You would imagine a gig like this would be full of little kids thinking pop-punk and emo music wasn’t just a phase and that it’s not over yet. But surprisingly enough tonight Brixton seems to be full of mid-20-year-olds and old-school fans, like me, who have grown up with bands like Good Charlotte, spending most of our teenage years listening to them. Whether you like them or not, the fact that this band has been around for over 20 years and still succeeds to sell out venues such as Brixton speaks for itself.
The main support comes from a band that I had never heard of or seen live before, but boy what a delightful discovery! Against The Current are a young pop-rock trio from New York who are pretty new to the music business. They gained some early success by submitting covers of various songs on YouTube and only last year they released their first album called In Our Bones.
Click here for 11 Questions with Against The Current at Reading Festival!
Frontwoman, Chrissy Costanza, is what has caught my attention the most, firstly because of her undoubted amazing voice. The energy she puts into her performance is just outstanding and even if you are a new listener, like me, there’s no way you want to take your eyes off this great combination of musical skills and stage presence. Actually she makes up for the rest of the band in terms of stage energy and she seemed also very chatty in between songs, talking about the band’s love for London and for the UK festivals, their gratefulness towards the main act Good Charlotte and even finding the chance to promote their merchandise. Songs like ‘Running With The Wild Things’, ‘Gravity’, ‘Forget Me Now’ and ‘Wasteland’ are all worth a Spotify download as they are very catchy and you feel like you do want to listen to them over and over again. Their music reminded me of early Paramore which is definitely intended as a compliment.
After this lovely band, we know it’s time to get ready for what we came here for. as Fifteen minutes before show time, a projector shows us a short movie on the screen that is now covering the stage. It’s Good Charlotte, young and full of makeup filmed during one of their first tours in London. In this very venue and exactly fifteen years ago as Benji tells is later on in the gig. It feels like we have actually been living these years together, through struggles, music and fashion changes.
Then a few minutes countdown on screen in which ‘In The End’ from Linkin Park gets played as a form of respect and love towards their recently departed friend Chester. This together with the previous projection transmitted a sense of pure nostalgia and sadness towards an era that is now over and past because unfortunately it’s impossible to bring Chester or early Good Charlotte back but deep inside we know we’ll never forget the good times they gave us.
Luckily the joyful mood is brought back by their opening song, ‘The Anthem’, and we are transported to the high school days while these former party animals play one of our favourite tunes. Nevertheless the energy is still the same as it was in their golden age, the guys appear in great shape from the very beginning. There’s not a silent soul in Brixton tonight, everyone screams the lyrics from the top of their lungs because even if we are stuck in such a conformist society we still gotta remind ourselves that ‘I don’t ever want to be you, don’t want to be just like you’.
Follows ‘The Story Of My Old Man’ and when some strong red lights hit the stage it’s time for the romantic ‘My Bloody Valentine’. ‘Girls & Boys’ is next and the whole audience is participating in singing and jumping as if we were like the old punks in the music video who still have it going on. ‘Riot Girl’ is introduced by a touching speech by Joel who dedicates the song to all the girls in the audience, all the girls that in times like these are not afraid to take a stand and speak their minds because that’s what he hopes for his little girl, to become one day a strong and fierce individual.
In between songs Benji takes a moment to dedicate a happy birthday song to his friend John, helped by the public. ‘The Chronicles Of Life And Death’ and ‘Predictable’ are also received very well by the fans and the general hype is above and beyond every level. By now I had noticed that these guys really love to engage and talk to their audience after every track they play which is very entertaining and in my opinion, this type of interruption is always worth it. Unless we are talking about a fight between a fan in the standing area and a security member which actually stopped the show for a few minutes. Joel suggested that the person calm down and have a drink at the bar to avoid being thrown out. Despite the interruption, I really appreciated how they took care of the situation from the stage and really looked after their fans promoting peace, love and respect.
As if this first half of the gig wasn’t good enough, here come the timeless hits ‘Keep Your Hands Off My Girl’ and ‘The Young And The Hopeless’ and yes, for this one night we are all allowed to feel like teenagers again. When Sam from Architects joins the Madden’s brothers on stage during ‘The River’ the crowd goes absolutely crazy. Outstanding performance and the mix of their voices together is a total winning formula! Predictable enough but still very much awaited from both old and new fans are the encore songs ‘I Just Wanna Live’ and ‘Lifestyle Of The Rich & Famous’ which close the show with a boom.
Not a single person is standing still in Brixton and how could we! What a fabulous night from start to finish, without a single dull moment. Once again Good Charlotte brings back the past in great style and yes don’t we all miss the old times but these guys never end up being just one of those nostalgia acts, on the contrary, they manage to bring the present and future of their music to the stage. That’s the proof that real talent, compassion and brilliance doesn’t fade out easily. Great night all around.