Show Review: blink-182, My Chemical Romance, Matt & Kim (Honda Civic Tour) at Shoreline Amphitheater,

by Dakin Hardwick on October 9, 2011

In 2001, a car company that went by the name of “Honda” decided to add another package tour to the schedule. They called up blink-182, who were at the height of their popularity, and, one thing led to another, and 10 years later, fans of pop punk music became far more aware of automobiles. I was at the San Francisco date on that tour, a show at The Warfield with No Motiv and Alkaline Trio. Over the next ten years, blink-182 went through an awful lot, evolving, and then breaking up, and then their drummer almost died in a plane accident, inspiring them to get back together.

The show opened up with a brief set by popular male/female drums/keys duo Matt & Kim. I have hearing about this band for years, yet hadn’t seen them yet. They immediately brought to mind Mates Of State, only with the perky energy brought up several notches. Actually, they make Mates Of State sound like Bauhaus. The reserved seat crowd was very much into their set. People were standing and dancing in their seats. With the early 7 PM start time, combined with folks trying to get through Silicon Valley rush hour traffic to get to the show, it was especially surprising to see the venue so full so early.

Gerard Way, Mikey Way, Frank Iero, all doing their thing.

My Chemical Romance are a band that the editor in chief of this blog adores, as well as many good friends of mine. And, by the reaction of the crowd, nearly every ticket purchaser of this evening’s event. I, however, have had very little interaction with them. I know the singles, and have heard plenty around me, but I’ve never sat at home and listened to MCR (as they are rather known by their fans, although this contraction makes me think of CCR, which is a totally unrelated thing.) I was expecting some darker toned pop punk music, at times leaning towards the dreaded “emo” banner. And, yes, those were some of the influences, but singer Gerard Way seems to have a different soul that he’s channeling. He has the androgynous swagger of Marc Bolan, only filtered through an aggressive, nearly metal ferocity. He is the kind of frontman that comes along ever so rarely.

Sure, they played the catchy, pop punk hits like “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” and “Helena,” but they were at their strongest when they were indulging in their 70’s UK Glam Rock influences. There was the disco strut of “Planetry (GO!)” that could have easily been released on Factory Records, the Kurt Weill meets David Bowie of “Mama,” and the epic suite of “Welcome To The Black Parade,” all songs that showed a much more musically complex and mature band than most of their fellow Warped Tour graduates. Sure, since I was unfamiliar with much of their material, at times some of the songs started to blend in with each other, but they were a thoroughly entertaining support act, and definitely something that I would see again.

Setlist (Given to me by fellow Platter Marie Carney, who wrote it all down as she enjoyed their set)

Na Na Na

I’m Not Okay (I Promise)

Planetary (GO!)

The Only Hope for Me is You

Mama

Helena

Our Lady of Sorrows

Teenagers

Famous Last Words

Scarecrow

Welcome to the Black Parade

Cancer

 

As for blink-182, as anyone that knows me well, or follows my writing on this thing, understands that I have a great affection for this band. Since I am a music nerd, you will understand that I do have a top 10 records of my high school experience, and Chesire Cat is number 3. (If enough loyal readers demand this list, I will post it) It’s the perfect combination on childish humor, sincere sentiment, and sloppy yet danceable punk rock. Admittedly, after this record they moved into a territory known as “Power Pop,” which helped them get to the level of success where they could play the outdoor sheds on their “summer tour.” I came into this show knowing very well that they weren’t going to give much attention to their first record. They are older, more mature, and they’ve allowed themselves to evolve. It was bound to happen, because if you don’t allow yourself to grow as a creator, you end up stuck in the county fair circuit.

Mark Hoppus. Emoting.

They made sure that you knew that this was “grown up” blink by opening the show with the double header of “Feeling This,” the hit off of blink’s 2003, self titled “farewell” album and “Up All Night,” the single off of their “comeback” record, Neighborhoods. Both of these songs are heavy, dark, and moody numbers. They are hardly even pop songs, let alone pop punk songs. These songs have multiple time signature changes, and, in all seriousness, show a genuine evolution in this band.

I would be lying if I said that the show was completely devoid adolescent humor, but those moments were few and far between. The banter that used to be a primary part of the band’s live show was largely pushed to the wayside, with the only times they spoke seemed to be genuine conversations. When they pull out the vulgar stuff, it punctuated the humor of it even more. They played the tender “Stay Together For The Kids” right before the sarcastically anti-feminist “Dumpweed.” The sweet romance of “First Date” was played just before “Fuck A Dog.” I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain that one.

Travis Barker. Pretty Good Drummer.

The band waited for the end of the show to actually dig deep into the catalog. They largely ignored the first two albums, in full understanding that those songs may not be as well composed as the later material, but are the most furious songs from the catalog. They closed the main set with “Josie,” and, instead of doing the usual the procedure of faking an encore by leaving and coming right back around, we were treated to a drum & samples solo by Travis Barker. (Word is that this is usually done with the drums floating over the crowd. Due to either the size of the stage or the rain, this wasn’t possible today.) They closed the show with the triple shot of “Carousel,” the only song off Chesire Cat, “Dammit,” and then closed it out with Short Music For Short People’s 30 second sea of obscenities “Family Reunion.”

Tom DeLonge & Travis Barker. Doing some rocking and such.

Setlist

Feeling This

Up All Night

The Rock Show

What’s My Age Again?

Down

I Miss You

Stay Together for the Kids

Dumpweed

Always

Violence

After Midnight

First Date

Fuck a Dog

Heart’s All Gone

Happy Holidays, You Bastard

Man Overboard

Ghost On The Dance Floor

All the Small Things

Josie

Give The Drummer Some (Medley)

Carousel

Dammit

Family Reunion

All photos by David Price. Check out more at flikr.com/davidpricephoto

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