Rise Against are out on the road with A Day To Remember and the Menzingers on the first leg of a U.S. tour. This initial leg wraps up next week but will be followed by a second leg kicking off in mid-April. Last night the show rolled into the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass., for a night full of music, message and moshing.

The two sets performed by A Day to Remember and Rise Against proved to be more like a tale of two shows. A Day to Remember’s set was fueled by the fun factor; as soon as they hit the stage, the crowd was barraged by beach balls making the sold-out general admission pit look more like a playground and for the rest of their set, that’s exactly how A Day to Remember would treat it.

The high octane set also included streams of smoke, lead singer Jeremy McKinnon crawling into a human size hamster ball and rolling around the crowd, a costumed character shooting t-shirts out of an air-cannon from the stage and a cavalcade of balloons falling from the ceiling to top off the show.

Of course, then there was the music, A Day To Remember barreled through a 13 song set, strong on songs from their 2010 release ‘What Separates Me from You’ including ‘2nd Sucks, ‘All Sights Point to Lauderdale' and ‘All I Want.’ They also entertained a cover request from the Menzigers ripping into ‘No Cigar’ – a Millencolin cover, marking the first time they played it live on this tour, at least according to the band!

Rise Against took the stage to the sound of their name being chanted in unison by the thousands in attendance. The mood shift was pretty evident as their set started out with images of a social and political nature from protests to war flaring up on several video panels spread across the stage. The thought-provoking images would serve as a backdrop for the band as they kicked off their set with ‘Survivor Guilt.’

For anyone complaining about the latter Rise Against albums having a more polished sound, then your mission should be to check them out live. The raw energy and jagged edge that made you fall in love with them in the first place is ever-present, driven by singer, songwriter and guitarist Tim McIlrath.

The set was powered by songs from 2008’s ‘Appeal to Reason’ and their latest release ‘Endgame,’ tackling big issues like the lack of leadership and sense of urgency towards Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath that ensued in ‘Help Is on the Way’ to homophobia and bullying in ‘Make It Stop (September's Children).' McIllrath and Rise Against performed with a purpose from the moment they took the stage with an unrelenting energy that lasted all night.

Throughout the show, McIllrath was keenly in tune with the audience, making them feel like a part of the show from start to finish. He took to the stage all alone to deliver acoustic versions of ‘Audience of One’ and ‘Swing Life Away,’ the crowd serving as backup singers joining him word for word. All in all Rise Against played a 20 song set leaving 'Midnight Hands,' 'Savior,' and 'The Strength to Go On' for the encore finish.

Scranton, Pa.’s very own the Menzingers opened the show with a 30 minute set of punk infused tunes, getting everyone’s blood flowing, rounding out a perfect night for any music fan.

View Photos of Rise Against and A Day To Remember From Last Night's Show