How One Band Can Leave Such an Impact
The year was 1999. Grunge was on the rise, but it was paired with mainstream pop vocals begging it to conform. “All The Small Things” was released and began to climb the charts, hitting number one on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks. Blink-182 would eventually become a household name.
The year was 1999, and I was born. Yet, here I am reminiscing on a simpler time that I can’t even remember because the beauty of Blink-182 is that they transcend across generational gaps. Blink’s new tour and album has people both excited and cautious. After losing Tom DeLonge, I can recall the crushing disbelief, and wondering if they’d ever survive. However, the crew quickly snagged Matt Skiba, leaving fans wondering “Who the fuck is Matt Skiba?” A joke that is being sold officially on t-shirts as band merch.
After seeing this new Blink on August 27, 2016, I can say with certainty that the answer to that question is that Matt is the musician that the fans deserve.
ALL TIME LOW
After fourteen hours camping out at Hersheypark Stadium and having the heat pound down on me, begging me to go home, the concert I had prepared for my entire life as a grunge child who would always carry her emo phase with her, would prove to me that the concert gods truly did hear my nightly prayers. Being the first fans at the stadium puts incredible pressure on you when others start showing up. I fought against all odds and found myself at the barrier, nearly center stage.
The barrier became my home, my only stability, as the music made me shake, made me wobbly. DJ Spider opened with some jams and remixes, but the real fun happened when the much anticipated All Time Low took stage. Maybe it was the way they interacted with the crowd, or maybe it was the sun getting to me, but I felt so incredibly empowered and inspired watching them bop about the stage.
Jack Barakat would reveal both on stage and to Alternative Press, that he had seen Blink-182 perform live at this very stadium, and that had been what would inspire him to start a band. In Alternative Press, he states “Dreams don’t always come true, I won’t lie and say they do. But when they do, nothing can prepare you for how great it is.” Jack wanted to bring a great performance, and all I can say is that All Time Low did more than that– they brought an inspirational performance.
A DAY TO REMEMBER
A Day To Remember connected with their fans very well. However, the strange part was how they fit with the other acts. There is no denying that this band is talented and captures the essence of punk rock. A line up with bands like State Champs, The Wonder Years, Modern Baseball, or even Motion City Soundtrack may make more sense.
That’s not to say that I wasn’t thoroughly blown away by the quality and energy that they brought. (I’m just saying I am a strong advocate for ADTR and State Champs to start touring together). Jeremy McKinnon kept the crowd on their feet, and did exactly what an opening act is to do– and that is energize.
Even without initially being a fan of the band, I left with a new appreciation, bewilderment, and found myself mumbling the lyrics to “Paranoia.” You could say that their live performance definitely convinced me that this was a band to watch out for.
And then there was the one and only; pop punk legends Blink-182 took the stage. They proudly stood in front of a backdrop of flaming “FUCK” in the most literal sense. This act immediately inspiring all in the crowd who had ever screamed “fuck the world… “, anyone who had ever considered giving up and giving in. To see the pop punk anthems that helped lay the foundation for artists across the world, and the songs that I had grown up with, was too much to even process.
The solidarity I found among the crowd as we screamed back every lyric, not just the chorus, was unbelievable. It was like Mark Hoppus could hear my sorrows screaming “save me I am alone in this crazy world” and he responded with bringing to life the nihilistic, yet somehow strangely optimistic universe that pop punk music has built. (Not to mention he would later wish me a Happy Birthday and I would absolutely lose it). His control of the audience and ability to pick up on our vibes and twist them was exceptional.
Although Hoppus has mastered stage presence and crowd persuasion, no one can deny that Travis Barker was the heart of the show. Not only was his talent holding the whole show together, his children were quite a gift in their own. Alabama Barker helped with some stage crew duties, and sat on the edge of the stage, tugging on her combat boots, cheering along lyrics, and head banging with the rest of us. After the end of an exceptional performance, Barker handed his drum sticks off to his son, Landon Barker, who would prove to us that an ability like this is not only accomplished through hard work, but also genetics. Travis Barker is a family man, not only to his real family, but also to his fans. His passion seeps into each and every one of us.
And last, but most certainly not least, the newest member of the band. The man who everyone was so anxious about. Would he bust the band, or could he fill the shoes of his predecessor? Matt Skiba became quite the highlight of the night. He may even be in the running for my favorite member, but it may also be too soon to tell. Pressure rode on Skiba, but he seemed unfazed and enthusiastic, mastering Blink classics, and putting his own spin onto the Blink-182 name. For me, I will never be able to forget him singing to me, serenading me, pointing to me. Riding the front row has its benefits. My heart began to ache and the doctors would swear it was just from an adrenaline, but I know it was Matt Skiba tugging at my heart strings. He fit perfectly in the jive of the concert. Welcome to the family Matt, welcome to our home.
Between the pyrotechnics and the flashing lights, Blink-182 reminded me why I fell in love with punk music to begin with. You will always have down days, you will always have up days, but you will never be alone.
Contributed by Alex West | @PresidentWestie