Childhood friends Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman played in various punk and ska bands in the Berkeley, California, area until they formed Rancid in 1991. Bringing a love of 1970s punk music to a new MTV audience, Rancid quickly became one of the cornerstone bands of the 1990s punk revival, along with Green Day, the Offspring, Bad Religion, NOFX and similar bands. The band released seven studio albums, one split album, one compilation, two extended plays, and a series of live online-only albums, and sold over four million records worldwide, making it one of the most successful independent punk groups of all time. Rancid will release its eighth studio album, In a Warzone, on June 25. The band is touring in support of the 20th anniversary of the release of its first self-titled album. The present line-up of Rancid is comprised of Armstrong on guitar and vocals, Freeman on bass and vocals, Lars Frederiksen on guitar and vocals, and Branden Steineckert on drums.
With a two-night engagement at Terminal 5, Rancid proved its capable leadership in possibly yet another punk rock revival. Although the band switched directions a few times on albums, the live set was a perfect blend of the Clash’s denunciatory socio-political commentary and fascination with ska, the Ramones’ wall of sound, the rowdy celebration of Flogging Molly and the exhilarating crunch of many post-hardcore bands. This was music with a rallying attitude; the choruses for most of the songs were repetitious cries for fists-in-the-air solidarity in identity and community. Rancid’s energetic performance was played directly to the audience, encouraging both moshing and singing along. Guitar solos were kept to a minimum; they would have been a diversion from the hurricane-force of the vocals and power chords. At the Terminal 5 shows, Rancid reigned as among the greatest live bands ever in punk music.