Blink-182’s new material belies maturity

Bassist Mark Hoppus performed with Blink-182 in Mansfield. The band played some of its new songs. Bassist Mark Hoppus performed with Blink-182 in Mansfield. The band played some of its new songs. (Robert E. Klein for The Boston Globe)
By Scott McLennan
Globe Correspondent / August 10, 2011

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MANSFIELD - Early in his group’s concert yesterday at the Comcast Center, Blink-182 bassist Mark Hoppus confronted the awkward question hanging over any punk-rock band getting on in years.

“I’m almost 40 and still up here acting like a jackass,’’ he said by way of introducing “What’s My Age Again.’’

Long live the jesters.

Hoppus and guitarist Tom DeLonge have rekindled a chemistry that allows these once-splintered song partners to do what they do best: slap a layer of puerile, slacker nonchalance over tightly played and solidly written songs about holding it together. And in Travis Barker, Blink-182 has the best drummer to ever anchor his career in punk rock; he could just as easily be keeping time for a funk, jazz, or metal band.

Blink-182 teamed this summer with My Chemical Romance for the 10th edition of the Honda Civic Tour. Manchester Orchestra also played the Mansfield date.

Blink-182 ruled the pop-punk scene from the late ’90s until acrimoniously melting down in 2004. The band reunited in 2009 following Barker’s recovery from injuries from a plane crash. Now the band has plans to release an album, “Neighborhoods,’’ next month and aired some of the new songs last night.

Blink-182 wasted no time testing the new stuff, playing “Up All Night’’ as the second song in its set. While boasting a richer groove than the songs from its breakthrough “Enema of the State’’ or “Dude Ranch’’ records, “Up All Night’’ still felt like a Blink tune as Hoppus and DeLonge delivered lines about the anxieties that bind us together. The song may be more mature in its thinking, but musically keeps to the model Blink-182 originally built,

While Green Day turned to rock operas and Rancid simply turned weird, Blink-182 has figured how to settle its punk rock into a laser-enhanced, arena rock setting; as the band howls in “Dammit,’’ this is growing up.

But at least Blink-182 is growing up fairly uncompromised. “I Miss You,’’ “Dumpweed,’’ and “All the Small Things’’ remain clarion calls to fresh waves of new, young audience members who find something heartfelt and sincere in the music.

Scott McLennan can be reached at


My Chemical Romance, Manchester Orchestra

Last night: Comcast Center