Most punk shows are typically hosted at the same type of venues. A dive bar with a musty smell in the air, sticky floors, and a lot of sweaty kids pushing on top of each other trying to find their way to the front, where the band is crammed on a small stage jumping around and screaming about antigovernment. But last night, Toronto’s Echo Beach (the furthest thing from a punk venue) held a raging show with four punk-rock bands all from California who have respectively been around for the past three decades.
Calling it ‘The Summer Nationals Tour’, The Vandals, Pennywise, Bad Religion, and headliners, The Offspring are taking North America by storm with their punk persona and preaching their lyrics to the masses.
The Offspring are touring in celebration of the 20th anniversary of their first major studio album, Smash. The band’s main set was playing the full album in its entirety.
The first act on was The Vandals who played with crude humour and fast music, keeping the audience clapping and singing along. One highlight during their set was when two girls at the barricade threw their underwear on stage. Attached, was a note that said “I threw my panties, now toss me the setlist”. This got plenty of laughs from the band and crowd, although no setlist was tossed to them [the girls].
Up next was Pennywise. Following along the same lines as The Vandals, Pennywise played a fast paced set with slight banter in between, and talking about how pleased they were to be in Canada.
After Pennywise, Bad Religion took the stage, and if people weren’t already incredibly excited to be seeing The Offspring, they lost their minds for Bad Religion. Once they hit the stage, fists were going in the air, the crowd surfing increased drastically, and more power chords were being played heavier and faster.
By 9:20 p.m., the crowd was getting antsy with anticipation as they began to chant for The Offspring. Technicians were fooling around with the lights, which caused the crowd to be left on their toes, awaiting unexpectedly for the band to come on.
But by 9:30 p.m., the voice over from “Time to Relax,” the introduction, and technically the first song off Smash, began to play. Fans recited the monologue as the band came on stage.
Lead singer Dexter Holland and guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman, spent the majority of the set providing slight banter in between songs. Aside from the usual “we’re happy to be in Canada” and “how are you guys doing?”, The Offspring primarily just played one song after the other, where as most bands would talk with the crowd more. Additionally, they stuck to playing the proper length of their set, as opposed to extending songs for guitar or drum solos.
Upon completion of Smash, the band left to return for an encore of their more later releases including “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)”, “You’re Gonna Go Far Kid”, and “The Kids Aren’t Alright”, among others.
The audience was beyond enthused to be part of the crowd for this show. During favourite songs, friends would wrap their arms around the neck of their friends to sway back and forth in complete bliss. There were interesting age demographics at this concert. From people in their mid-twenties, teenagers, adults, to even young kids with their parents. That being said, the crowd was incredibly rowdy with mosh pits, circle pits, beer cans being thrown around, and people passing around drugs, prompting for more security in and around the venue.
Overall, these four bands have proven that even though they’re getting much older, they can still play as if they were the 20-somethings in the small clubs they once played many years ago. In a world where punk music has been swept under the rug and overthrown by top 40’s music, it’s refreshing to see that these classic bands are still just as relevant as they were 20-30 years ago.
The Summer Nationals Tour is continuing to play the rest of North America until the middle of September. For more information on when The Offspring and co. are coming to your city, check out www.offspring.com.