Good Charlotte - Southampton, O2 Guildhall –27 November 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Phil Cooper and Allan Maxwell   
Saturday, 09 December 2017 04:20

Following a hiatus since 2010s ‘Cardiology’, Good Charlotte returned last year with latest album ‘Youth Authority’. The new record saw the band return to their former selves and rekindle not only their passion for making music but also confirm to their extensive fan base that they are not done yet. Following the success of ‘Youth Authority’ the band have embarked upon a widespread tour and this year’s Download saw a welcome return to UK shores. Bringing together a group of like-minded bands, Good Charlotte then recently set about the UK leg of their tour.


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Kicking things off with a powerful low-end sound are three piece Nothing, Nowhere. The music is based around the song-writing and rapping of Nothing, Nowhere himself aka, Joe Mulherin with the band providing a foundation for his lyrics. For a three piece, they have managed to generate a sound that not only fills the venue but also pulls the crowd in. This is done through a mixture of well-placed trigger loops and samples as well as talented musicianship from the guitarist and drummer coupled with the vocal stylings of the frontman. As the venue continues to fill for the sold-out show there are more people getting pulled into the eclectic and powerful sound of the young band, who in a short space of time have certainly proved themselves.


Next up is the only UK band on the bill, Milk Teeth. Kicking into ‘Nearby Catfight’ from their latest EP ‘Go Away’ the four-piece punk band are looking to build on the momentum from the openers. However, whether or not it’s due to some early technical issues, the fact that on their first three numbers there is a muddy mix meaning that not everything can be heard clearly or the fact that it’s a Monday night.


For some reason there is a largely unresponsive crowd that greets Milk Teeth. There is little in the way of participation either during songs or with the back and forth between numbers. The flat atmosphere does begin to take its toll on them with guitarist/vocalist Billy Hutton quipping that the crowd don’t like them very much. They do valiantly try to gee the crowd up and inject more energy into their performance to compensate for the lacklustre crowd. Certainly, by set closers ‘Prism’ and ‘Fight Skirt’ the crowd has thawed somewhat and there are a number of people getting into it, however this revival is short lived as Milk Teeth have to finish up.


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Perhaps there was a word in the ear of Against The Current before they took to the stage to let them know this was a tricky crowd, because when they came out lead singer Chrissy Costanza bounded onto the front monitors full of energy and defiance as the rest of the band took their positions. Launching into ‘Running with The Wild Things’, Against The Current quickly showed what they’re all about showcasing their brand of slick pop-rock. By the closing chord and final drum beat of the first number, the Southampton crowd were fully engaged with their sound.


Despite them being a relative unknown to the vast majority of this particular crowd, thanks to their catchy lyrics, memorable melodies and sing along chorus’ they established a great rapport with the audience who were enjoying all the tracks being thrown their way. Even with the slower numbers such as ‘Chasing Ghosts’ the energy from the band kept the audience hooked on every note. With their infectious enthusiasm and blend of pop-rock reminiscent of ‘Riot’ – era Paramore it’s easy to see why these guys were selected to get the crowd ready for Good Charlotte.


After a healthy dose of anticipation, Good Charlotte take the stage greeted by raucous applause and cheering, the crowd are ready and raring to go and the set begins with ‘The Anthem’. The sing along starts from the first word and continues unabated throughout the full set. The track listing is heavy on the favourites and Good Charlotte know how to work their audience. Building the performance around their earlier albums and taking just three from last year’s excellent ‘Youth Authority’, with latest single ‘War’ making an appearance.


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There is plenty on offer to appease the hardcore faithful as well as the more casual fan who may only be aware of the likes of ‘Girls & Boys’ and ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’. Both making it into tonight’s set-list, the latter of which provided the closer to the evening and being received with frenzied approval.


The band proved themselves to be excellent musicians across the board and there were certainly no signs of any first night jitters, although there were still some technical gremlins present, notably when Joel Madden’s main microphone cut out, along with an auxiliary microphone. The band still continued to play through and along with Benji Madden providing the chorus lines, the crowd took up the vocal duties until the microphone was restored. Despite the performance being packed in with tracks and the band firing on all cylinders, there was still plenty of room for Good Charlotte to acknowledge the fans.


Both Joel and Benji making frequent references to the turbulent times that they’ve gone through as a band and on a personal level, they stated that they are all about the fans and would not be able to do what they do without the audience. To some this may have come across as a little too much at times, however with their energy and the work that they put in tonight, nobody was complaining and everyone was left wanting more following the final chord.


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Perhaps with the over-whelming positive response from tonight, along with the fact that this show and all but one of the others on the tour sold-out, Good Charlotte may not leave it so long before the next visit or album.


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