, overall, it’s a way for people to get over their hurt.”

This idea soon came to embody the record itself, in turn leading to the most personal record Rise Against has made – one that even took its own creators by surprise. “It never occurred to me what Tim had to do for the lyrics,” explains Principe on the concept. “It caught me off-guard. You can sing about the problems with the world, but when you make it that personal, there’s an innocence to it.” And this innocence is constantly under fire throughout “The Black Market’s” 12 superb tracks.