Last year the alternative music scene rejoiced as Good Charlotte announced an end to their five-year hiatus. Based from Maryland, Good Charlotte is a few of the remaining bands with 20 plus years of experience, six studio albums, countless awards and nominations and more behind them that are still active. During the hiatus, two of their prominent members, Benji and Joel Madden, released a studio album of their own under the name, the Madden Brothers, and became coaches on Australia’s version of the hit TV series The Voice. However, it’s been six years since one of the early 2000s hit bands have performed in Houston. Texas always seemed to come up short on tours any of the guys have been on during the hiatus but they saved one of the last two dates of the Youth Authority Tour for Houston. The tour featured supporting acts from The Story So Far, Hit The Lights and Big Jesus.
On August 2011, Good Charlotte broke the news of the band’s hiatus in an interview with Rolling Stone and the following month a free mix tape was released titled Before – Volume One. Three years later, Benji and Joel Madden would release their album Greetings from California, which had featured Good Charlotte drummer, Dean Butterworth, as part of the studio recording. The band’s revival was announced November 2015 followed by the single “Makeshift Love” via Alternative Press. The new record Youth Authority was released July 2016.
Tuesday nights are nothing out of the ordinary for the city of Houston. A string of sentences such as, “I’m here for Good Charlotte” or “I’m here for The Story So Far” and “who is that?” were all made prior to the doors and it was due to a unique thing about this particular concert. There was going to be a mix of fans – the “die-hard” Good Charlotte fans, who are most likely now in their 20s or 30s, and the new wave of fans of this generation’s pop-punk. It had everyone wondering what kind of crowd they were going to spend the next three and a half hours of their life with.
The hard alternative rock band from Atlanta, Big Jesus, took the stage first. As the tour was closing in, vocalist and bassist, Spencer Ussery, stated that they had been away from home for over 41 nights. Like many bands, touring with Good Charlotte is a dream and they were finally living it. Their sound is influenced by 90s rock music, metal, psychedelic pop and even hip hop. If it’s hard to imagine that mix all together, you don’t have to! Below is the single “SP” off the album Oneiric.
On band’s official website, guitarist C.J. Ridings promised that their live performances were, “four guys on a stage, playing music as loud and as crushing as possible,” and he surely wasn’t lying. If there was something that the crowd took out of their set was that not only could you hear the music but also feel it.
Next, the crowd grew impatient as they began to chant the next band’s name. Hit The Lights, a band that could almost be considered as pop-punk veterans, is a group that has been putting on shows since 2003 and sporadically released four studio albums throughout their career. The latest being the Just to Get Through to You EP. They joined the tour picking up after Four Year Strong finished their end beginning on November 18th in Charlotte, NC.
A rising band that has been taking a huge liking to fans the last few years is The Story So Far. Much like their tour and fellow label mates in Hit The Lights, they bring in not only a pop-punk sound but with a heavier mix of hardcore riffs. The set opened with the tune of “Brevity” and the band performed a variety of their earlier and latest work with tracks such as, “Roam” from the debut full-length Under Soil and Dirt even ending their set with the track “High Regard”, songs “Bad Luck” and “Glass” from What You Don’t See and “Solo,” “Heavy Gloom” and “Nerve.” Also, classics such as “680 South” did not go unheard. It was at this point of the show that the crowd surfing began and things started to really pick up. After their set some fans actually left the building. Was there even going to be a good crowd for the main headliner?
The answer to that was yes! In fact, it felt as if there were more people in the building. If this show wasn’t sold-out then I don’t know if it was even safe to have that many people inside the venue and let alone on the third floor. As the iconic font of Good Charlotte’s initials GC were revealed on stage, the band didn’t keep their fans waiting too long.
They opened with a signature hit, “The Anthem” and continued with more from the 2002 breakout album, The Young and the Hopeless, with “The Story of My Old Man,” “My Bloody Valentine,” “Girls and Boys” and “Riot Girl.” They showcased two tracks from The Chronicles of Life and Death with “Predictable” and “I Just Wanna Live” and from Good Morning Revival “The River” and “Dance Floor Anthem (I Don’t Wanna Be In Love).” The majority of their set list consisted of the classic Good Charlotte tracks as they were well aware that although they released a new record, some might not be familiar with it just yet and that they would save those tracks for their next tour in 2017. They did sneak in some tracks from Youth Authority with “Makeshift Love” and “The Outfield,” which beautifully transitioned into “The Young and the Hopeless.”
This show was purely dedicated in remembering the good times and singing along to songs that made us forget about unwanted things. They gave the crowd what they wanted – all the songs that they loved and grew up with. Before performing one of the newer singles, “Life Changes,” vocalist, Joel Madden, proclaimed their gratitude towards the fans for sticking with them. This is a band that loves their fans and in return their fans showed that they still love them just as much by showing up after all the literal life changes.
Madden began to reminisce the band’s fore coming and how he used to dislike the next song they were about to play but it was the little things that influenced the song that made who they were today and continued to come to terms that these are things he can’t hate. The band took everyone back 16 years with their first single “Little Things” from their debut self-titled album. The track’s ever so relating lines: “yeah, this song is dedicated to every kid who ever got picked last in gym class / this is for you / to every kid who never had a date to no school dance / this is for you / to everyone who’s ever been called a freak,” was enough to please the fans who were there from day one. If there were new fans in the room, it didn’t sound like they didn’t know the song because this crowd knew every word!
There were many heart felt moments throughout the night. Just before another oldie, “The Motivation Proclamation,” guitarist and vocalist, Benji Madden, shared the beginning of Good Charlotte’s journey. They were a group of guys who came from nothing, left home with as little as $50 bucks between his brother and himself, a guitar and whatever they could fit in their backpacks. They had a dream and wanted it bad. To this day, they continue to express their thanks for each and every kind of support they received for over the last two decades.
The love between Good Charlotte and their fans never died. In the season of Thanksgiving, the band never stopped to remind the fans for their support. They soon introduced a song that hits home to almost every GC fan, “Hold On.” Benji began to encourage and remind their fans that “there’s people out there like us, who are rooting for you, who want you around.”
One can read reviews and see recycled material but each city’s date is unique. Joel started spewing out charismatic charm with sayings how he comes back to Houston, leads a secret life in Texas and that he loves the breakfast in Texas (only because it rhymes and sounds good together).
The night ended with, if anything, their most notable single, “Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous,” and right before the last chorus, they gave the fans one last chance to go crazy – they wanted to see everyone jump and hands in the air. Perhaps time off favored both the band and their fans. The time away not only resurged the band but both parties were able to reflect, remind each other to not take things for granted and that love never dies.
— Gleann Rae Ignacio (@gleannignacio) November 23, 2016
Good Charlotte knew there were fans from their elementary, middle, high school and new fans in the building. They sought to touch every kind of fan and delivered. This tour only proved that they still can still rock in any decade.
Gleann Ignacio is one of the Web Editors for Coog Radio. She is studying towards a major in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Computer Graphics Technology. She's provided coverage for a number of online music publications for years, including running a site of her own. In addition, she co-hosts her own podcast about professional wrestling and pop culture. She enjoys Supernatural, attending concerts, basketball and hanging with her dog. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram (@gleannignacio).