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- SECC, Glasgow »
- Blink 182 »
"Hey, Mark - don't fuck this one up" says Tom Delonge of Blink-182 to his co-singer, bassist and the punka pre-teen's pin-up of choice, Mark Hoppus**. We are four songs in to the second night of their UK dates and, while Tom may just be kidding in the way that Americans do, I am probably the only one in the arena tonight not confident that he'll comply. After all, he'd managed to ruin the first three by forgetting completely that knowing how the tune goes is kind of important when you sing in a band.
This should, by rights, have been a great show. Their latest, eponymous album demonstrated a quantum leap forward for the band in terms of tunes, words, attitude and production. They'd grown up in a way no-one expected. They'd gone off and done their own thing for a bit and brought back new sounds, new ideas and new directions. They sounded like a proper, solid band developing their sound, and were capable enough to get away with it. But tonight, this success on record does not translate on to the stage, aside from a precious few moments.
But when these moments do arrive, the roof comes off. 'Violence' is a juggernaut, mowing down the weak and the feeble without mercy; 'Stay Together For The Kids' is a concrete fist to the guts and the head; and when Mark does remember the melody on 'I Miss You' and '_Go_', his Dopey to Delonge's Whiney works in that punk rock way that gives them their simultaneously snotty and sensitive sound.
These moments make me remember why I liked this band from the start, when they got stuck playing the morning spots at Reading on the Warped Tour, or when they managed to scrape their way into opening for Pennywise. After tonight, if it wasn't for the new album, I think I'd say I preferred them back then to the version onstage tonight.
Blink 182 really had a chance tonight to prove that they weren't the snotty, rubbish, puerile teenagers that so many stubbornly still believe they are. Perhaps mercifully, they were preaching to the converted tonight, although the fan in me was looking forward to rubbishing a few popular misconceptions. Instead, and despite the flashes of wondrous noise, I can't shake the nagging feeling that we were all a bit cheated. Shame, really.