LIVE: Good Charlotte @ O2 Forum, Kentish Town

By Christopher Lee

It’s been 5 years since Good Charlotte hung up their boots for the foreseeable. There’s been various side projects come and go in that time with varied levels of success, most notably 2014’s ‘solo’ album for Benji & Joel ‘The Madden Brothers’. There are those that said that was it, who thought we’d never see the Maryland pop punk group again but here we are in 2016 at a packed Kentish Town Forum eagerly awaiting their return to London. The place is buzzing with excitement.

Screaming “hey London,” they explode on stage opening with ‘Anthem’ and all of a sudden it’s like they never went away. You might expect that a band that’s been on hiatus this long would be a little rusty but that’s certainly not the case here, and guessing by the looks on the bands’ faces they’re just as happy to be back as everyone in the venue is to have them. Joel proclaims: “Damn it feels so good to be back playing a Good Charlotte show.” Four tracks in and we’re treated to a near perfect rendition of ‘Girls & Boys’ which gets the whole place singing and jumping. Followed by ‘Life Changes’, a track from their newest offering ‘Youth Authority’, which seems to fit perfectly in a set heavy with their old material.

It’s always great when you can just tell that a band are having just as much fun up there as the crowd are, and maybe even more for Joel and the boys tonight. In his words it’s nights like tonight that “make me wish I’d never gone away.” They jump into the intro for ‘Keep Your Hands Off My Girl’, but it’s not to be tonight as they scrap that and kick on with ‘The Motivation Proclamation’ and ‘Hold On’

We then get a rendition ‘The Chronicles of Life and Death’ which is greeted with the crowd singing every word back. Aptly Joel proclaims “how’s your life going? Life can’t get any better than this, just sayin!” They close the set with ‘Little Things’ and ‘The Young and the Hopeless’, but they’re obviously all having far too much of a good time up there as they can’t even bring themselves to leave the stage. Benji laughs to himself and tells the crowd, “how about an encore? Now that we’ve left the stage…”

The epic encore of ‘The River’ rings out before an emotional Joel tells the crowd that “we’ve come a long way from being bullied at school to being here in front of all of you. Thank you, Goodnight!” That’s not the end just yet. ‘I Just Wanna Live’ followed with a goosebumps inducing ‘Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous’. “Next time we’ll play for even longer,” they tease as the band bid farewell to what has been a wonderful evening. Good Charlotte are back and they don’t plan on going anywhere for a while.