Random Records with Steve O
Good Riddance - Operation PhoenixSteve O - October 21, 2013
So I think of Good Riddance as one of those legendary 90s, Fat Wreck bands. And yes, I’ll admit the fact that singer Russ Rankin is vegan, straight edge, and a huge hockey fan might have something to do with why I love this band. Now that that’s out of the way, they were doing the political, melodic hardcore thing years before Rise Against got huge doing the same thing. They were prolific, releasing 7 records in 11 years. They broke up in 2007, but reformed in 2012 playing the occasional show. 1999’s Operation Phoenix stands as my favorite of their releases. It has blazing political songs like “Indoctrination”, “Shit-Talking Capitalists”, and “Winning the Hearts and Minds” along with more melodic numbers like “Letters Home” and “The Hardest Part”. The longest song, “Article IV” peaks at 3 minutes, but it sandwiched with sound-clips, giving it some extra length. The record is full of sound-clips, which personally I’m a big fan of, adding a different feeling to the songs. It also has a sweet cover of Black Flag’s “My War.” Check out Operation Phoenix in full.
Oh, and hey… I just saw Good Riddance at one of those occasional shows. I headed out to Cambridge, right by Boston, to witness Good Riddance live. And they were fucking amazing, playing over 20 songs, including greats like “Last Believer”, “Salt”, “Libertine”, “Yesterday’s Headlines”, and “All Fall Down.” The setlist also included multiple Operation Phoenix tracks, like “Dear Cammi”, “Heresy, Hypocrisy, and Revenge”, “Shadows of Defeat”, “Winning the Hearts and Minds”, and “Letters Home.” However, my assessment of them as a legendary band might not be as widespread as I thought. The Flatliners also played that show, and got plenty of crowd participation. Good Riddance then took the stage, and well, a lot of people hung back, while the somewhere between one and two dozen people who were there to see GR had a great time at the front. I’m hoping it was just a Boston thing, and Good Riddance gets better receptions at their other shows. They bring a lot of energy and just look like they’re having a great time playing the songs. Granted, the two dozen or so fans matched the energy, but it seems much more appropriate to have to whole room going crazy instead of the handful, which included multiple people that were probably old enough to have seen them back in the day. Good Riddance played at Reggies in Chicago on Oct. 20th. If you saw them, tell us what you thought!