Blink-182 at the Tweeter Center


July 9, 2001


Controlled chaos. Organized anarchy. Arena punk.

There are some words that just don't seem to go together, but the platinum-selling pop-punk trio Blink-182 did its best to thwart that during a packed show at the Tweeter Center Saturday night.

Touring in support of its fourth studio album, ''Take Off Your Pants and Jacket,'' which is shaping up to be another unlikely modern-rock radio blockbuster in an era otherwise dominated by vapid nu-metal, Blink is either (choose one):

A.) The luckiest band in the universe, a bunch of punk-rock loser geeks with typical roots in the underground but who were granted the Midas Touch and are now laughing (and telling fart jokes) all the way to the bank, or

B.) Every bit as manufactured and manipulated a product of the Total Request Live/corporate-rock machinery as 'N Sync, Eminem and the Dave Matthews Band.

I can't decide which to choose myself (both might be true), but I really don't care: Either way, I'm buying what Blink is selling.

There is a long and noble tradition in rock 'n' roll of hyperenergetic, ultramelodic, sha-la-la-la stupidity, and Blink has proven itself to be a worthy inheritor of this tradition--not as great as the mighty Ramones just yet, but at least as good as the Troggs or the Archies or Grand Funk Railroad.

As usual on Saturday, guitarist-vocalist Tom DeLonge, bassist-vocalist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker spent as much time during their 90-minute set telling the most juvenile kind of body-part/sex-act jokes as they did playing their exquisitely simple but absolutely unforgettable teen-romance anthems. But otherwise, they had a whole new shtick from their last arena tour, which was commemorated on the live album ''The Mark, Tom & Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back).''

Instead of the dizzying assault of pop-culture images that flashed on the video screens last summer, the cameras just focused on the three musicians playing and goofing around this time out. But the band also invested in a few high-tech gimmicks that may have been purchased from Motley Crue, including a moving drum platform, exploding flash pots and a giant, flaming sign that spelled out a very nasty cuss word.

All of this was supremely silly, of course, but anybody was claims they didn't have a good time probably doesn't like rock 'n' roll, or has forgotten the undeniable joy of a big rude burp unleashed in the middle of a teacher's deadly dull lecture.

Some of that pure punk spirit came through in the opening set by Chicago's Alkaline Trio as well. The group was much stronger live than on the much-hyped but generally disappointing album ''From Here to Infirmary,'' though it's at its best when it's keeping the rhythms rolling and avoiding mid-tempo ballads.

Though Blink's fans seemed to love the middle act, the Florida quintet New Found Glory, the band tried to compensate for a total lack of melodies, humor or drive by jumping up and down a lot, and that just didn't cut it.