Article and Photos by Nick Gumas
The year 2016 has been somewhat of an anomaly in the world of music. We began the year with the loss of David Bowie, then we lost Maurice White of “Earth, Wind, and Fire,” and not soon after, even Prince left us much sooner than anyone could have expected. In many ways, this has been a year of great loss for the music community. The lows of this year have been hard, but on the other side of the same coin, it has given us back many bands that many of us thought we had lost to retirement. In the past year, we have seen a resurgence of bands in the Punk Rock genre, many of which had been all but forgotten since the 1990s and very early 2000s. In the last 10 months, we have seen a plethora of studio album releases from bands such as Blink-182 (California), Sum 41 (13 Voices), Yellowcard (Self Titled Album), Taking Back Sunday (Tidal Wave), Green Day (Revolution Radio), and most recently to play in the SF Bay Area, Good Charlotte premiered songs from their first album produced after their hiatus, “Youth Authority.”
Good Charlotte played at the Warfield Theatre on Tuesday, October 25 on the second night of their first tour since the band reunited earlier this year. After a very full list of opening bands, the audience was ready to hear how Good Charlotte would be after not touring in years. To absolutely nobody’s surprise, they came out loudly to the same song everyone was expecting them to start with “The Anthem,” but there was one immediate surprise. Instead of their classic Goth look, complete with spiked hair and eye liner, that Good Charlotte has always been known for, I was surprised to see that they came out wearing snapbacks and cutoff vests. The theme of the night seemed to be their newfound maturity and transformation, and that only became more defined as the night went on.
“We started this band about 20 years ago when we were 16 years old… And we like to think that you’ve grown up with us and watched us grow through the process,” were the words lead singer Joel Madden used to describe what he loved most about his journey through life as a professional musician, and in many ways, this is a philosophy that sums up the tone for what we have seen in this genre over the last year.
Music has always had, and will always have the power to change lives. Throughout the show, Madden made a point of letting the audience know just how important music has been in his life, telling stories about how Good Charlotte has helped bring his and his band member’s families above the poverty line, the excitement and intimacy he felt when audiences see him for the first time, claiming the feeling is “Kinda like our first date,” and even went into how the band helped him through a time in his life when he was certain he was about to commit suicide right before launching into the song “Hold On,” a song he wrote about his experiences with that subject.
Again, no surprises when they ended with the song “Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous,” an upbeat song that always reminds us to never take for granted how much we are given in life, and to always keep a perspective on how much we have.
Despite its decline over the past decade or so, and despite how many people are going to disagree with me, I refuse to believe that Punk Rock is dead, and the recent popularity is proof of this. The recent surge of popularity with Classic Punk Rock is not simply a nostalgic indulgence on the ends of concert goers, it is a reflection of how much value this genre will always have on those who took it most to heart.