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My first experience with The Offspring was seeing the music video for "Original Prankster" on MTV. I begged and pleaded with my mom and dad to buy me that album on that song alone. Young Matt didn’t understand how release dates work, and we came to find out Conspiracy of One, hadn’t come out yet. My dad bought me Americana instead as it was the newest album at the time, and I was instantly hooked as a The Offspring fan. Jump to 20+ years later, and I am finally getting the chance to see The Offspring for the first time at the FivePoint Amphitheatre on their Let the Bad Times Roll Tour and bringing with them Simple Plan and Sum 41. I was ready to rock out with bands that teenage Matt never got to see live, and everyone in the FivePoint had to feel the same way, as we sold out the venue!

Opening the night was Sum 41, and they were ready to start the show their set off with “Motivation,” singer Deryck Whibley forgoed his guitar this night, to be able to have more freedom running around the stage. This opened a whole new style of performance as a lead singer for him, as it allowed him to engage with the audience even more. Lead guitarist Dave Baksh’s fingers were on fire as he ripped through the solos in Sum’s songs. Bassist Jason McCaslin runs those bass lines with precision and no fucks given attitude. Drummer Frank Zummo is probably the second most animated person on stage, even being stuck behind the kit. Making faces, and blasting on the kit, he makes sure he doesn’t get lost in the mix. Playing an all killer, no filler, set consisting of songs like “The Hell Song,” “Over My Head (Better Off Dead),” “We’re All to Blame,” “Walking Disaster,” “In Too Deep,” “Fat Lip” and ending with “Still Waiting.” Sum 41 has sadly announced that they will be disbanding the band after their next worldwide headlining tour. So, we better all turn up for them when they come to say their final goodbye.

Up next was Simple Plan who I have only seen once prior to this night, and that was at Warped Tour ’18. So, I never feel I truly got to experience what a real Simple Plan show was like, and holy crap did they blow me away. Starting off with the classic “I’d Do Anything,” Simple Plan was here to make sure everyone was just having a good time. Singer Pierre Bouvier was exuding golden retriever energy, as he just ran across the stage with the most infectious smile. Guitarist Sébastien Lefebvre and Jeff Stinco trade off licks with ease and style. Drummer Chuck Comeau looks like he’s always trying to catch his breath playing these songs, but never misses a beat or moment in the songs. Simple Plan went the extra mile to create crowd participation as they launch beach balls into the audience that bounced around throughout the latter half of their set. Chuck Comeau even wanted to high five every fan in the pit, and proceeded to crowd surf across the entire pit, slapping fives to everyone that could get to him. They even played a cover of “What’s New Scooby Doo,” that included someone dressed in a Scooby-Doo outfit shooting t-shirts into the crowd. It was a party all set long with songs like “Shut Up!,” “Jump,” “Addicted,” “Welcome to My Life,” “Iconic,” “Where I Belong,” ‘I’m Just a Kid,” and ending with “Perfect.” I’m so glad I finally got to experience a full Simple Plan show, as they built an even bigger fan out of me.

Finally, it was time for the hometown heroes to hit the stage and bring their California sound to the Californians. Starting their set off with “Come Out and Play” which was the song that really helped to launch their career. As the unique drum beat started up and the Arabian guitar riff rang out, the crowd erupted with excitement. The Offspring has been performing for nearly 30 years, and they still sound amazing. Vocalist Dexter Holland still sounds like he did all those years ago, which helps all of use punk kids get transported back to our high school days. Lead guitarist Noodles proves his fingers can still noodle around the guitar to create some of the most iconic punk licks of the late 90s and 2000s. Bassist Todd Morse and drummer Brandon Pertzborn held down the low end and created the rhythm’s that let the moshers go crazy. Something I really loved about The Offspring’s set is that they would have chat breaks with the audience. It felt like we were all just hanging out with these guys in a bar shooting the shit. It let you connect even more with the band and even though they can be thought of as larger than life people, it really made them personable. The Offspring played a set that spanned their career featuring songs like “All I Want,” “Want You Bad,” “Let the Bad Times Roll,” “Original Prankster,” “Staring at the Sun,” “Hit That,” “Hammerhead,” “Gotta Get Away,” “Gone Away,” “Why Don’t You Get a Job,” “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy),” “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” and ending with a two song encore featuring “You’re Gonna Go Far Kid” and “Self Esteem.”

There’s something music does to our brains that just helps release endorphins and bring the mind into a euphoric state. I have been listening to all these bands for song long but have rarely seen them all live. This was a lineup that teenage Matt would have broken open the piggy bank to see, and adult Matt did not let that thought escape him. Hearing these songs live really did transport me back to my teenage years, sitting in my room with a pair of headphones and a CD player whose anti-skip technology never worked. It’s experiences like this why I love live music and find it such a comforting experience that I hope never goes away again. 


Matt Martinez

Editor - Orange County

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