Alternative Press recently published an article on the transience of fame in the music business. A band that may have been struggling for years makes an album that appeals to the masses and suddenly the members find themselves media darlings. All the important music magazines want to do in-depth interviews, the TV talk shows want you to come on and play your latest hit and the venues you can sell out keep getting bigger and bigger. Of course, it rarely lasts as the fickle public all too often move onto the next big thing. Your once fresh and exciting sound is now considered passé. The vagueness of the article leads to many of the biggest alt rock acts of the early 2000’s springing to mind, however judging from the reaction of the 1400 strong crowd at Koko, Good Charlotte are anything but past their prime.
Arriving on stage to an electro beat intro, the band paused only long enough for singer, Joel Madden, to scream, “London!” at the crowd, before launching into long-time favourite opener, The Anthem. The enthusiastic response from the pit was immediate as everyone bobbed up and down in time with the music and was mirrored onstage as Billy, Joel, Benji and Paul jumped in unison from their platforms. This was clearly a band happy to be back doing what they do best, playing live shows.
Next up was Walk Away from their third album, The Chronicles Of Life And Death. This was closely followed by an interesting rendition of My Bloody Valentine, which mixed its chorus with The Police’s So Lonely. The night was spent playing an enjoyable blend of very old songs — teasing us with an instrumental of Little Things that segued into Festival Song, then East Coast Anthem – as well as playing their more familiar radio-friendly hits: Girls And Boys, Predictable and I Just Wanna Live.
Time was taken out during the set for a more serious moment as Joel told the crowd while he hated to plug another band’s work, Avenged Sevenfold’s latest offering, Nightmare, was available to purchase as of that day and he urged everyone to check it out with an open mind. The following song, The River (which featured vocalist M Shadows and guitarist Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold on the recorded track), was dedicated to the memory of the late Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan, Avenged’s drummer who passed away late last December. As the song drew to a close, the crowd’s cheers became a chant of “Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy…”
Only one new track was played during the 1 hour 40 minute set. Titled Like It’s Her Birthday, the twins spoke of it briefly before playing, claiming it was written about an ex. While one lady in particular may spring to mind from the lyrics “Drinking champagne, going insane, falling on me, like it’s her birthday”, it was only suggested and unlikely to be taken seriously. A catchy number, it combined the dance vibe of much of Good Morning Revival with echoes of their older style. It was enough of a taster to make us keen to hear more of the long-awaited new album, Cardiology.
The set wound up with their now infamous Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous which was clearly enjoyed by fans both old and new. After a brief break, the band returned to the stage for their encore which began – unexpectedly – with a song VLS have not heard them play live for some years, The Story Of My Old Man. They then broke into a cover of Blink 182’s Dammit, then continued with Benji’s dedication to the female section of the audience, Riot Girl. The band chose to end the evening with a particularly strong rendition of The Young And The Hopeless. With the average age of the band members now around 30 , they’re still quite young, but certainly far from hopeless.