Remember when pop-punk was huge? About ten years ago you couldn’t move for Blink 182, Sum 41 and Offspring fans in their brightly coloured hoodies and crazy hair (as long as it abided by school rules, of course). However, we must remember that music is constantly evolving, and a decade later there simply isn’t a buzz around these fart-joke-loving pogo merchants.
That said, one of the biggest of the pop-punk bunch are playing one of the biggest venues in the UK. Although, they were supposed to be. Unfortunately, Blink 182 cancelled their appearance at London’s O2 arena so it is up to LA’s Orange to pick up the pieces at the O2 Academy Islington.
Don’t fool yourself, though. The 10,000 fans with Blink tickets have not descended on Islington this evening. In fact barely 50 members of the pop-punk contingent made it out tonight. But just with so many things in life, it’s not the size that counts…
Tonight’s crowd are as sprightly as it’s possible for a 14-year-old to be on a Thursday night. Jumping, shouting and arm flailing are must-have moves in your arsenal for an Orange gig, and certain areas of the audience possess huge stockpiles of these party weapons. The four men on stage are also packing heat for an evening of elation, but unfortunately they don’t back it up with musical prowess.
Staying at the poppier end of pop-punk, the Californian quartet are on a headline UK tour after previous success supporting the likes of Zebrahead and Bowling For Soup. Frontman Joe Dexter riles the crowd with his best Billy Joe impression and a bucketload of “whoas”, “yeahs” and “heys”, but it’s a situation of style over substance. The PG-rated performance ticks all the boxes in the foundation exam for How To Excite Already Excitable Teenagers, but it doesn’t go any deeper than the paper-thin surface hiding the mediocrity.
Dexter is the face of the band and the girls love him for it, leaning over and peering into their eyes making them weak at the knees during ‘Resist’ and ‘Hold on to Your Heart’. But the ‘Orange salute’ – also known as the OK hand gesture – is another example of shoehorning in more gimmicks to try and make themselves more appealing, and hiding the overarching dullness. Something the crowd aren’t wise to, but it’s only a matter of time before this new strand of pop-punk fizzles out before they get a glimpse of the O2 arena.