1999.03.30 - KAOS2000
Date: 30th March 1999
Author: Philip Anderson
Archived from: Website Closed
Thunder From Down Under Comes Asunder Dept.
The Living End with Offspring
March 30, 1999, San Jose Events Center
The darkness prevailed as the crowd stilled, not sure how to take the next band coming up. Newcomers to the US, the Living End rushed the stage like angry soccer fans at a losing game in Italy and instantly began pummeling the crowd with "Monday", from the latest CD, a song detailing the rampant and remorseless killing of schoolchildren in Dunsmuir, Scotland by a deranged social worker. From that point forward it was clear that this is a band who are destined for bigger things on the live performance scene. The threesome that make up The Living End played as seasoned pros pounding out beat-heavy rhythms while maintaining a simplistic bluesy groove set to their rock-a-billy background.
To this reviewer, guitarist Chris was reminiscent of a punk-looking Chandler (from the TV series "Friends"), with his facial expressions and his hair gelled up.
Around the middle of the set, the stage was lit up in a blood red glow as the band broke into the swamp boogie feel of "Bloody Mary", another happy social inspired song about a real girl who used to slit her wrists for attention in public places. This song is far too infectious of a sing-along to be forgotten anytime soon. Though some of the lyrics subjects may be a little on the intense side, you wouldn't get it from the ever-cool musical feel that the band generated. No matter what was being sung about, one couldn't help but get a groove and bop along.
There was a nice rendition of an old song called, "Tainted Love", last covered in the early 80s by Soft Cell. This particular version heralded back to its roots and then some with the added rockabilly riffs thrown in between the verses.
Right at the beginning of their biggest hit "Prisoner Of Society", trouble hit when Scott's bass refused to obey and needed prompt attention. Rather than be bigheaded babies, the rest of the band very succinctly broke into an impromptu semi-jam that continued the song in a more bluesy/rockabilly direction. This is a band who know how to take music serious and live performance lightly. Drummer Trav Demsey broke into a quick comment about how "this is the part where the band has a technical difficulty and something breaks and then everyone hates us." The crowd cheered them on anyhow. Trav then pushed the audience to say what they feel and to "feel free to boo us." When they crowd was reluctant in their boos, Trav yelled, "I said BOO, not MOO, you cows!" When the bass was finally repaired and then again replaced, the song was begun again with vim and vigor. And what a song it is. It certainly kept the heads bobbing. The Living End then finished with their second hit, "Second Solution." This is one wildly live band who have the fresh-faced enthusiasm so dearly missed in today's concerts.
Offspring had returned to the Bay Area to play once again since their Live105 Radio Christmas show, in Dec. 1998, with other bands including Hole. Dexter had had a nasty bout of laryngitis and was in true form to make it up on this night.
Dexter asked guitarist Noodles, and then the crowd, if everyone was having a good time on this evening. Agreed, it was a great night. When asked by Dexter if he was having a better night this time, Noodles agreed wholeheartedly. The reason being - "No Courtney Love around". Well, this seems to be a common comment by many musicians after spending a night with Courtney.
During Offspring's' "Intermission" break, a gathering of characters took the stage including a buff man in a red miniskirt and black mesh body suit carrying a lit-up "Intermission" sign, a rather hefty-built man in a G-string thong, and a guy in a bald head Tor mask with ski cap on. All this occurred during a flood of bubbles and confetti. Shades of Lawrence Welk? You couldn't ask the mostly under-18 crowd.
Aside from the string of hits the band performed live, along with a rousing "Walla Walla", the height of Offspring's' show had to be the Mideastern-laced song with the softer mood lights. The set ended with an aptly titled "Get A Job" replete with bubble machine once more, steel drums, and some nice Caribbean rhythms.