One of my first punk shows happened to be The Offspring, Quicksand, The Vandals and Wax at the Cal State Dominguez Hills Velodrome back in 1995. I was transported back to those energetic punk rock days by witnessing a ferocious set by The Offspring last night at Alex's Bar.
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their album Ignition, The Offspring played the album in its entirety to the delight of a handful of super lucky fans. Cheers and hoisted beers greeted the members of The Offspring as they slid onstage. Things moved quickly as "Session's" hard driving guitar riffs pummeled the audience.
As the crowd rapturously cheered the band, knowing they were in for a special night, they smiled. "We Are One" had Noodles attacking his custom Ibanez guitar and cranking out power chords along with the occasional background vocal harmony. Dexter Holland donned his own Ibanez guitar for another crowd favorite, "Kick Him When He's Down."
While there were signs posted about no stage diving, it was only a matter of time before a mosher hopped on stage and leaped back into the crowd during "Get It Right." Holland jokingly mentioned he wanted to skip "Dirty Magic" and later implied that it was Greg K's least favorite song on the album. It sounded perfect, though, as Noodles nailed The Cure-sounding guitar parts.
Holland mentioned "Hypodermic" is another song that they never play live. After nailing "No Hero," Holland remarked it was a lot of fun revisiting the album. Although Holland claimed he was nervous, "Nothing From Something" sounded flawless as Pete Parada worked tirelessly on his drum kit. Upon completing "Forever And A Day," the band took a short break, stating they would be back to play a set of their demos from 1983 which elicited some laughs from the diehard fans. Everyone seemed to be in disbelief that they just heard Ignition
from start to finish.It was a veritable hit parade as The Offspring came back swinging. The first punch in the face was "All I Want." Bodies were crushed against the front of the stage during "Bad Habit," and Holland didn't even need to sing as Alex's Bar handled the vocals. Their new song "Days Go By" from the album of the same title had both Holland and Noodles using capos on their guitars.
"Come Out and Play" was played millions of times on KROQ back in the day, yet still managed to sound fresh as Holland effortlessly breezed through the Middle Eastern-sounding guitar part. Another new song, "The Future Is Now," will likely be the next radio single as it had a razor-sharp guitar riff and garnered lots of "oohs and aahs."
The cowbell intro of "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)" kept the moshers busy -- we spotted Fletcher Dragge of Pennywise causing chaos in the pit. "Staring At The Sun" and "Self Esteem" seemed to reenergize the crowd as the mosh pit continued to churn. Things finally came to a conclusion as "The Kids Aren't Alright" closed out the evening. Seeing that the Offspring will be on home turf for the KROQ Weenie Roast this Saturday, don't be surprised if they steal the show. The Offspring continue to be one of the leaders of punk rock and don't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Critical Bias: Who didn't grow up playing guitar to Smash?
The Crowd: Extremely lucky fans. Family and friends of The Offspring.
(Not) Overheard in the Crowd: "Play some old stuff!"
Random Notebook Dump: Even the wind fans onstage had the Offspring emblem on them.
Setlist below. "Session"
"We Are One"
"Kick Him When He's Down"
"Take It Like A Man"
"Get It Right"
"Burn It Up"
"Nothing From Something"
"Forever And A Day"
"All I Want"
"You're Gonna Go Far, Kid"
"Days Go By"
"Come Out and Play"
"The Future is Now"
"Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)"
"Staring At The Sun"
"(Can't Get My) Head Around You"
"The Kids Aren't Alright"