Blink-182 bring a taste of California to Birmingham

July 12, 2017

Last Friday, Blink-182 brought their CaliforniaTour to the Birmingham. Supported by The Front Bottoms and Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, the show was one of the highlights of the summer!


Starting off the show with their undoubtable hipster charm were the New Jersey lads in The Front Bottoms (6). Dressing up the stage with vintage carpets, an unmissable brown sofa and a few random lamps, they created a set that would fit better in a dingy club setting rather than on an arena stage. The band appeared to capture the crowd's attention with their cringey stage presence and the monotone lull of spoken word vocals from Brian Sella. Playing a set that included 

the popular 'Twin Sized Mattress' as well as 'Maps', 'Au Revoir (Adios)' and 'The Plan (Fuck Jobs)', the guys left the audience with mixed emotions after the somewhat awkward nature of their set. 


 Photo Credit: Stevie Swarts



Next up was folk-rock outfit Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls (8), who effortlessly made a full-scale arena show feel as intimate as a club gig. With support from the charming Sleeping Souls, the ever-growing audience was held captivated by the charismatic wit of Turner and the poignancy of his story-telling lyrics. Opening with 'Get Better', the precedent was set with the crowd showing sheer adoration for the singer-songwriter which signified his importance within the folk-rock scene.



 Photo Credit: Stevie Swarts


A notable highlight was during 'Dan's Song' where a 'lucky competition winner' joined Frank Turner on stage- it was was amusingly none other than Matt Skiba, who had been asked to support on harmonica. Within the set, the crowd was also treated to some of Turners' more well-known songs such as 'I Still Believe' 'Recovery' and 'Photosynthesis', which saw fans sing-along passionately to every lyric. Ending with the energy and ferocity of 'Four Simple Words', Frank Turner was able win over the crowd (and even end up submerged in it) with his lively showmanship and unquestionably gain some new fans along the way. 


 Photo Credit: Stevie Swarts



With the Barclaycard Arena full to the brim, an enormous Union Jack flag concealed the stage with the focal point being Blink-182's (9) logo. With a sudden fade to darkness and the deafening sound of screams, the band sprang to the stage and delved straight into Self-Titled belter 'Feeling This'. Now, there is no denying that some skepticism surrounded many fans who were left questioning what the point in Blink-182 was without ex-guitarist and vocalist Tom Delonge. Nonetheless, it is fair to say the band actually sounded HUGE in Tom's absence; appearing refreshed, musically tight and in high-spirits, Blink-182 have never sounded better. Extra kudos also belong to bassist Mark Hoppus who may be the first American musician to actually say 'Birmingham' correctly. 


 Photo Credit: Stevie Swarts


With the addition of Alkalike Trio vocalist Matt Skiba, the band played a fast-paced, pyro laden setlist that spanned the majority of the band's career. It was pretty obvious that hits such as 'The Rock Show, 'What's My Age Again?' and 'I Miss You' were bound to gain the most solid fan reception, however, material from 2016's California was received extremely positively by the crowd. Additions such as 'Cynical', 'Bored to Death' and 'Los Angeles' demonstrated the band's maturity and ability to develop as a pop-punk outfit, as well as showcasing the strong musical bond between Mark Hoppus and Matt Skiba when onstage.


 Photo Credit: Stevie Swarts


Although Blink only played for around 70 minutes, they were able to stack in a 22 song set-list, which welcomed old classics from Enema of the State such as 'Dumpweed' and 'Dysentary Gary'. Arguably the set was over so quickly, due to the band's minimal engagement with the audience. Blink-182 are typically notorious for crowd participation, but this set seemed to be a little lacklustre in comparison to other shows. However, there was plenty of highpoints to over-shadow this blip- for instance Travis Barker was able to demonstrate why he is still one of the world's greatest drummers with an impromptu drum solo which then led into the familiar opening of 'Violence'.

 Photo Credit: Stevie Swarts


Naysayers need not complain, as Blink-182 have certainly not lost their sense of humour, appearing in front of a flaming 'FUCK' sign, and adding 'Happy Holidays, You Bastard' to their set indicated the group were not breaking the habit of immaturity and mom jokes anytime soon. Ending their set with an encore of 90s anthems 'All The Small Things' and 'Dammit', Blink-182's set proved that the right dose of nostalgia and new material is a sure-fire winner with fans. The lads have proven that regardless of age or legacy of a band, change can be a very rejuvenating and somewhat rewarding experience. 



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