Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Good Charlotte are a band who have been around for two decades. Looking at back their debut and earlier material then their journey to the stage that they are today, Here’s a band that’s gone through all that experimentation yet have never quiet alienated their core fanbase.
At a Good Charlotte gig there’s always several different generations they’ve touched – from the people who grew up with them during their prime to the young teens currently amidst growing up with the five-piece. No matter who it is in the audience, one thing is always for certain: the quintet are never a disappointment and they always have a solid lineup along for the ride.
First act nothing,nowhere. has been creating quite the momentum since the release of his debut album Reaper. Although his brand of emo rap is far from Good Charlotte‘s highly pop-punk brand, he had the task of warming up the crowd every night on their recent UK tour. There’s a very mysterious air to the hooded presence of nothing,nowhere. and his stage act adds onto this, where stage lights were slightly dimmer than usual and the foggy smoke encapsulated the stage. With a live band up on the stage with him, there was the inclination of the tracks to sound slightly ‘rockier’ than on record. Though receiving a few head nods here and there, it seemed that the massive genre gap meant his performance wasn’t quite as well-received by the audience as some of the other bands on the bill.
Second to take the stage were Gloucestershire band Milk Teeth who seem to have had one whirlwind of a year touring and appearing at various festivals. Soon after they hit the stage, it becomes clear how they’ve created such a hype in such a short span of time. The band’s stage presence is one that needs no introduction – no time is wasted and they quickly bolt straight through massive tracks like ‘Owning Your Okayness’ and ‘Nearby Catfight’ to warm up the crowd. The band’s fuzzy guitars and punk vibe set the perfect restless atmosphere for what is still a long night to come.
As the night progresses, it is time for the lively Against The Current to hit the stage. It was evident that the band had brought along their own batch of fans to the show, and it won’t be too long before they are playing venues of this size on their own headline UK tour. Bubbly frontwoman Chrissy Costanza is a driving force behind the band; her never-ending pool of energy meant she was bouncing around from one side of the stage to another that if you blinked you might miss her.
Together with bassist/ backing vocalist Dan Gow, drummer Will Ferri and their touring live band, Against The Current lit up the crowd with their melodic, pop-driven tunes. From encouraging a sing along to their track ‘Talk’ to creating multiple dance alongs, everyone was jittery and excited as the band rounded off their 45-minute set.
Soon after 9pm, the lights dimmed and Linkin Park‘s ‘In The End’ blared through the speakers and almost as if on cue the room belted out together in what, up to that point in the night, was the biggest singalong yet. So soon after Chester Bennington‘s passing, the spine-chilling response of the crowd was the perfect way for Good Charlotte to open up their set. The thin white sheet layered in front of the stage dropped to the ground to the band walking on stage to the iconic rhythm of ‘The Anthem’.
Those in the audience who were in it for nostalgia purposes would not have been disappointed as the band glided through a long setlist spanning almost their entire discography. Whether it’s in the instantly recognizable hits like ‘Girls and Boys’, or the well-loved ‘Predictable’, there were plenty opportunities to feel like you were back in middle school again. On top of that, the band proves that they’ve managed to stay relevant after all these years as one of their more recent singles ‘Makeshift Love’ sparks one of the loudest singalongs of the night. Described by the band as a “good old pop-punk jam” it’s almost mistakable as an earlier track, reminiscent of the band’s sound circa The Young And The Hopeless.
“We were thinking of ways to make this tour special – we brought out more lights and added songs we haven’t played in a while,” Benji Madden explains before his heartfelt performance of ‘Emotionless’. He states that he stopped playing the track for a while due to the embarrassment of its lyrical content, but as the crowd softly sings along and way their lighters/ phones in the air, there’s no denying how many people the track has touched throughout the years. Following the acoustic performance, 2007’s Good Morning Revival got a chance to shine as the set goes through the album’s title track, followed by ‘Misery’, ‘The River’ and ‘Dance Floor Anthem’ to much crowd excitement.
The band ends their set with two of their biggest hits ‘I Just Wanna Live’ and ‘Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous’. By this point in the night, a few things have become clear. 1) most Good Charlotte fans know every single word to every single song. 2) Every track has a massive chorus that’s even bigger than the last. 3) the Maryland bred/ now LA-based band know how to put on a show and create an atmosphere. From the constant “woah”s Joel Madden has the crowd chanting, to getting them to count the band in before ‘The Young And The Hopeless’, to getting the sold-out room do a mass jump along to the band’s final track. Good Charlotte proves time and time again that they are one of the few 90s pop-punk bands to have stood the test of time, and now in 2017 they remain as relevant as they were in the early 2000s.