Blink-182, Frank Turner, The Front Bottoms, Echo Arena, 15/07/2017

With the pop-punk titans in town once again, it was time for SFN‘s self-professed Blink-182 superfan Pip Johnson to join the fray at Echo Arena. Here’s his review of the night.

It’s been over five years since pop-punk legends Blink-182 last played Liverpool, now they have finally returned for a night of mayhem, backed with a UK #1 album and a new member behind them along with  some killer support. 
First up was New Jersey indie rockers The Front Bottoms who started the night off with a bang, with a 30-45-minute set featuring loud thunderous drums and energetic songs such as “Maps and Skeleton”. The Echo Arena does however seem far too larger of a venue for a band of their size, but that didn’t stop them having a blast playing to the crowd who loved every second of it.

After a short break Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls took the stage (for their 2071st show, as Frank exclaimed after the first song), who we have previously caught at the Guild of Students back in November. Frank had the audience captivated from the second he brought his folk-punk sounds to the stage. His set was full off energy with the entire band moving and dancing on the stage as they played.  

Frank brought a huge stage presence and held the audience in the palm of his hand, opening up circle pits left, right and centre, crowd surfing towards the end of his set and even bringing a member of the audience up on stage to play the harmonica during “Dan’s Song”. (Ironically the member of the audience he brought up was called Dan themselves). Frank’s set lasted around 45 minutes to an hour and it left the whole crowd hot, ready and waiting for the main event of the night, Blink-182.

Blink-182 came onto the stage to the sound of the Stranger Things intro and burst right into “Feeling This” seconds before the flag dropped to reveal them and their infamous flaming “FUCK” sign to their crowd. They powered through their set featuring a mixture of classics and songs from California, sadly no Neighborhoods songs made the set, other fan favourites also were missing, stopping occasionally to interact with the crowd during a guitar change. The most notable of which was a brief cover of the Ramones classic “Blitzkrieg Bop” before jumping right into “First Date”.

Anyone who was expecting dick and fart jokes every other song would’ve been disappointed as the band barley made any jokes and the few that they did weren’t that funny, with Mark making a bad joke about legendary Mancuians Oasis being from Liverpool and his “English accent” which was just him saying Alright in weird voice. 

The Tom Delonge fanboy inside of me wants to rip into Matt Skiba but there isn’t much that I can complain about, while he is not Tom, Matt still had a great stage presence and chemistry with Mark. It is clear that he has now grown to be a lot more comfy playing in Tom’s spot and does a good job. The only things I didn’t like are minor nit-pics involving using a different guitar and his voice not suiting some of the songs.

Despite the lack of jokes which they are known for and odd nit-pic the show was a highly enjoyable experience and made up for the lack of jokes, especially when they decided to swap out “Happy Holidays You B***ards” for “Family Reunion” towards the end of the set. It is truly an experience which you must experience at some point during your life.

Words by Pip Johnson, featured photograph by Robert Noise. Twitter links credited to their owners.

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