London WC2 Astoria

Give two gibbons three chords, and you get [a]Blink 182[/a]: totally artless, but bards of their time, nonetheless...

Aaaroooga! Bassist Mark Hoppus‘ penis – leathery from years of self-abuse – bends to the left. Guitarist Tom DeLonge‘s – the punier of the two cocktail sausages – bends to the right. Or so Tom tells us, during one of his spots of inter-song stand-up that have helped to elevate (if that’s the word) San Diego’s Blink 182 from 1-D pop punkers to successful world-class irritants. He claims carnal knowledge of Mark‘s mom. He suggests the UK get together with the US and bomb the rest of Europe. The Astoria seems keen. He is full of shit. It doesn’t matter.

Forget Blink 182‘s tunes – without the playground talk of boobies, blow-jobs and anal probes, the naked videos, the sub-sub-sub-Beasties controversy, Blink 182 would be just another anodyne corporate punk band, dead in the water in these brutalist dirge metal times.

Tom and Mark and drummer Travis Barker know this, of course. Their R-rated [I]Dumb & Dumber[/I] routine is pure calculated spin, they are un-fly white guys acting the fools for fun and profit. Songs like current single ‘All The Small Things’ – which refer not to the chaps’ tackle but to little acts of kindness between lovers – are proof that inside every dickhead, there’s just a wuss who craves female approval. Indeed, when one girl leaps onstage to kiss him, Tom‘s reaction is to duck in total panic. What would his girlfriend think?

The truth is, there is nothing much to be truly appalled by in Blink‘s [I]South Park[/I]ed rock against responsibility. There’s just plenty to mosh to on command – punk rock having replaced the military as the place where young men bond through physical exertion, shouting and jokes about sodomy.

‘Aliens Exist’ is a typically simple exercise in mass aerobics that sees Tom – a 98lb weakling with a Jim Carrey complex – mincing theatrically around the stage. ‘What’s My Age Again’ is a scene of brilliant devastation, the euphoric chug of melodic popcore bypassing all the protests of logic on its way to several thousand pleasure centres. Resistance is useless.

Give a chimpanzee a typewriter and with time, you’ll get the art of Shakespeare. Give two gibbons three chords, and you get Blink 182: totally artless, but bards of their time, nonetheless.

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