By: Curtis Sindrey –
Pop-punk kings Blink-182 returned to the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto last night on the heels of their new studio album, California, their first LP without founding member Tom Delonge.
If you were expecting juvenile back-and-forth banter between vocalist/bassist Mark Hoppus and new member, vocalist/guitarist Matt Skiba, similar to the trio’s 2000 live album, The Mark, Tom and Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back!), you would be disappointed, as Skiba mostly kept quiet, while Hoppus briefly introduced each song.
Kicking off their set with their 2003 hit “Feeling This,” a flaming sign spelling out the band’s favourite word “FUCK,” appeared behind them.
With the departure of Delonge, Skiba joined the band permanently in 2015 and he felt at home on stage with Hoppus, and drummer Travis Barker. Throughout the latter half of Delonge’s tenure with the band, fans often complained that he seemed bored playing the songs that made him famous like 1999’s “All The Small Things,” and “What’s My Age Again?”, but on this night Skiba appeared energetic, and like he wanted to be there with the sold-out Toronto crowd.
“What’s happening Toronto? I believe you’re called “The Six” now. Is that correct?” Hoppus said as he introduced the song “Cynical” from their new album, which Hoppus wrote about “thinking the world is in a cynical place,” but also as a mission statement as a new version of Blink-182.
Later on in the set, the crowd played “singalong with Matt,” as they dusted off the Take Off Your Pants And Jacket-era track “Reckless Abandon,” which has become a set-list favourite on this tour after having been sporadically played on previous outings.
Another classic TOYPAJ-era track that followed was “Stay Together For The Kids,” which Hoppus described as “emo sad.” “Like lock yourself in your room and listen to Taking Back Sunday, put your bangs down from 2002 sad.” Well, he’s not wrong.
Just before the encore, Hoppus noted that the capacity crowd was about to “watch rock history being made” as they played the infamous joke track “Happy Holidays You Bastard” in the dark, which they performed twice as the crowd didn’t light up the stage with their smartphone lights as instructed during the first attempt.
As with every Blink-182 show, fans went home happy. Whether you’re a fan of their new material, or are eager to reclaim your youth through their earlier work, their set contained a great mix of old and new, and with a new vision, new album, and new bandmate, this is the rebirth of these pop-punk elder statesmen.
Opening the show, DJ Snake might seem like an odd choice for a mostly pop-punk-centric tour, but from 2007 banger “Paper Planes,” to pop-punk classics like Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar We’re Going Down,” and Green Day’s “When I Come Around,” DJ Snake served as nostalgia’s hype man.
All Time Low brought their signature glossy pop-punk sound to the crowd early on as rhythm guitarist Jack Barakat explored the 16,000-capacity venue as he traveled up as far as the lawn seats and back down to rejoin his bandmates.
The Baltimore-based quartet had command of the crowd early on, and the crowd gave them their undivided attention, and their bras. All the bras. To the extent that Barakat hanged them on his microphone stand like trophies.
The band’s between-song banter was reminiscent of Blink-182’s late ‘90s-early ‘00s heyday, when Hoppus and Delonge insulted each other, and made poop, fart, and dick jokes. Comments like frontman Alex Gaskarth’s “I’m going to make sex with all of you on the lawn,” to Barakat’s “Alex: small dick, great person,” might have made the band’s younger fans laugh, but made their older fans cringe.
Metalcore favourites A Day To Remember played a short 11-song set with a set-list that mostly included fan favourites, with one song “Paranoia,” being played from their forthcoming album, Bad Vibrations, out September 2nd.
With the stage littered with old tape machines, which symbolizes the band’s new “digital sucks” recording philosophy, the Florida-based five-piece blasted into “Downfall,” followed by “I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?,” and “It’s Complicated.”
Throughout the latter half of their set, the first, and likely only, circle pit of the night formed during “All Signs Point To Lauderdale,” and “Paranoia,” while crew members launched toilet paper rolls into the crowd like teenagers TPing a house on Halloween.
Check out our photos here.