Punk rock shows always get a bad rap for not running on time and being somewhat disorganized… and while this one did kick off as the Facebook event had promised at 6:30pm, which is a ridiculous time to start a show, in my opinion, the marquee outside of MTelus was saying 7:30 start time. There was also zero mention on the Facebook page about the first of the four bands, which is a bummer cause they were totally rad man! Ok, enough grovelling, let’s get to it.
I was not anticipating getting roundhouse kicked in the face by a grunge/stoner duo, because well I was at a Good Charlotte show, but The Dose (Los Angeles, CA) did precisely that! Vocalist/guitarist Indio Downey served up hot cups of 90’s infused stoner, grunge riffs, somewhere between Nirvana and Kyuss, singing with a cadence not too dissimilar to TAD frontman Tad Doyle. The freshly released “Drown” (just came out October 26th, 2018) was such a ferocious kick in the nuts that I’d concur half of the crowd is still feeling the sensation of their testicles being inside their stomach, including the women! I really wish they had gotten a little more spotlight. It was their first North American tour, so I don’t doubt they’ll be back to ascend your testicles into your stomach sometime soon.
And then the emo floodgates opened, starting with Knuckle Puck (Chicago, IL) who most definitely brought the energy level up in the room. Frontman Joe Taylor really took hold of the stage and demonstrated his great poise and charisma. But, while Taylor has incredible chops and the band is tight as hell, I don’t know if they truly separate themselves from the murk and mire that is the endless Rolodex of emo-punk bands that sound like one another. “Gone” was a killer jam, as was the slower paced “Untitled,” but to me, they just sound like the thousands of emo bands that probably still update their Myspace pages regularly.
I am however a huge fan of AFI and Sleeping With Sirens (Facebook lists them as everywhere, USA but they’re from Florida) hit me next with some serious AFI vibes. Major props to frontman Kellin Quinn who also did a commendable job of working the stage. It’s one thing I will always give to emo bands, they almost always put out maximum energy and well emotion into their sets. Also, Quinn was wearing a Korn t-shirt, which warmed the teenage nu-metal kid still inside of me. “Better Off Dead” was introduced with a touching little speech about feeling depressed and anxious, always heartwarming to see a band go the extra mile, reach out to their fans and offer up a little more than just music! The set bookends were probably my two favourite songs of the set, “Do It Now Remember It Later” and “Kick Me,” yet I’ll serve up the same argument, I think their songs lack originality, and I was craving a little more variety.
Fuck! How has Good Charlotte (Maryland) been around for over twenty years? It seems odd to call them veterans of the scene, but indeed they are. They’ve been making their mark for more than twenty years now, and it shows, the brothers Madden carry the poise and presence of kings on stage and though singer Joel Madden was battling some vocal issues he still gave an honest and heartfelt performance. Kicking the set off with two new tracks “Generation Rx” and “Self Help” was an understandable move, but it was on the third song “The Anthem” that the room got kicked into high gear. Touring of the freshly released Generation Rx (September 14th, 2018) it was nice to see the band play a well balanced and varied set! A lot of tracks off of The Young and The Hopeless but that was such a good fucking album, and it put Good Charlotte on the map, so it’s nice to see a band recognize that and still play those songs with incredible passion. If I had one negative thing to say about the set, it’s that both Joel and Benji Madden spend a little bit too much time bantering in between songs. And trust me, I am a huge proprietor for bands shooting the shit and interacting with the crowd! In this case, it was just slightly overkilled …slightly. Good Charlotte brought the night to an end with “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous,” like this was even an option? What a fucking banger anthem!
Written by Lee Ferguson
Photography by Eric Brisson Photography
*edited by Danielle Kenedy