A band that haven’t toured the UK in seven years could go one of two ways: either they start to drop in popularity or their fans grow more and more rabid awaiting their return. Last night proved Good Charlotte only incited the latter this side of the pond.
Before even entering the venue, it was clear to see the Maryland pop punk grandfathers had not only caught the older generation with their punky styling and pop hooks; many teens wearing shirts of the likes of All Time Low and Neck Deep lined the side of the building as they waited eagerly for the pop punk fest that was to ensue.
During the long wait before Waterparks hit the stage, emo and pop punk classics came one after the other: In Too Deep, Stacy’s Mom, Welcome To The Black Parade and (much to the thrill of the singalong crowd) Teenage Dirtbag. When they did finally come out, a familiar face joined frontman Awsten Knight and drummer Otto Wood which caused a flutter of comments like “I know him” and “is that who I think it is?” as he remained almost the elephant in the room for half the set. For those that were fans previously and knew of the Cluster EP however, it was clear who it was: My Chemical Romance‘s very own Mikey Way, who had played bass on the EP.
Awsten burst through tracks including Mad All The Time, Capes and Pink while doing a huge amount of spinning and jumping about the stage which passed on the youthful energy for the hungry crowd, lapping up the confidence of the band. Mikey added a presence to the stage that seemed to give the whole performance an air of legitimacy with his usual calm, quiet authority that was hard to put a finger on. It was clear to see though that he knows this band inside out and he’s thrilled to be involved with everything they do together.
Waterparks were self-depricating in many of their comments as they reminded everyone the “far superior” headliners were only moments away from entering the room and they announced it would be an incredible show. They were not wrong.
Good Charlotte came bounding onto the stage with a thrashing drumbeat from Dean and open guitar chording from Billy as they broke into The Anthem without even a greeting for the London crowd. Following it up with more songs from 2002 album The Young and the Hopeless in the shape of The Story Of My Old Man, My Bloody Valentine and Girls & Boys, the crowd were beginning to ease into the show and the dynamic nature it was beginning to take on. A botched set-speech, a quick history of the beginnings of the band and an explanation of quite what a “Riot Girl” is led into the track of the same name, which was dedicated to all those female members of the audience coming out to a pop punk show and incited even more of a crowd participation, almost as if the show was building to a climax.
Now time for the set speech, Joel asked twin brother Benji if they can play a new song Life Changes from this year’s Youth Authority album and needless to say the crowd knew every word as with the rest. Blasting through more tracks including Predictable, their favourite track of the new record The Outfield and fan favourite The Motivation Proclamation, Good Charlotte only broke their flow to crack another joke after Makeshift Love, with Joel asking how everyone’s life was going, and Benji following up asking if “life could get much better”, much to the groaning half-disapproval of the audience to their dad-style humour.
They then played trivia with the crowd asking what their first released track was called, and after wading through a few incorrect answers spontaneously broke into Little Things as soon as they heard the name mentioned. This then moved swiftly into The Young and the Hopeless before announcing the next song would be their last, but only after making a mockery of the mini-break bands take before coming on for the inevitable encore. Just another example of Good Charlotte not only breaking the mould but laughing at it. This song turned out to be The River, which built only more reaction and singalong as it progressed into “break-up song” I Don’t Wanna Be In Love (Dance Floor Anthem) and I Just Wanna Live and the band once more halted the climax building there.
“If you’ve seen us before, you know what’s coming,” were the words of Joel to announce the closing track. “If you haven’t seen us before, you’re just about to learn how we close a show,” brother Benji follows up. The hysteria that followed was second to none; this band have an ability to wrap a crowd around their fingers and not let them go until they leave the venue. Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous blaring through the PA combined with the crowd’s madness led to a level of almost pulling the ceiling down, a fitting close to an enormous show.
Since the first teases of #WelcomeBackGC, there has been a distinct excitement for the return of arguably the greatest pop punk band of all time. Good Charlotte broke up for a hiatus in 2010 following the disappointment of studio album Cardiology where even hardcore fans of the band needed them to reconsider. It almost seemed they had totally lost the excitement and energy from the days of The Young & The Hopeless. Youth Authority however is a different story.
Vocally, Joel Madden keeps pretty much the same style as ever. The musical nature of the band may have changed, but the vocals are solidly in pop punk realms. He has a blend of punky attitude and diction, yet a tuneful pop melody behind to complete the blend as ever before.
Another large factor of the vocals in this record is the guests. The band have clearly made some good connections in the last six years as previously the band have only released one track with guest performers in the case of 2007’s The River, featuring M Shadows and Syn Gates of Avenged Sevenfold. The addition in the new record gives extra depth. Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens fame features on Keep Swingin’ which adds that high range and whiny tone to contrast Joel’s more gritty tone and bring out the vibrance in the track. The other is Reason To Stay featuring Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil. The start of track actually sounds like it could have come straight off Biffy’s new album Ellipsis, holding the delicate qualities and working perfectly with Neil’s voice. Frankly, the introduction of Joel and the band is somewhat disappointing; the track would have benefitted from staying as a small alt-rock piece rather than taking the intro and magnifying it to Good Charlotte-size pop punk.
In terms of lyrics, many of the tracks focus on the history of the brothers or the band itself. 40oz. Dream and Life Can’t Get Much Better are clearly of this group, but others including Keep Swingin’ (feat. Kellin Quinn) and Cars Full Of People have a very clear image of how things used to be once upon a time in the twins’ childhood. The whole record lyrically is packed with cliches of new beginnings and pangs of nostalgia but that only adds to the fun and completeness of the record’s writing extent.
The guitars are the highlight of the whole record, with the delicacies of Life Can’t Get Much Better and the intro of Reason To Stay (feat.Simon Neil), yet the massive pop punk drops in Life Changes and Makeshift Love give a huge contrast. The tones they have developed for the record sound like they have developed from the roots of The Young & The Hopeless crossed with Good Morning Revival which gives it real depth, especially in the powerful parts. The octave power chords throughout the distorted sections give a nice dual quality to the sound, and the mixing complements this well.
Overall, a superb return for the pop punk forefathers, and one that will be remembered for a long time as some of the better songs they’ve written to date.
Good Charlotte have added extra dates to their UK visit in August and have released another track from their upcoming album.
The track is the fourth released from Youth Authority which will be released July 15th on their very own MDDN Records, and is titled Life Can’t Get Much Better. The video documents some of the moments they’ve shared with their fans throughout their 2-decade career across the world, as well as displaying the lyrics from the track.
Watch it below:
The added dates to their UK visit later in the year come as a mini-tour around their Reading & Leeds appearances, so see all the UK dates below:
24th August – Glasgow, O2 Academy
25th August – Manchester, O2 Ritz
26th August – Leeds Festival
27th August – Birmingham, O2 Institute
28th August – Reading Festival
2016 has already produced some massive events in the alternative and rock history, with the breakup of Funeral For A Friend, the kicking of a fan from the stage at a The Story So Far show and the return of the godfathers of modern pop punk in Good Charlotte, not to mention the infamous Matt Willis tweet telling the world to go and buy [2016 Creeper EP] The Stranger, saying they’ll go far. Such a massive year has inevitably had some pretty big record releases; the afformentioned The Stranger EP, Panic!’s Death Of A Bachelor and Asking Alexandria’s The Black within the first three months alone, which has set up a pretty huge contest for top record of 2016, and here are a few that have the potential to blow the above out of the water (in no particular order, of course…)
Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
03. Phantom Fear
05. Gone With The Wind
06. The Empty Hourglass
07. A Match Made In Heaven
09. All Love is Lost
10. From The Wilderness
11. Memento Mori
This release got announced on Daniel P Carter’s Rock Show on 6th March this year, much to the surprise of the fanbase. The record has been recorded in the same as [2014 release] Lost Together // Lost Forever in Studio Fredman in Gothenburg, Sweden in more or less complete secrecy and no hint at all to any of the fanbase.
The previous release in the Brighton 5-piece’s catalogue was a definite step above the rest and really allowed the band to break through into the very top level of British metalcore bands, rivalled by very few others and the first 2 tracks from this 7th installment only accentuate their dominance of the field. A Match Made In Heaven was the first song released, premiered on BBC Radio 1 along with the interview where frontman Sam Carter unveiled the newly completed work. Second single Gone With The Windfollowed on April 11th and marks the first sound of clean vocals in the AOGHAU era of the band, to much excitement from the fans.
This is a band that remains incredibly heavy while having hugely catchy choruses that won’t ever leave your head and this record is shaping up to top the scene once and for all.
All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us will be released in the UK on May 27th
Issues – Headspace
01. The Realest
02. Home Soon
03. Lost-n-Found (On a Roll)
04. Yung & Dum
05. Made to Last
09. Rank Rider
10. Blue Wall
11. Someone Who Does
12. I Always Knew
13. Slow Me Down
Fusion-core rockers Issues have given many interviews recently about how they’re doing a huge reinvention to break down even more genre boundaries than the  first album and the 2 EPs [2012, 2014], wholeheartedly renouncing their metalcore genre assignment of previous incarnation Woe, Is Me.
This one has had huge trouble in the making; Tyler Carter has spoken out on a few occasions about how this recording and writing process has very nearly ripped the band into 5 pieces, but after the departure of Ty “Scout” Acord they announced a barrier-breaking, death-defying new record called Headspace via Carter’s Facebook page.
The first 2 tracks are a clear tone-setter for the record, with first single The Realest proves their distinct musical styles with Sky’s funk basslines, Tyler’s hip hop/pop and Michael’s core (and for the first time, unclean singing!) vocals, and the heavy guitars and drums from AJ and Josh respectively, but it mixes together to form a (ignoring their past catalogue) surprisingly fantastic track which is only enhanced by second single Comawhich, again, is a winner.
Headspace will be released on May 20th in the UK
Real Friends – The Home Inside My Head
01. Stay In One Place
02. Empty Picture Frames
03. Keep Lying To Me
04. Scared To Be Alone
07. Isolating Everything
08. Well, I’m Sorry
09. Basement Stairs
10. Door Without A Key
12. Colder Quicker
Real Friends are back and they’re back with something to prove, if the first couple of songs are anything to go by. The Illinois pop-punks are a staple grain in the pop punk diet, having released 6 EPs and 1 full length and supported bands as big as All Time Low on massive tours, and they only seem to be getting better.
The vulgar yet tuneful tracks of the band give them a rough-edged sound that so many have had polished away by producers and labels, and that definitely makes them stand out. The emotional sound of their first song Colder Quicker, however, is not a usual sound for them, as they have a deep look back to past events and placing it at the closing of the record seems to indicate a definitive ending to a powerful record.
The Home Inside My Head will be released May 27th in the UK
Of Mice & Men – Live At Brixton & [As Yet Untitled]
01. Public Service Announcement
02. Glass Hearts
03. Broken Generation
04. O.G. Loko
05. Let Live
06. You Make Me Sick
07. This One’s For You
08. Feels Like Forever
09. Bones Exposed
10. Would You Still Be There
11. Another You
12. Identity Disorder
13. Second & Sebring
14. The Depths
15. You’re Not Alone
These Orange County metalcore masters have been plagued with [vocalist] Austin Carlile’s multiple hospitalisations due to Marfan’s Syndrome, but that hasn’t stopped them releasing Live At Brixton. As the name suggests, the album was recorded on March 28th 2015 as they played their biggest headline show to date at O2 Academy Brixton in London which is to this day regarded by many of the members of the crowd as the best they have ever attended.
The release is coming out with a range of bundle options, all of which including a huge cinema-style poster commemorating the night. It comes as a CD/DVD pack or a 2x LP DVD pack (limited to 300 for the OM&M direct variant) and will be released via the band’s usual label Rise Records.
In addition to this, the band are currently tracking an as-yet-untitled 4th studio album as a follow-up to [2015 deluxe re-release]Restoring Force: Full Circle.
Live At Brixton will be released May 27th in the UK and the next full length is expected to be finished in May with a subsequent release
Good Charlotte – Youth Authority
02. Makeshift Love
03. 40 oz. Dream
04. Life Can’t Get Much Better
05. Keep Swingin’ (feat. Kellin Quinn)
06. Reason to Stay (feat. Simon Neil)
07. Stray Dogs
08. Stick to Your Guns (Interlude)
09. The Outfield
10. Cars Full of People
12. Moving On
13. Rise (Bonus Track)
At long last, Good Charlotte are back and if the first 2 singles and the multiple shows are anything to go by, the last 6 years on a break has made them better than ever before.
After a charting first single post-hiatus (Makeshift Love), a gargantuan tour with All Time Low and a huge period of teasing the finished product, the band announced this fantastic artwork on March 30th, along with second single 40 oz. Dream (to commemorate 20 years of GC) which involves a rundown of how music has changed even in the relatively short period of the twins’ lives.
Not only does the album boast the return of a huge band but it also plays host to guest appearances to Sleeping with Sirens’ Kellin Quinn and Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil, neither of whom would be first thoughts for most to guest on a GC song but this has the potential to be a fantastic addition.
The band have not yet announced UK touring plans though have been announced as performing at Reading & Leeds this year (if you didn’t know about that, you probably need to click here!).
Youth Authority will be released July 16th in the UK
This second full-length from the Canterbury emo rockers marks their move up in size and stature from No Sleep Records to Hopeless, and with it comes a particularly aesthetically pleasing record. Vinyl variants are designed especially to work with the plain colour scheme of the sleeve and the single word track names are there to give it a simplistic and minimalistic finish.
First track from the record Honey was debuted on Radio 1 this Sunday along with multiple other releases, but this got most of the attention from the listeners (despite names like Gerard Way being among the other exclusives) so this band have made it a long long way in the past year. They are playing Slam Dunk at the end of May on Main Stage, which again is a huge step up from the smaller stages they played in the past and can only mark bigger things to come.
Blush will be released on August 5th in the UK
Pierce The Veil – Misadventures
01. Dive In
02. Texas Is Forever
03. The Divine Zero
04. Floral & Fading
05. Phantom Power And Ludicrous Speed
07. Today I Saw The Whole World
08. Gold Medal Ribbon
11. Song For Isabelle
Deluxe Edition from Firebrand Stores
12. Today I Saw The Whole World (acoustic)
13. Floral & Fading (acoustic)
Last but by no means least is the long, long awaited return of PTV, an album many joked would never happen. Misadventures was teased for a long time in interviews by the band and the depression lead singer Vic Fuentes developed during the highly pressured writing process is well-documented, but it seems to have paid off. The announcement was followed up more recently with news of a Mexican release-day show and subsequent US tour whereby the band would play the new album in its entirety (presumably along with a few other tracks to finish) but sadly, nothing has been confirmed for GB as of yet.
First single The Divine Zero hit the internet music world as a complete shock back in summer 2015 as the band embarked on the lengthy Vans Warped Tour around the US and has since been played at Reading & Leeds festival, and on the remaining few dates of their tour. Second single Texas Is Forever was released alongside the album announcement, much to the acclaim of the fans.
Misadventures will be released on May 13th in the UK
Reading & Leeds Festival organisers have today made a huge announcement of yet more bands, along with the crucial stage splits that can make or break a day’s experience.
The biggest names on the bill come in the form of bands like Good Charlotte, Tonight Alive and the return of Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon, this time with the backing of The Crowes.
While this morning hasn’t been without its issues (Reading website being completely factually incorrect before the fix was put in place), the lineup has been met with pretty great acclaim and the splits have been universally declared a good fit; acoustic rocker Frank Turner opening up Main Stage on the Friday at Reading, followed by pit-inducing Frank Carter, both of whom are bound to make a stunning opening to the weekend.
Despite early worries by many that the bill would be lacking depth and quality this year, even the smaller bands on smaller stages are great; the inclusion of Area 52 on the Festival Republic stage follows up from their BBC Introducing… stage appearance at the 2015 festival. Building on this is the huge return of Nothing But Thieves, last year opening during the Babymetal set to a half-empty NME tent, this year being half way up the Main Stage bill which really shows what a festival appearance and a Muse world arena tour can do for a small band.
Elsewhere in the festival, Tonight Alive (previously a band destined for the Pit) have been placed midway down the NME lineup after their huge reinvention as they shift into the Limitless era, and concept-album rockers Coheed & Cambria (somewhat surprisingly) making it to Main Stage.
The full list of new artists to hit the lineup:
Coheed and Cambria
The Temper Trap
Brian Fallon And The Crowes
Clean Cut Kid
Pulled Apart By Horses
The Magic Gang
Lewis Del Mar
The Vryll Society
Giraffe Tongue Orchestra
Heck (Baby Godzilla)
Danny L Harle
Fred V & Grafix
The Japanese House