July 18, 2009
Pompano Peach Amphitheatre
Better Than: Sha Na Na
When I was a wee, wee lad, there was a series on the boob tube called Sha Na Na. The show, which featured the singing and hijinks of the same-named group, was an exercise in rock and roll revivalism -- and it bugged the hell outta me. I could understand why folks of a certain age would wanna watch a buncha slicked-back, popped-collared greasers sing the hits of the '50s. But I couldn't get why anyone any younger would dig the masquerade. I mean, that kinda rock and roll had been done, better and by someone else first, and it belonged to another generation.
I got the same kinda irritation with the punk rock revivalists who started surfacing back in the early '90s. Green Day, Rancid, and NOFX weren't doing anything that the Stimulators hadn't done over a decade before; same thing with The Offspring, though those lads at least had the decency to not dress up as if it were Halloween. Then came Sum 41, who began as a NOFX cover band, and the pose became a pose of a pose.
I tell ya, it was all I could do not to say: "Fellas, I played with members of the Stimulators. I knew members of the Stimulators. The Stimulators were friends of mine. And fellas, you're no Stimulators."
But even a fogy like me had to admit that the revivalists came up with
a nifty tune now and again. And that the bands also managed to summon
some of punk's original energy, even if they did miss out on its
seminal ferocity. Yes, I still firmly believe that each generation
deserves its own music. But why stop the kids from having a little loud
It was with that spirit that I hit the Pompano Beach
Amphitheatre on Saturday night to catch Sum 41 and the Offspring. And
it was with that spirit I left. That seems to be the whole problem: I
expect nothing from these bands. And expecting nothing, that's exactly
what I get.
Oh, don't get me wrong. Both Sun 41 and the
Offspring are tight touring acts who know how to work a mosh pit into
its requisite frenzy. Sum 41 and those guys' dressed-up self-deprecation were
probably more fun, if only because the band's closer in age to the
music's inherent adolescence. The Offspring, in contrast, came off much
more serious-minded. And that might befit their position as elder
statesmen, but with tracks like "Come Out and Play" and "Pretty Fly
(for a White Guy)," such a stance proved to be no real asset.
the two hard-charging revivalists did do what they intended, and that
was to kick up enough crunch to wow a crowd of 3000. There were highlights
-- Sum 41's "Fat Lip" and "Still Waiting," the Offspring's "Gone Away"
and "You Gonna Go Far, Kid" -- and there was the air of camaraderie you
might find when a gang of cousins tour with their uncles. It was
sweaty, it was loud, and to everyone that I could see, it was fun. And
who the fuck am I to argue with that?
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Personal Bias: Like I said, I've known some of punk's kingpins, and I don't particularly dig pretenders to the throne.
Random Detail: Between the heat of the stage, the sweat of the crowd, and the constant spray of rain, I left blanketed in wet.
By the Way:
Noodles is pretty cool cat. And you can catch my chat with him here.