Blink 182 – Manchester Evening News Arena

By paul

The Manchester Evening News Arena is a soulless dustbin. It has no character, crap acoustics and a floor covering a ice-rink, making it a magnet for pneumonia. Remind me why I’m here again? Oh yeah, Blink 182 are back. About fucking time I here you say. Yeah, new album, new tour – but are we going to like the new Blink 182, devoid of all comedy and with its new ‘mature’ sound? Oh, and have I said how arena gigs suck yet?

THE NERVOUS RETURN were rubbish. They remind me of Kut U Up who featured on Blink’s Pop Disaster Tour 2 years ago, but their addition to this bill was completely and utterly pointless. Playing a brand of alternative rock without any kind of melodies, the lyrics were appalling and their 25-minute set dragged. After hearing rumours of blood and knob waving antics from the night before I was intrigued as to what we’d see, but I was massively disappointed. Someone said they were signed to Travis Barker’s label which could make perfect sense as no-one in their right mind would book them otherwise. It’s safe to say TNR will never headline venues of this size – or probably any size – in the UK in the near future. Crap. (2)

I was really looking forward to seeing MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK as their ‘I Am The Movie’ album has been a mainstay in the Punktastic cd-player for the last few weeks. They were very entertaining too, with songs like ‘The Future Freaks Me Out’ and ‘Boombox Generation’ impressing. There’s an energy and buzz the band naturally give off, and with a vocalist who can hit quite a range, MCS have lots of good points. They don’t quite fill the stage however, and so lose a few points, but there are plenty of people dancing around to ‘Modern Chemistry’ and ‘Capital H’ so jub was a good ‘un. The closing ‘Throwdown‘ was fantastic and MCS are surely on their way up, but are still suited to smaller venues at this point in their careers. (7.5)

OMG!!!1111 Best gig eva!!!11!! Sorry kids, but BLINK 182 were very, very disappointing. I still find it hard to believe Tom cannot play guitar properly, despite being in a band for TEN years. But there’s always been a charm and appeal I’ve loved about Blink so ropey vocals and guitar sounds have been ignored. But when you rip apart the jokes, stage-presence and comedy you’re left with a band that’s effectively lost its heart. Add to that the setlist was practically the same as the one played at Reading and Leeds, with a few newer songs thrown in for good measure, it made you think why they even bothered. Now I love Blink and I bought my first Blink record before some of those in attendance were even born (and you think I’m joking…) and songs like ‘Dammit’ and ‘What’s My Age Again’ are perfect pop-punk songs. But within those songs there’s a dash of cheekiness and humour which sets them apart from the New Found Glory‘s off this world. For some reason Blink have ditched the humour. And the old songs. OK, so there’s a new album to promote, but still, you haven’t toured for THREE FUCKING YEARS! You’ve cancelled twice! You owe us! Did they take that into account? Nope. Instead we got ridiculously sloppy versions of ‘All The Small Things’ and ‘Feeling This’, while ‘I Miss You’ was appalling. ‘First Date’ was salvaged only by Travis’ fantastic drumming, and songs were stretched out merely because Tom decided to get some feedback. To be fair, ‘Obvious’ was great and ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ worked well too. Throw in the usual classics and there was at least 30 minutes of class. The other 30 minutes left a hell of a lot to be desired. ¶œ20 a ticket? I want ¶œ10 back please Messrs DeLonge, Hoppus and Barker. And don’t even get me started on ¶œ22 t-shirts. I’ve seen Blink three times and this was the worst by a long, long way. Leeds in 2000 (I think) was fantastic – they were funny, the setlist was spot on and a good time was had. Leeds 2003 was good, if a little sloppy, but there was still enough to raise a smile. Manchester 2004 was poor. And I don’t care how many of you slate me for this, but on the basis of this one performance, devoid of any passion, heart, soul and comedy (which, let’s face it, is the reason why Blink are loved by so many), you’re left with a performance which shows up the crap musicianship (Travis aside) and vocals. Take away the filling and the cracks appear, and ladies and gents, Blink cannot pull ‘serious’ off live. (6)

Now I’ve got the bands out of the way I can rip into the so-called ‘fans’, many of whom were pre-pubescent, who pissed me off royally. Now I don’t wish to tar all under 16s wth the same brush, but here are a few things I would like to stress, a kind of gig ettiquette if you will.

1. If someone falls down you immediately pick them up. You don’t continue your hardcore beat down or stop and comb your side parting – you pick them up.
2. You don’t jump up and down with your elbows at head height – especially when head height is 6’4″
3. You don’t barge past people when you try to get to the front between bands. You ask politely or tap someone on the shoulder.
4. It’s not a Westlife gig, so please don’t squeal and shout ‘he waved at me’. Because he didn’t.
5. ‘Blink me Travis!!!!’ posters are not cool. Or funny. Or clever. And the band can’t see them. Nor do they care.
6. Shouting ‘I love you Tom’ isn’t cool either. he’s a 30-year-old married man with a kid. He won’t love you back. Especially when you’re 14.
7. Put your boobs away love. A cups aren’t attractive.
8. If you’re willing to push people in a ‘pit’, expect to be pushed back. Don’t complain when someone who is twice your age knocks you over.
9. If you knee someone in the back, expect them to turn round and want to hit you. Saying, ‘you’re bigger than me, it’s not fair’ is not an excuse.

Why don’t I like arena gigs any more?