Almost a month ago I was at Hampton for a show and could have fallen asleep standing up. Last Wednesday, Avid Reader, the tables had turned and I didn’t have time to think of sleep. Dancing that fine line between hardcore punk and metal; The Offspring were one of those bands that drew in a diverse crowd of listeners. They weren’t too heavy and just fast enough to bring in metal kids and punk kids — plus their songs were so catchy it was hard not to like them. At this show you could see the various groups represented and the age ranges too.
My colleague Jason gave a great review of their latest release and they did play some choice cuts from the new one while hitting the singles pretty heavy. Starting the show with “All I Want”, the crowd never let up as soon as the drums sounded. There was a little downtime between songs, but it didn’t take long for people to start jumping, crowd surfing, and forming a massive circle pit within seconds. For my group this was a chance to see a band we all idolized years ago and were too young to see in concert, and for a little over an hour it could have been 1997 all over again.
Dexter Holland still possesses that vocal wail while Noodles is his guitar foal, crushing each song, and bassist Greg K might have been quiet but he kept the crowd moving. Their latest drummer Pete Parada proved himself by bringing life to old tunes and slamming through new ones and extra guitarist Todd Morse helped thicken the sound.
There wasn’t much time to relax during the show, as they moved from track to track with little hesitation and some banter between Holland and Noodles to psych up the crowd or taunt us; it was all in good fun. Of course they ran through favorites like “Come Out and Play”, “Staring at the Sun”, “Gotta Get Away”, the ridiculous “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” and “Want You Bad” which had everyone singing along. The best reaction was the infamous breakdown in”Bad Habit” when the whole casino chanted the seminal phrase before the guitar kicked in. I can’t repeat it here so just look it up online.
Beer was thrown in the air along with people and I was having a great time. When they closed the whole night with “Self Esteem” it was hard to believe that we had to go home. We waited a few minutes for a second encore but no luck. No matter, I had a bruise or two to prove I had fun, and seeing them live for the first time with friends was all the memory I needed. Of course if they played “Genocide” that would have been great too . . . but you can check the set for yourself.
Opener Kurt Baker Band were a solid pop punk outfit that wasted no time getting the crowd in the mood to have fun. I missed most of their set but the consensus from other folks was they were a good opening act.
(The Offspring will be in Russia next — then on to Del Mar, West Hollywood, and Rockford, Illinois. See their schedule here.)