Friday Night: The Offspring at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater


Friday Night: The Offspring, Alkaline Trio at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Irvine; June 5, 2009.

Say what you will about the Offspring. Yes, their heavy punk-pop distortion seems to be a better fit in a different decade. Being :pretty fly for a white guy” is an anomaly in itself. But don't tell that to the nearly 16,000 fist-pumping fans at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Friday night in Irvine.

Families wore matching over-sized T-shirts fresh from the merchandise table, a couple of fire pits lit up the lawn and grown-ass men, still wearing their business shirts and khaki pants, gyrated and hopped about off-rhythm. It was a sight to see.

The Offspring's “Shit is Fucked Up” tour is its first North
American swing in four years, and the first since the release of last year's
Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace. The show was a homecoming show
for the Huntington Beach natives.   

For those that don't know, before the hot sauce (try it, it's pretty
good), Dexter Holland and bassist Greg Krissel formed
Offspring after they couldn't get into a Social Distortion concert. The
high school punks took on the older Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman as lead
guitarist, got a drummer, and later recorded its first full length in
'85. After their self-titled debut and multi-platinum records like Smash, Rise and Fall marked the band's eighth studio album.

Alkaline Trio warmed up the crowd and showed that it is no longer the
scrappy band of the Goddamnit era. The band has
tightened up its sound and paired a lot of refreshingly melodic hooks
with its dark, often death-obsessed lyrics. What other bands can
elegantly lead thousands of people to admit their “love for fire” or
allow others to revel about playing in singer Matt Skiba's blood?

Trio played a good mix of songs underneath a changing light show of
dark blues and reds. The band opened with “Calling All Skeletons,” a
cut off their newest record Agony N Irony, and sneaked in old
favorites like “Private Eye” and “Fatally Yours.”
Soon enough–and it was soon, in order to beat Irvine's curfew–the
HB crew took the stage. The Offspring's set neared an hour-and-a-half, and
had all the songs that casual listener would be able to recognize, and
the ones fans expect to hear.

As they came on stage, one by one, it
seemed that not much has changed about the guys. Singer Dexter Holland,
despite packing on some pounds, still styles his bleach blonde hair in
spikes and still belts out his tunes in the same scathing screech.
Noodles was gangly and hunched over his guitar while he played; a cigarette in his mouth. Newcomer drummer Pete Parada, formerly of
Face to Face and Saves The Day, was a marvel in front of a giant
Lite-Brite-like projection as the
brightness changed and flickered with every hit of the crash or click
of a cowbell.

Although Holland seemed out of gas after the first four songs, the
band made it through a 21-song set that included “Bad Habit,” “Gotta Get Away,”
“Americana” and much in between. The band closed with “Self

Holland didn't pass out.

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