Live Review: Blink 182 w/ Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls + the Front Bottoms - Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham 04/07/2017

On July 3rd, Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena became host to pop punk legends Blink 182 w/ special guests Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls and The Front Bottoms

 As far as nostalgia goes, we all know Blink are your guys. However, with lead guitarist and vocalist Tom Delonge stepping down, and Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba now taking centre stage, it was difficult to predict how the show would go on.

New Jersey quartet the Front Bottoms took the opening spot of the evening, filling the stage with a sofa, on top of carpets and dimmed lamps. This cosy set up perfectly pairs with frontman Brian Sella’s painfully honest lyrics; juxtaposing the upbeat tunes with a melancholic attitude. The indie-rock outfit played a handful of fan favourites, including 'Twin Size Mattress' and 'Au Revoir', sending the die-hards into a full blown sing along. Sella’s spoken word style of performing is incredibly infectious, full of angst as well as self-deprecation. Their almost uncomfortable stage presence and imperfect style of play makes this band so incredibly unique and appealing.

Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls turn the energy up from the off, with opener 'Get Better' delivering their familiar folk style with an extra oomph. The crowd are oozing positivity this evening; it isn’t hard to see why, when Turner spouts optimism throughout his set. Despite some of the singles taking a darker path, Turner manages to make them sound incredibly positive, which is what puts this band's live performance above the rest. Turner’s melodic vocals pair perfectly with the band’s folk influence, creating incessantly upbeat tunes for the widest of audiences to enjoy. He seems to tell the greatest of stories with only his guitar, again highlighting why this band’s live performance is definitely not one to miss. The Sleeping Souls are a refreshing change in this scene, which is highlighted by the excitement and happiness of the growing crowd.

A UK inspired Blink flag covers the stage, awaiting the band’s entrance. It’s clear the crowd are pumped; chants begin in anticipation of the trio’s long awaited return to the UK. Soon enough, we are greeted with fan favourite 'Feeling This', with the flag dropping to expose the three-piece. The packed out arena goes crazy, with mosh pits opening up around the floor. However, it’s soon clear that this is not the Blink show we have come to love. Their often crude stage presence has completely vanished, with very little crowd interaction throughout the show. However, as the set progresses, we are greeted with some old hits, such as 'Anthem Part Two' and 'Dysentery Gary'.

Skiba does a great job of taking over Delonge’s vocals, which could’ve proved hard due to Delonge’s familiar high pitch. Singles from recent album 'California' are given their praise, but it’s clear that the crowd are here for the hits; the opening riff for 'What’s My Age Again' unsurprisingly sparked madness from the off. The trio manage to throw in a few of their joke singles, such as 'Happy Holidays, You Bastard'. However, they fell slightly flat with the absence of Delonge, which was extremely obvious in this sense. However, the trio still slayed their biggest hits, giving the crowd the ultimate greatest hits setlist. And it wouldn’t be a Blink show without a Travis Barker solo would it?

Vocally and musically, Blink are still very much in the game. However, the absence of Delonge and that all important showmanship and stage presence, is something that was sorely missed.

Live Review by Cait Briggs.