Say what you will about Good Charlotte, but damn, they know how to put on a fun show.
The pop-punk giants have been around for more than 20 years, and their show Sunday night at House of Blues proved they’re not going anywhere. The Generation Rx Tour is promoting Good Charlotte’s seventh studio album of the same name.
The supporting acts for this tour are impeccably curated. All, that is, except for the openers, The Dose. This up-and-coming LA-based duo consists of vocalist/guitarist Indio Downey — whose dad happens to be Robert Downey Jr. — and drummer Ralph Alexander. Their vibe was more grungy, garage band than pop-punk. Downey seemed to be channeling his inner Kurt Cobain, but it wasn’t really working. Alexander’s enthusiastic drumming was the only entertaining part of their disappointingly stagnant set. The pair’s talent is evident, but they definitely need some more depth. Perhaps a bassist/screamer might do the trick?
Next on the bill was Knuckle Puck, who killed it with an upbeat, lively performance. The Chicago natives stood out from the other musicians — not only were they obviously the youngest, but all five members sported much more clean-cut looks than one expects from musicians in this scene. They played several tracks from their newest album, Shapeshifter, including their biggest hit, “Gone.” Lead singer Joe Taylor was all over the stage, shouting at the crowd to “open up that circle pit.” Fans happily obliged. There’s certainly something endearing about these guys.
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Post-hardcore rockers Sleeping with Sirens describe their brand of punk as “epic,” and that’s exactly what they are. Frontman Kellin Quinn never fails to captivate with his gruff, high-pitch vocals and dynamic stage presence. They performed some of their top hits, including “Better Off Dead,” “Go, Go, Go” and “We Like it Loud,” ending their set with a personal favorite, “Kick Me.” It’s almost impossible not to shout to those lyrics at the top of your lungs — “You don’t know shit, shit, shit/Don’t know a goddamn thing about me!” The Orlando-based group’s most recent music is a little lighter than they’re known for, but fans still seemed thrilled to hear a few tracks from Gossip. Their performance was the perfect way to amp up the crowd for the headlining act.
As with any group with as extensive a catalog as Good Charlotte, the set list can be a gamble. Although they opened with the title track from their new record, one of the Maddens declared: “We’ve got a great playlist for you tonight!” After that, it was hit after hit.
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Historically, this group has always seemed a bit overdone. Joel and Benji Maddens’ signature guy-liner and cheesy, overplayed anthems, although fun, never elicited much more than an eye roll from many. If you ever thought you were too cool for them, they proved you wrong Sunday night.
Their performance took us straight back to 2004. We found ourselves unable to refrain from nearly screaming along to every single song, especially with Benji’s reminder to us that “these songs still matter.” And we weren't alone. The venue was jam-packed with rowdy fans of all ages, willing to turn up for some Sunday-night crowd-surfing and general boisterousness.
Midway through the set, they took a quick breather to dedicate a song to all the women in the crowd. Joel spoke for a few minutes about how women can change the world, something he didn’t quite realize when they wrote “Riot Girl” for their sophomore album The Young and The Hopeless. The show ended sans encore, after a rousing rendition of “Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous” and streamers falling from the ceiling. It’s this kind of high-energy performance and relatable vulnerability that supports Good Charlotte’s staying power ... even if you’re not into guy-liner.