Published Sep 01, 2011Although they are both chart-topping, award-winning, platinum-selling bands, double headliners My Chemical Romance and Blink-182 were actually quite incongruent to see back to back. Being younger, or perhaps just losing the coin toss, MCR played first. And, boy howdy, these New Jersey kids can certainly play.
MCR nailed all their big riffs, breakdowns and double-times perfectly, ripping through their alt-rock tinged by hardcore, melodic death metal, synth pop and power ballads with all the professionalism of a surgical team. Doing his part, fire-haired lead singer Gerard Way baited the arena into mosh pits, sing-alongs and hand waves, and received bonus flurries of plastic cups (to which he challenged tossers to a dance-off). However, between their overcooked material and a little banter, that's about all the connection they offered.
You get the sense watching these guys that this is a job, and though they appreciated where they were and the passion of the friendly all-ages crowd, they did not entirely want to be there. The group did move around, but showed little joy in doing so, and Way spat on a photographer for good measure. They may profess to hate the "emo" tag, but if they want to shake it, they might want to consider cracking a smile every so often, and at least pretend they enjoy their regurgitated music.
On the other hand, judging from this performance, Blink-182 are not very good musicians. At best, Travis Barker is a competent drummer, if a little out of control, Mark Hoppus is a simple bassist, and Tom DeLonge is an adequate punk guitarist, while neither Hoppus nor DeLonge can sing to save their lives. The reunited group's brief attempts at harmonizing consistently and immediately warbled off the rails. Where MCR presented perfect-plastic live recreations of their material, Blink-182 tended to get by more on the memory of their recordings than their ability to recreate or interpret them in the moment.
Yet, the onstage demeanour and unashamed potbellies of Blink-182 were so much more engaging than Gerard Way and his coterie of metrosexual sourpusses. Simply put, Blink-182 were a blast. DeLonge professed to have been drinking for about an hour too long before hitting the stage, bailing at least once, but he regained his footing long enough to express his desire to rest his dick on our faces, and teach us that Vancouver means "the land of enormous but amazing genitals" in North American Indian, which he claimed to be. Barker beat his kit as if he was clubbing a baby seal, while Hoppus and DeLonge traded lyrics, quips and smirks.
It's obvious they don't take themselves too seriously, a fact alone proven by the two adorable preadolescent kids who introduced them. While less impressive musically than MCR, Blink-182 are the kind of guys you would want to have a beer with, and they had a better light show to boot.