Over the Weekend: Blink-182 at Fiddler's Green
Blink-182's Tom Delonge (Aaron Thackeray)
Blink-182, Weezer, Taking Back Sunday and Chester French
September 6, 2009
The members of Blink-182 became the kings of pop-punk nation a decade ago, when Enema of the State flushed the style's system with a cleansing formula of big hooks and cheerfully profane snottiness. But the median age of the most exuberant attendees wedged into Fiddler's Green to see the Denver stop on their reunion tour, also featuring Chester French, Taking Back Sunday and Weezer, didn't match that of the players themselves: singer-guitarist Tom DeLonge and drummer Travis Barker are both 33, while singer-bassist Mark Hoppus is 37. In fact, the sold-out amphitheater as a whole and the lawn area in particular were dominated by high schoolers who enthusiastically relate to the adolescent hijinx the boys celebrated early on -- the ones they're trying to move beyond without leaving behind. I guess this is growing up.
Chester French kicked off the evening in the coveted band-most-people-don't-know-that's-supposed-to-win-over-the-crowd-anyhow slot, and frontman Andrew "D.A." Wallach worked overtime to fulfill the last part of this equation. Between songs, he announced that he's originally from the Denver area, which, if true, is a fact our friend Google doesn't seem to know. The act got its start in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Harvard students Wallach and cohort Maxwell Drummey were discovered by Neptunes and N.E.R.D. guru Pharrell Williams, who name-checked Chester French in Westword Q&A last year.
Wallach then barked that the three key letters for the set were "NFJ," which stood for "no fucking joke," and that proved to be true, in that the combo wasn't laughed off the stage -- but neither did the crew connect with the throng in any notable way. Part of the problem was the material: The recorded versions heard on the album Love the Future stand out to some degree thanks to Williams' hybrid production approach, none of which translated live. The likes of "Bebe Buell" weren't melodically distinctive enough to rev up the Blink faithful, and the lyrical references went over most heads, too -- no wonder, since Buell is best known for boinking '70s-era rock stars now on the cusp of Social Security-eligibility. Even "C'mon (On My Own)," CF's catchiest tune, which Wallach said was inspired by Colorado, fell short of its blueprint, despite his bouncy antics. Nice try, guys -- no fucking joke.