© Jay Hawkins
Photos by Jay Hawkins
If I’m honest, I completely forgot I’d requested to cover this event, for My Global Mind, so when the head guys at MGM stated I’d been given press accreditation, it was a welcomed surprise. Blink 182 is a band from my youth and their tracks featured heavily throughout my teenage years, so I have fond memories of them, growing up, along with the band. With it being the 4th of July and Blink 182 do come from that part of the world, I was expecting one hell of a party! That said, I was also expecting massive queues to get in, what with heightened security measures, at these types of events, sadly due to past shows, in and around the UK. This is to be expected and we can’t grumble, as it’s for our own safety at the end of the day, however, tonight’s security team did an excellent job at getting us all through the doors, with plenty of time to spare. What’s more, the security I encountered were all very friendly and polite, which goes a long way, in my eyes, as there’s nothing worse than being treated as though you are a terrorist, now is there!
Safely inside, tickets and photo pass in hand, I skipped my way to the pit area, to get ready for tonight’s first of two supporting bands. Before that though, a quick briefing from the pit security guys, to ensure we knew what was going on.
The Front Bottoms are, quite possibly the most irrelevant band name, I’ve encountered, in recent years. For a start, there’s not one woman in the band (looks for cover). There’s no disputing these guys have got some serious talent, using their instruments, but they need to seriously work hard on both their showmanship and on-stage presence. I mean, what’s the point of having 11 photographers, in the pit, all looking to get great pictures of you, to include in our reviews of the show, when all you do is look away and refuse to acknowledge us? It certainly doesn’t make me want to write anything good about a band! Another strange occurrence, during these guys set, was the sofa, that featured center stage, behind the lead singer (Brian Sella) with 2 guys just sat there, opening beers for the band, with one hand and recording the whole show, holding a go-pro, in the other. Bizarre!
In complete contrast to The Front Bottoms, who bored me senseless, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls entertained me greatly. Having never seen this band before, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Musically, they lean towards the harder side of folk music, yet this band knows how to entertain and warm up a crowd! Tonight’s attendance, is clearly familiar with this act, as I’ve been reliably informed, some simply attend just to see these guys perform and afterward, left before Blink even took to the stage! Where tonight’s set only lasted around 40 minutes, the time flew by, if you ever get the chance to attend a headline set, again I’ve been informed, these guys go all out. Frank’s lyrics are thought to provoke and the guy clearly stands for something greater than himself, standing up for women’s well being at live shows is a commendable cause and promote, as is all the other great things this band does off and on the stage.
Not usually my preferred type of music, having witnessed a truly great performance tonight, from Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, I could easily see myself attending another show, given the opportunity to do so. Frank announced this was, in fact, his 2048th live performance, which is some going!
Before the main act took to the stage, we were shepherd across to stage left, having been stood, stage right. this was to give the stage crew enough space to carry off the massive stage prop that got lowered in front of the stage before Blink 182 graced us with their presence. It was a giant union jack flag, with Blink’s famous smiley face, made famous on their self-titled album released, in 2003. It’s worth mentioning, the band’s album ‘Dude Ranch’ was released 20 years ago to the day (almost) man I feel old! Who’d of thought, a band who pride their chosen genre of ‘crappy punk rock’ would stand the test of time. It’s safe to say, tonight’s gig had everything I’d hoped for and expected. Pyro, CO2 cannons, stage antics, but above all, hit after hit was played, which transported me to a simpler time when life was less stressful and more carefree! Wish I could go back in time, but hey ho, life goes on.