Bad Religion Kool Haus, Toronto ON — November 3

You would think that given the heavily anti-George Bush sentiment of their latest album, veteran melodic punk godfathers Bad Religion would have spent the day after Dubya's re-election wallowing in self-pity, or at the very least being a little depressed. So it was just a little surprising that on this night the band was in what appeared to be a good, bordering on great, mood. Taking to the stage in front of a giant Orwellian backdrop and blasting through the first few tracks from their new disc, the band tore through more than an hour's worth of material spanning their career, but not in its entirety. They completely glossed over material form the dark "Atlantic years," that ill-fated sojourn into major label land. They touched upon Stranger than Fiction and played one song from Gray Race but you could forget about hearing anything from No Substance or The New America, and frankly that's a good thing. Those two albums were relegated to Into the Unknown status. That's one of the beauties of their last two albums, which reunite them with Gurewitz: they can now put together a set of 30 songs with virtually zero crap! When they stopped long enough to give us a chance to breathe, they were sure to make clear that they were not impressed with their country's decision to give Bush four more years. They called the turn of events "depressing" and found the silver lining by proclaiming that at least they'd have four more years of writing pissed-off punk rock anthems. But it was said in a way that suggested it probably hadn't sunk in yet. If the end result is more albums like Empire and 2002's Process of Belief, maybe Bush winning was the best thing for us all.