Offspring/Bad Religion - Live in Hammersmith (Cover Artwork)

Offspring / Bad Religion

Live in Hammersmith (2016)

live show

 If you've just turned 32, and you want to feel like you're 15 again, you could do a lot worse than taking in a bit of punk rock nostalgia at an Offspring show. Approaching the 20th anniversary of “Americana” (how old does that make you feel...), the Offspring decided to bring their 'Summer Nationals' to the UK. Last stop – Hammersmith. This time they brought along Bad Religion as support. Ironic really, as it was Bad Religion's Brett Gurewitz who signed them to Epitaph Records and released the multi million selling “Smash”, thus propelling the Offspring into superstardom. Oh well.

Hammersmith Apollo is a great venue. It's pretty huge, but as the sound and lighting desks are at the back of the room, rather than the middle of the stalls, it really opens up the sloped standing area, giving the illusion it's that much bigger. It really adds something. As for the upstairs seated area, I've no idea what that's like, why would I?

What can I say about Bad Religion that hasn't been said hundreds of times before? One of the best punk rock bands of all time, musically, and lyrically, and they never disappoint live. Tonight was no exception. Having seen them loads of times before, you start to notice different things than you would, say, if this was your first time seeing them, which I'm sure was the case for many of the crowd tonight.

Two things stood out for me this time, one being how fuckin' loud they were. Like, insanely loud. I quite enjoyed it. Another being the new drummer Jamie Miller (ex And You Will Know us by the Trail of Dead, Snot). He definitely adds a heavier sound to proceedings, heavier drum fills, and harder hitting. He's pretty damn good though.

They played mostly older songs from “Suffer”, and “No Control”, but still managed to squeeze in about 20 songs into a 45 minute set. Greg Graffin is like a pastor preaching to his masses, Brian Baker is so fuckin' tight, Dimkich looks like a weird Tim Burton character, skeletal, and gurning like he's just done 5 grams of coke. After what must be 2,000 shows, they know how to do things right.

I didn't know what to expect from the Offspring. I'd seen footage of them from recent gigs, and Dexter's voice seemed to have totally gone. Tonight, they sounded awesome. I was really surprised at how good they were, tearing through one catchy hit after another. They were no doubt helped by the energy of the crowd, who were amazing throughout. No surprises on the setlist, most of them singles, dating back to 1994's “Smash” were obvious choices. A few nice additions were 'Session', 'Cool to Hate', and 'Genocide'. There was even a cover of the Clash's 'Should I Stay or Should I Go', in reference to the EU referendum. “We're not political!!”, exclaimed Noodles. Thank god for that.

Dexter's voice was surprisingly strong and... in tune! When he, Noodles and 3rd guitarist Todd Morse played together it sounded fantastic, those were the moments you felt they were at their best. 'Self Esteem' ended the night, one final full audience pogo, and I'm pretty sure everyone left humming or singing one of the Offspring's many sing along classics.