For some reason, Blink 182 have had a resounding impact on a vast number of teenagers of my generation. Maybe it’s because over their twenty years playing music they, like their following, began as sex obsessed teenagers unable to string a sentence together without throwing an innuendo or fart joke in, and have in those two decades developed into… slightly older sex obsessed people smattering sentences with “your mum” one-liners and masturbation jokes…
There’s something about their childish antics and on stage banter which has made their live shows always something of a treat. When the guitars and drums kick in though, you know you’re in the company of a band which will have eternal appeal not for comedy but because their music remains as fresh now as it did when it was first released.
The main show was preceded by enjoyable set by Scottish Pop-Rockers Twin Atlantic performing Radio Friendly songs Free and I make a beast of myself to a crowd which was mostly distracted by finding their seats and chugging as much beer as possible before the lights went out and the pushing started. They were nonetheles more engaging and amiable than All American Rejects who opened with their biggest hit Dirty Little Secret but then followed with 30minutes of songs no-one had heard of and couldn’t care less about. Childish lead singer Tyson Ritter put on the most unsportsmanlike performance I’ve ever seen, he insulted the audience for sitting down and being uninterested and rather than helping the case by filling them with enthusiasm he threw a tantrum and generally acted like a baby who’d lost his favourite rattle.
When Blink 182 came out to the thundering drum opening of Feeling This the crowd went wild instantly, this euphoria seemed to last for the whole 2 hour long set. The pace at which the three-piece belted out their hits was frantic to say the least but necessary for a band whose roots and, I’d say, strengths lie in fast punk rock infused with a giddy sense of childhood.
Their set on the night was pretty much flawless, pleasing for both the casual and completist fan, it included hits from albums preceding their breakthrough Enema of the State but also the newer material which though significantly different to the classics still largely worth their place amongst them. My personal highlights of the show include Heart’s All Gone the ridiculously fast punk song from Blink’s post-hiatus offering; Neighborhoods. Travis Barker resembled something close to a tattooed blur during the song which is a rare new glimpse at the sort of songs the band made in their youth. Similarly, Happy Holidays, You B****** showcased their undeniable punk talents and their cheeky lyrics. But the real highlight was a surprise acoustic set from the centre of the arena in which singers Tom De Longue and Mark Hoppus showed some sentimentality whilst regaling stories about their childhood, the four year hiatus and playing fan favourites Reckless Abandon and Going Away to College.
I may have enjoyed the show mainly for the light-headed enjoyment of finally hearing the soundtrack of my teens played by the band in real life but finally I realised something that I hadn’t really ever considered before. Blink 182 aren’t popular for their wit and sense of fun, they are popular because they have an amazing archive of songs which cheerfully reminisce about the best time of their lives. Ironic that by doing this, they have created some memories I will never forget.
Blink182 is touring at the moment and their new album Neighborhoods is out now everywhere.
SETLIST PLAYED AT BIRMINGHAM NEC:
Up All Night
The Rock Show
What’s My Age Again?
I Miss You
Heart’s All Gone
When You F***** Grandpa
Happy Holidays, You B******
Ghost on the Dancefloor
All the Small Things
Reckless Abandon (Acoustic)
Going Away To College (Acoustic)
Can a Drummer Get Some (Travis Barker solo)
Family Reunion (The Swearing Song)