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Good Charlotte @ The TLA with Waterparks.

April 25, 2016

DSC09604Text and images by McCall Cox.

Good Charlotte performed at the Theater of Living Arts last week with support from Waterparks.

Waterparks opened the night with a fresh pop-punk sound. The Houston trio consists of Awsten Knight on vocals and guitar, Geoff Wigington on guitar and Otto Wood on drums with Michael Swank joined on bass.

Knight engaged the audience throughout the band’s set, joking with the crowd members about songs and their album, Cluster.

“Go buy one, make my dad proud,” Knight said of the album.

Towards the last song of the band’s set, Knight encouraged further crowd participation in the form of crowd surfing.

“Raise your hand if you think you can make it up here by the end of this song,” said Knight, beckoning fans to surf the crowd to the front of the venue.

Waterparks played songs such as “Crave,” “Mad All The Time” and “Pink.”

Good Charlotte was soon greeted by the cheers of the audience as the band walked onto the stage. The punk rock group formed 20 years ago, in 1996, and are just returning from a hiatus that was announced in 2011. The quintet is comprised of Joel Madden on vocals, Benjamin “Benji” Madden on guitar and vocals, Paul Thomas on bass, Billy Martin on guitar and Dean Butterworth on drums.

Good Charlotte opened with their old hit “The Anthem,” followed by “The Story of My Old Man,” taking the crowd back nearly 15 years to their album The Young and The Hopeless.

“They said punk rock is dead. It wasn’t. It was just taking a nap,” said Joel as the band warmed up their set. “This is our first official show back and we knew we had to start at the TLA.”

He later added that Philly has always been a special place for the band.

“We came from nothing,” he said.“We started playing shows up here and you made us feel special.”

The Madden twins bantered back and forth during songs, as well as with the crowd. When they asked what the audience would like to hear, many fans shouted tracks from the band’s first and second albums.

“’Little Things?’ I don’t even remember … do you know the words to that one?” Joel joked to a roaring audience before beginning the song.

“Thank you for singing,” Joel added at the end of a song.“You sing better than we do!”

The band also encouraged the audience to look out for one another and supported the girls attending the show, saying that it’s nice to see women enjoying a genre that used to be historically dominated by males.

“If somebody falls down, you pick them up,” Joel instructed the crowd.“Somebody looks sad, give them a hug.”

“If you were to put a bet on people, nobody would have put a bet on us,” he continued. “And the only reason we ever mattered was because you guys came to our shows and listened to our music, and that’s a fact. Every single band in the world should be fucking saying that at their shows because it’s true. Everybody starts a band but the only reason we matter is because you guys go to the shows, listen to the music and you make it matter.”

“And because I’m amazing,” Benji Madden added jokingly.

Good Charlotte only played two tracks off their new album, Youth Authority, which is slated to be released July 15. Though the band only performed the singles released from the album, “Makeshift Love” and “40 oz Dream,” they seem excited for fans to hear the record.

“I can’t wait for you to hear the rest of it,” said Joel. “[This album] made me want to do music again.”

Benji also took a moment to impart some wisdom on the crowd, telling a story of an audience member who had told him before the show how much Good Charlotte has meant to them.

“Never underestimate the influence you can have on someone,” Benji concluded.

Good Charlotte also passed along support to Waterparks, saying the newcomers are a favorite new band. Benji Madden helped to produce the opening act’s latest EP, Cluster.

“I’m having a really good night because of you guys,” said Joel. “Tonight has been so special, so thank you so much for coming out and making this possible.”

Good Charlotte played other hits including “The River,” “Girls & Boys,” “Dance Floor Anthem,” and “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous.”

Following the show, Good Charlotte drummer Dean Butterworth said he is looking forward to playing with the band again.

“It just feels fresh because it’s been a long time,” he said. “Back then, we never stopped. To walk away from it has been good. Now, we’re all just really inspired and happy to be around each other. It feels new, even playing the old songs.”

Bassist Paul Thomas agreed, saying, “I think when you step away from something for a while and revisit it, it has a whole new light to it. It looks totally different.”

Thomas also spoke about the differences he’s noticed.

“I feel like the energy that was at the show tonight,” he said. “It’s bigger than it ever was. These kids have been listening to us for ten years and these songs are so embedded in them.”

Thomas also noted the difference in touring now.

“Before, we never established our own lives,” he said. “We were just constantly touring. And now we have things to leave. We have families and houses. It’s hard. I don’t think we’re stopping for a while now.”

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