APRIL 10th 2017

Review by Lana Muirhead
Photos by Peter Ruttan


First things first: I missed Movements and Palaye Royale.  Given that, there will be no words here for them.  Sorry guys, but on a happier note, apparently they’re all “really nice guys”.

I made it in for the last four songs of Silverstein’s set at the Commodore.  I caught them playing at the Imperial last March and was lukewarm about them then.  This night, however, they seemed to turn up the metal and tone down the pop-y alternative sound I associated them to.  I was rocked harder than expected, with a flurry more raunchiness and raw hardcore sound.  I enjoyed what I saw from Shane Told (vocals), Paul Marc Rousseau (lead guitar), Josh Bradford (rhythm guitar), Billy Hamilton (bass, backing vocals), and Paul Koehler (drums, percussion), though I have not followed the 17 years they’ve been together in one form or another.  They have crafted themselves after their obvious influences (Green Day, Orchid, NOFX, Descendents, etc.) and their energy permeates the room with little effort.  They brought it tonight and I warmed up to them in a way I really couldn’t based on the last performance.

As for being at a show where the headliner is Good Charlotte, I definitely felt the proverbial goth at a pep rally.  I was seriously surprised at the number of people and the age range present.  From the 19 year olds through to the Golden 60s, everyone seemed to have a place in their musical mindset for Good Charlotte.

Though I technically grew up in these guys’ era (they formed back in 1996), I never really got into them.  I couldn’t help but know some of their radio hits from the pre-satellite radio/i-what-have-yous, but was only ever a fair-weather listener. When Joel Madden (vocals), Benji Madden (guitar, backing vocals), Billy Martin (guitar), Paul Thomas (bass), and Dean Butterworth (drums) took to the stage, I remembered why.  This band was literally the birth of radio pop-punk.  Having said that, GC has had commercial success and still seems to be cultivating new fans from strange corners.

Launching directly into their set, Good Charlotte opened with “The Anthem”, continued with “Girls & Boys”, “Life Changes”, “Hold On”, “Makeshift Love”, “Little Things”, newbie and emotionally charged “The Outfield”, “The River” (the studio version of which has M. Shadows and Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold assisting on vocals and guitar, respectively), “I Don’t Wanna Be In Love”, and closer “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”, to name a few.  As detached as I felt from the whole scene, young and old alike were fist-pumping and singing along to every song. The guys on stage were very humble and appreciative of the support they saw in Vancouver; and played puppet master with the pliable peons in the crowd.  If Joel called for claps, the crowd gave them thunder.  But while the lyrics and band members have grown up, the gimmicks have not.  Still playing the shy, loser, high school outcasts of yore, afraid of girls and popular kids, the brothers Madden had me thinking I was back in the saddest parts of high school: instead of being a confident, wannabe-drunk adult trying to recapture some youthful nostalgia.

I cannot admit defeat on this one and say Good Charlotte sold me their brand of got-back-at-the-bullies Kool-Aid, but I can say that despite their success, they’ve kept their core values and integrity, and continue to craft their lyrics accordingly. They remain the poster children for the rags to riches fairytale. Even if I cannot label myself with a “fan” patch on the faded denim cutoff, I have nothing but respect for these guys.  Once you dig a little into the background that drove the bus to their place on the stage, it’s essentially impossible not to admire the power of their fuel.