On Friday, July 7, the Abbotsford Centre welcomed three accomplished punk bands from California who’ve been rocking since the ‘80s and ‘90s, each with their own range of different styles. While those already familiar with their work enjoyed a nostalgic night of memorable hits, a notable number of younger attendees also present showed that the groups are still garnering new fans decades later.
Starting off the night was ska punk band The Mad Caddies, a fun, high-energy group with a diverse and unique sound, featuring an enthusiastic trombone player who bounced around the stage and added even more character to their charm. A great kickoff to the concert, they noted that they thought the venue was pretty cool, as it was their first time playing in a hockey arena (which seemed so appropriate for a performance in Canada).
Sublime with Rome was up next. Rome Ramirez walked to the front of the stage and made a joke about B.C. bud (there were a few questionable clouds of smoke throughout the evening) and “getting the party started” as he raised a cup of beer into the air. Many fans hoisted up their own in response; there were several craft beer stations selling different intriguing brews (such as Megadeth’s “À Tout le Monde” ale), and more than once cups could be seen rocketing through the air, showering those below with their contents. A couple of songs in, the crowd began to grow more rowdy, and security rushed around to collect crowd surfers being tossed over the barricades toward the stage. The performance was generally well-received, although some fans lamented that though Sublime with Rome sounds okay, it’s simply not the same Sublime without original frontman Bradley Nowell. (The band was forced to change names after reforming in 2009; Nowell tragically passed away in 1996 from a heroin overdose.)
Finally, it was time for The Offspring to play, and the crowd began chanting the band’s name as the stage was simply set with little more besides the equipment than a couple of black tables and fans up at the front, along with an artistic, black and white backdrop hanging behind. Special effects were kept somewhat to a minimum throughout the entire night, although the less extreme aesthetics and lack of flashy video screens weren’t unwelcome. Lead vocalist Dexter Holland came out grinning, waving at fans and getting everyone even more hyped up before bursting into one of The Offspring’s most popular songs, “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid.”
Throughout the night they played several more favourites, from the hauntingly emotional “The Kids Aren’t Alright” to more humourous hits such as “Why Don’t You Get A Job” and the infamous 1998 classic, “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy).” By the end of the night, the majority of those who had been seated were standing, singing along and dancing in place to the rhythm.
Overall, though some of those in and around the mosh pit may have left a little bruised and battered (as is a common result of moshing / being near moshing), the atmosphere wasn’t too heavy, and it was a very enjoyable show. Though some of the band members may be a bit older now, they all still gave a — dare I say it — “sublime” performance, and definitely proved that they can still belt out the tunes like they did back when so many of us first fell in love with them and their music.