Critics' Picks

Blink-182, Bad Religion

The old guys sitting on their porches are right: Kids these days don't have any respect for their elders. Or maybe they aren't right. For example, we have Bad Religion. With a career stretching back 20 years (to the -- gulp -- Reagan era), they are one of the longest-lasting punk bands in the world. Only groups like the Vibrators, who croaked into town last month smelling faintly of formaldehyde, have lasted longer. With a discography that includes 16 full-length albums, eight singles, and three import live albums, there's no question these codgers have lasted a long time.

On the other hand, we have Blink-182. From the same general area of California as Bad Religion (San Diego to BR's Los Angeles), they exploded onto MTV and the radio with their third album, 1997's Dude Ranch, and its leadoff single "Dammit," which was -- hmmm, what's a polite word for annoying and everywhere? -- ubiquitous. But they were pretty entertaining when I saw them last summer at the Warped Tour. And Enema of the State, released almost a full year ago, contains at least three bona fide hits, "All the Small Things," "Adam's Song," and "What's My Age Again?" At the very least, The Edge plays one of those songs whenever I'm listening. Kids around the nation apparently dig their poppy, punky sound.

Blink-182's commercial success has enabled them to ask any band they want to support them on tour, and in a nod to one of their musical influences, they picked Bad Religion, which is nice. It's reminiscent of when Nine Inch Nails went on tour with David Bowie in the fall of 1995. Except in that case, though his Nine Inch Nails had a far larger pull at the box office, Trent Reznor decided to be a respectful young lad and opened up for Bowie night after night. Maybe Blink-182 could do the same.

All evidence seemingly to the contrary, I'm not insane. I do realize that the thousands of rabid teenagers who will attend the show are there to see Blink-182 and not Bad Religion. There's a chance that more fans will know Fenix TX (formerly riverfenix prior to the inevitable lawsuit) from their previous stints supporting Blink-182. There's even a chance that some of them won't even have heard of Bad Religion. In fact, it's only because of Blink-182 that Bad Religion will play a show in a venue as large as Starplex Amphitheatre. But perhaps the amateur exhibitionists (do they only wear shoes in every video?) would do well to incur some positive karma by opening up for the legends. Or maybe that would just make me happy.

Tim Grierson

 
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