Angels and Airwaves
Chain Reaction, Anaheim
Thurs., April 13
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Blink-182 guitarist Tom Delonge likes to describe his new band, Angels and Airwaves, as "the antithesis of being safe" and "a grand experiment" through which he has come "into his own great era." Which is kind of like President Bush calling Donald Rumsfeld "exactly what is needed." Could Delonge, with a face straighter than any emo haircut, actually be serious? The second-ever Angels and Airwaves live performance simultaneously suggested both. On the one hand, Delonge, backed by bassist Ryan Sinn (the Distillers), drummer Atom Willard (the Offspring) and guitarist David Kennedy (Boxcar Racer), put aside his guitar and danced in place, grinning as though to mock celebrity front men everywhere. On the other, he played fast guitar parts with impressive precision as his voice—a far cry from whiny—filled the tiny venue. The music, set for official release at the end of May, consisted of anthems with long electronic intros, catchy melodies, and lyrics about war and love. Audience members stood quietly during much of the set but got excited during "The Adventure," a single that was released online a few weeks ago. When Delonge talked between songs, touching stories and anecdotes surprised those expecting his trademark potty mouth. He even urged audience members to pursue their dreams and never give up, wise words that might have seemed more appropriate for a middle school graduation ceremony. Despite those exaggerated "great era" assertions, you could tell he was being genuinely sincere. And, as Delonge admitted before walking off the stage, inspiration and happiness—rather than world domination or superstardom—are what this band is really all about.