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Blink-182... but you can't miss Rancid

Quartet great opening act for pop-punkers

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/8/2011 (2640 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

For an opening act, Rancid makes a pretty good headliner.

The veteran Bay Area quartet was in Winnipeg Thursday night serving as the warm-up for reunited pop-punkers Blink-182 during a three-band bill at the MTS Centre, but it was hard to top Rancid's 60-minute barrage of Clash-inspired anthems, ska and street punk.

The quartet played more than 20 songs in an hour, even getting the crowd to participate in one of the largest circle pits ever seen at the arena.

Rancid touched on highlights from throughout its career with material from every album since its 1993 self-titled debut making the set. The band members visibly appreciated the enthusiastic response as the audience sang along, danced and banged their fists in the air to favourites like Nihilism, Radio, Fall Back Down, Time Bomb and finale Ruby Soho.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/8/2011 (2640 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press 
Blink-182 performs at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on Thursday. The group had to work hard to follow a strong opening performance by Rancid.

JOHN WOODS/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press Blink-182 performs at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on Thursday. The group had to work hard to follow a strong opening performance by Rancid.

For an opening act, Rancid makes a pretty good headliner.

The veteran Bay Area quartet was in Winnipeg Thursday night serving as the warm-up for reunited pop-punkers Blink-182 during a three-band bill at the MTS Centre, but it was hard to top Rancid's 60-minute barrage of Clash-inspired anthems, ska and street punk.

The quartet played more than 20 songs in an hour, even getting the crowd to participate in one of the largest circle pits ever seen at the arena.

Rancid touched on highlights from throughout its career with material from every album since its 1993 self-titled debut making the set. The band members visibly appreciated the enthusiastic response as the audience sang along, danced and banged their fists in the air to favourites like Nihilism, Radio, Fall Back Down, Time Bomb and finale Ruby Soho.

"You guys are kicking ass, I swear to God," vocalist-guitarist Tim Armstrong summed up after The 11th Hour.

Armstrong was a whirlwind of energy and was almost constantly in motion as he ran all over the stage and jumped on his monitors with his hollow body guitar slung low. Guitarist-vocalist Lars Frederiksen held up his end of the bargain and when he wasn't at the microphone was jumping in the air, doing the splits and stalking the stage.

After the excitement generated during Rancid, Blink-182 had something to prove. The reunited California trio — guitarist-vocalist Tom Delonge, bassist-vocalist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker — were aided by a louder mix and some production help with a seizure inducing light show and 12 LED screens.

The set was similar to their last show here two years ago, with some slight changes to the list, including a few new songs from their forthcoming album Neighborhoods.

It didn't seem to matter to the crowd of 6,000 who ate everything up, from old favourites like Feeling This, Rock Show and What's My Age Again? to the new Up All Night and After Midnight, both which lack the melodic hooks of their best material.

Most people know Blink-182 as an immature pop-punk band with funny videos, but many songs from their last two album before splitting in 2005 found the band exploring more moody, mature territory from the slow groove of Down off their 2003 self-titled effort to the power ballad I Miss You. Another slow one, Stay Together for the Kids, deals with the end of a marriage.

But the Blink boys will be boys and there was plenty of silly jokes and between song banter.

"To me, this song is about putting the penis in the vagina. You can find your own meaning, but that's what it means to me," Hoppus said before What's My Age Again? Later Delonge made a joke about his co-frontman's testicles after the bassist expressed his joy at the light show.

"Laser beams!" he screamed.

There were plenty of those, no matter what tempo they were in. Laser beams during a love song? Why not? When you've got 'em, you may as well use them.

After a strong start, the middle of the show plodded along uneventfully with the occasional blast of a fun one like Happy Holidays, You Bastard until the home stretch when things picked up with All the Small Things and Josie ending off the 65-minute main set.

For the encore Barker performed a drum solo on a huge crane that extended into the first 15 rows of the floor. When he landed, Delonge and Hoppus stepped on stage for Carousel, supposedly the first song the pair wrote together, and Dammit (Growing Up), before confetti cannons erupted in a blast of silver that showered the crowd.

Florida's Against Me! made showing up early worth it with a 35-minute set that managed to touch on a smattering of the group's impressive output from the Celtic-inspired Pints of Guinness Make You Strong to anthems like Don't Lose Touch and I Was a Teenage Anarchist to the unlikely radio hit Thrash Unreal that had a group of devoted fans at the front pumping their fists in the air.

"I'm confident that this is one of the best lineups you will ever see," frontman Tom Gabel said about the night's bill.

It was hard to argue with him.

rob.williams@freepress.mb.ca

 

Concert review

Blink-182

  • Aug. 25, 2011
  • MTS Centre
  • Attendance: 6,000
  • Four stars out of five

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