Colleen Green - live in Philadelphia (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Colleen Green

live in Philadelphia (2020)

live show

In the past five years or so, Blink-182 has undergone a mass re-evaluation. Whereas the “Tru punx” used to denigrate the band and most people felt that the trio was a guilty pleasure, now it seems like almost everyone agrees that Blink-182 was/is fantastic. So, when the audience Came to Colleen’s Blink-centric show, it seems like most of them were expecting blind Blink worship. (In fact, I was reminded of the “Gene Ween does Billy Joel” tour where there were definitely people in the audience that came to the show on the sole fact that “some guy was covering Billy Joel” as opposed to “one of the two main Ween guys is doing an unexpected covers set.”)

Instead of covering the band with platitudes, Green created a nuanced and ambiguous work of art of her own- built from the parts of others. Clearly, Green is a fan of the band. On couldn’t do a full covers album and hate them. Further, she encouraged the audience to sing along at the beginning of the show and for the entire set, the audience dueted with Green on stage. But, instead of simply recreating the tunes, Green deconstructed them. For one thing, Green played solo with just a bass in her hands and a drum-synth behind her. From there, she ripped the skeletons of the Blink sons from their flesh and bent them into slow, solemn numbers. As someone who is definitely a Colleen Green fan, and definitely not a Blink fan (I’m still glued to the ‘90s“tru punx” mentally myself), I found the project to be deeply interesting.

Green played the blink songs with a certain sensitive melancholy. Each track, especially “dicklips” and “pathetic” were warped from charging, snotty pop-punkers to heart-on-the-sleeve confessions. That’s no easy task. In doing so, Green highlighted the underlying melody and effective simplicity of the band. But also, seemingly as importantly, she highlighted the flaws of the band. As so many Mojo magazine covers comps have attested, it’s fun, but easy, to cover undisputed classics like Beatles and Pink Floyd. Green took a more daring road and reworked something that was imperfect to begin with and moved to forge it into something entirely new. At least at the Philly show, she succeed wildly. I can’t say the re-workings made me more of a Blink-182 fan, but they certainly made me more of a Colleen Green fan.

The show opened with Green’s pals Unkle Funkle and Free Weed. Uncle Funkle kicked off his set with a Foreigner cover (as backed by a laptop) and proceeded across a loose set where he delivered seemingly earnest Katy Perry-esque tracks and dirty Santa Claus songs. He certainly had a knack for playing into the pop style, so I really wouldn’t be surprised if one of the major pop starts picks up one of his tunes for their own use (following in the hollowed tracks of Young Guv and Blag Dahlia). Free Weed had an ever looser set, also playing to the laptop. FW flipped between laid back, easy rapping and semi-psychedelic bupple-pop. Like Funkle, his tunes were equal parts catchy and self-deprecating. “I’m on EBT” was particularly an ear worm. Both opening acts seemed to take an approach whereby they got the audience to lighten up with laughter before hitting them with their more “Serious” tunes (which also had yuks embedded as well). It worked.