Okay, I know there's a reason no one has submitted this review yet because who in their right mind will admit shelling out $31 to go to this show? Unfortunately, I did. Before going to this show, I was definitely a fan of New Found Glory, having seen them twice before they got big and Hot Rod Circuit, whose albums I like a lot and give a decent live performance. That being said, here’s the review:
I got inside the First Union Spectrum about 10 minutes before the show started and realized that, standing at 5’11, I had a completely unobstructed view of the stage – from about 30 rows back in the pit. The average height of the concertgoers was between 3’4 and 3’7 – and maybe that’s being too generous. Anyway, Hot Rod Circuit came on precisely at 7:00 and tore through their energetic set. They opened with “Radiation Suit” and closed with “Irish Car Bomb”, playing mostly Sorry About Tomorrow in between. Little did I know that they would be the best band on the night. The crowd, meanwhile, was dumbfounded, not sure how to respond to the band during their super-long 15 minute set. I was pissed and walked out to look at some merchandise before Less Than Jake came on.
I’m not the biggest fan of Less Than Jake, knowing very few songs, but was looking forward to their performance and they came on at exactly 7:30 and proceeded to rock the arena. Or try to. As the set wore on, it became increasingly obvious that they were not suited to play a crowd such as this. They tried hard but their sound and vocals were terrible – not to fault the band at all – they are simply a band not suited for this tour. I would, however, like to see them in an environment such as the TLA or Electric Factory. They closed with “Gainesville Rock City” and left the stage and obviously attracted some new teenybopper converts. Lucky them.
Next up was New Found Glory in one of only two shows that they are not headlining on this tour. To call them awful would be unfair but it was obvious that theirs was performance driven by the suits at MTV. 12 year old kids on both sides of the stage jumping through the whole performance. A big flashing “NFG” sign. Chants of “Sell-Out” resonating through the crowd. Their set, if you’re really interested ran a little something like this: “Something I Call Personality”, “Sucker”, “Understatement”, “Forget My Name”, “Better Off Dead”, “Hit or Miss”, “Sonny”, “Never Sometimes”, “Dressed to Kill”, “Head on Collision”, “Ballad For the Lost Romantics”, “Glory of Love”, “My Friends Over You”. Or precisely the same set, song by song, that they have played the entire tour. No imagination. Little from Nothing Gold Can Stay. No interaction with the crowd. Let’s just say they sucked and move on.
Final on the bill for some unbeknownst reason was Good Charlotte. How they could ever headline an arena is beyond me. Anyway, their performance moderately surprised me in that I didn’t hate them quite as much as I wanted to. Dare I say it, but I enjoyed “East Coast Anthem”, “Little Things”, “Motivation Proclamation” and “Waldorf Worldwide”. The rest of the set was, as expected, off the abysmal Young and the Hopeless CD. I fell asleep at least once. Overall, Good Charlotte sounded very clean and very polished in their performance and I was surprised somewhat that I enjoyed any of their set.
On a final note, I had a lot of problems with the crowd but do not have the time nor the patience to detail it. So, I’ll just move onto what I have to say last.
To recap: Hot Rod Circuit – great; Less Than Jake – unfairly poor due to the nature of the show; New Found Glory – disappointing; Good Charlotte – fair. 3 out of 10 overall.
I am not punk and don’t claim to be, but I know what punk is and this antithesis of a tour sure as hell isn’t it. I will never see New Found Glory again, as their performance was even worse than Blink 182’s on Pop Disaster last year. Hopefully, this perfectly synchronized, TRL-driven tour will also remove consideration by anyone of the two headlining bands as anything resembling punk (by people outside the punk community) in the future, though this is doubtful. Now if I could only get my $31 and Friday night back…