Blink-182: First Direct Arena, Leeds

Blink 182 have always successfully peddled saccharine, day-glo Sunny Delight visions of Americana, replete with meeting girls, knob jokes and teenage angst. It is almost then to their detriment, that early 00’s music stations played up to these throwaway pop-punk anthems, whilst all the more overlooking some of the real grit and ballads that the band have produced over the years.

Opening with guaranteed crowd-pleasers such as Feeling This, Rock Show and What’s My Age Again, the crowd of mid-thirties punks were instantly thrown back into the comfort of an assumed California summer, the likes of which us Brits can only dream of. It was this playful escapism that drew fans in from the start of Blinks career, a fact the well-oiled touring machine will be well aware of and concentrate their attack squarely on this fun nostalgia.

New material from the latest album California, was giving a rapturous reception with tracks like Cynical, Bored To Death and Built This Pool. Throughout the whole set, a video wall displayed imagery from the new album artwork, cleverly placing an animated car driving directly into the crowd through the drum riser.

Having been around for some 20 years, the band know their strengths and have treaded over most of this material time and time again. My only criticism would be the slight changes in pitch and subtle re-arrangements in the songs to best fit Matt Skibas vocal range. Whilst it is great to see the band going from strength to strength, it is his own work on California that best serve his style than trying to ape the very distinct vocals of past member Tom DeLonge.

Los Angeles is a hint of where Blink 182 should be heading, the longing for youth still evident, but with a mature retrospective outlook of the future. I would argue that this one track alone was the highlight of the evening.

An encore featuring All The Small Things and a sweet but unnecessary drum solo from Travis Barkers son closed the evening. It may not have swayed the casual fan, but the night proved that the loyal following are still faithful, and Blink may have just got themselves a second wind.

Blink Trio, Alkaline 182, whatever bastardisation of this band now exists there is no denying the power and passion still evident within the band.

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