Cardiff University- 10.02.2011
Kerrang! Relentless Energy Drink Tour
Ive always been sceptical of GOOD CHARLOTTEs credentials
as a band. Are they pop? Are they punk? Are they pop-punk?
Whilst sporting the obligatory tattoos so beloved of most So-cal punk
bands, they (well, at least front men Joel and Benji Madden) seem equally
happy to seen in the pages of the gossip magazines ostentatiously covered
in bling and showing you round the Beverley Hills pad they share with
various babes like Paris Hilton, Hilary Duff or Nicole Richie.
Its difficult to believe that Joe Strummer, Sid Vicious or Johnny
Rotten would have an elephant greet guests at their wedding, which is
exactly what Joel did at his recent nuptials. So it was with slight
trepidation that I went to see them live in Cardiff University. And
did they win me over? Read on
The first thing I notice, in the admittedly sold out venue, was how
young the audience were. Now this could be more to do with the fact
that Im no spring chicken (they say the first sign of getting
old is when all the policemen look young). As far as I could see very
few were out of their teens, which is a bit of a double-edged sword.
You can argue that they will keep buying their CDs for decades to come,
but young fans are notoriously fickle. Also, given that their debut
release was in 2000, I wondered where have all the original fans gone?
Pic Ed Fielding
Still, I seemed to be alone in my musings as the band took the stage
to rapturous applause. Immediately they launch into what I always considered
their best number The Anthem. With its lyrics appealing
to disenfranchised youngsters, it was a perfect way to get the crowd
going. Despite my reservations, live they are actually a tight unit,
presumably hardened by much global touring in the last decade. Whilst
inevitably it is the Madden boys that hold centre stage, the rest of
the band can more than hold their own.
Given that they have a greatest hits package about to launch the set
list didnt vary much from their singles, plus a few album track
crowd favourites. So we had Keep Your Hands off my Girl,
The River, Girls and Boys, Silver Screen
Romance The Young and the Hopeless, Sex on the
Radio and I Just Wanna Live. Whilst their lyrics are
hardly the deepest of prose, they certainly make some valid points.
As I pointed to my other half when the last credit card bill turned
up, Girls dont like boys, Girls like cars and money.
In fairness to them, the band made big play of being in Cardiff. Whilst
the more cynical of you might say they do it for every town they are
in, at least they had some idea where in the UK they were. This is more
than can be said for some of the touring American bands I have seen
over the years. The interaction with the crowd was commendable, even
down to Joel sporting a Welsh flag round his neck for the latter stages
of the gig.
It goes without saying that the crowd lapped up every moment and if
I was a teenager, instead of a grumpy old git, then maybe I would believe
they were truly rebellious and ground breaking. But isnt that
the point of rock music, it isnt for old men but for the youngsters
to momentarily kick against the pricks, even though most of the student
audience tonight will go on live safe middle class lives.
They came back on for an encore of their biggest number Lifestyle
of the Rich and Famous which funnily seems to be where the bands
front two now appear to be. However, not even I can say it wasnt
enjoyable. Whilst I still think that Good Charlotte are a bit like musical
candyfloss, initially enjoyable, but with no real substance, I prepared
to give them the benefit of the doubt. Good gig? Yes. Punk Rock? The
jurys still out!