The o2 Academy in Brixton was filled with the smell of damp, beer, and sweat. Throngs of rain-drenched gig goers filled the venue, bristling with excitement, nostalgia, and impatience for Blink 182 to appear. No one wants to wait an extra thirty minutes for the headlining band to take the stage, but all annoyance was forgotten as soon as Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge, and Travis Barker stepped out into the spotlight.
Without much chat to the crowded venue, the trio launched into classic hits Feeling This and What’s My Age Again. No one bat an eyelash at the glaring incongruity of late-30-year-old men mourning the fact that “no one likes you when you’re 23″. In fact, what made Blink 182’s performance so much fun was their complete piss-taking of the whole situation. Touting their own prowess between songs, the on-stage banter made the venue shrink instantly in size. The dynamic between Hoppus, DeLonge, and Barker was one of jovial immaturity. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, each song felt as fresh as they did in the early 2000’s.
Songs like The Rock Show, First Date, and Asthenia sent the crowd into uncontrollable raucous joy and it was nearly impossible to hear it over the audience’s singing. What Blink 182 proved with this gig is how pervasive and popular their music was throughout the 2000’s and that they haven’t lost their energy over the past decade. Each moment on stage seemed to be one of breath-taking fun, which in turn fed the audience’s thrill.
By the time they got to penultimate song All the Small Things, the cries of “I will not go” that echoed back to the stage felt like a lyrical contract between fans and musicians – that they would not abandon Blink 182 in favour of new, younger acts. That for those who grew up with Blink 182 as a soundtrack to their youth, and youth discovering them now (though there were far fewer of that demographic) Blink 182 will always remain relevant.
Undeniably fun from start (Feeling This) to finish (an impressive and surprise drum solo from Hoppus beneath a flaming FUCK sign) Blink 182 came, played, and conquered Brixton with inimitable energy and provided London with one of the most enjoyable gigs of 2014 to date.