blink-182 delivers familiar hijinks

By Jonathan Perry
Globe Correspondent / August 7, 2009

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MANSFIELD - Few bands fuel as much animus or adoration as last night’s main attractions: punk-pop jokesters blink-182, headlining a (so far) hugely successful reunion tour, and emo-lite poster boys Fall Out Boy, whose attention-glomming bass player-in-guyliner, Pete Wentz, mugged for the masses while his band kicked up a mostly monochromatic arena blare. Although there really is no middle ground with these acts - you either love ’em or hate ’em in spades - both bands were playing with a loaded deck in their favor last night, with not a lot of haters amid the rabid sold-out all-ages crowd of mostly teens and tweens.

It’s a big summer for blink-182, playing together again after a four-year layoff (an eternity both in pop and for the average-age blink fan, who is now, what, 16 or 17?). But during a 90-minute show front- and back-loaded with the California band’s familiar adolescent hijinks (singer-guitarist Tom DeLonge belching into the microphone, the requisite penis jokes) and onstage rapport (singer-bassist Mark Hoppus calling DeLonge a “pottymouth’’ and “Mr. Garbage Talk’’), it’s as if the band had never gone away.

Somewhere in there, there was some surprisingly tight, catchy music too, like the chop-shop punk-pop of “The Rock Show’’ and the diabolically effective soft-to-loud/verse-to-chorus template that drove “Down.’’ The suicide note entry, “Adam’s Song,’’ proved an affecting moment amid all the spiky riffs and revved-up din. And if the tune veered into maudlin melodrama, it only made the song more closely reflect the ways teenagers tend to see the world and their circumstances.

The last time Fall Out Boy played these parts, it was a secret show at Harpers Ferry, a jam-band-friendly rock club in Allston. With multiplatinum sales and songs about detox and celebrity obsession, bassist Pete Wentz and Co. are accustomed to venues as outsized as their showmanship.

Fall Out Boy’s best songs last night - the “Spirit in the Sky’’ rattlesnake riff of “I Don’t Care,’’ for instance - are built for, and benefit from, arenas. The worst of them - like the turgid “America’s Suitehearts,’’ with a clunky chorus designed to pummel you into submission - got swallowed up in the vast murk of those places.

With exclamation point firmly back in place following the departure of guitarist Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker, Panic! At the Disco made the most of its 45 minutes in the spotlight, delivering a wiry set that was nearly as natty as they the band members were, all kinetic guitar snarl cut with upbeat party pop. A party at the disco, if you will. The Harvard-bred Chester French kicked off the night - in broad daylight. The 6:30 p.m. time slot didn’t help the band’s lightweight guitar-synth pop connect.


With Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, Chester French

At: Comcast Center, last night

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