Remember your Blink-182 obsession in the ’90s and early Naughties? We remember ours, that’s why we were so excited to see our favorite pop-punk band take to the stage on Conan last night to perform “After Midnight” from their new LP Neighborhoods. “After Midnight” took us for a trip down memory lane, with the sentiment of “Going Away To College” and the dynamic, roof shaking sounds of “Feeling This.” While it doesn’t have the attitude of the kind of stuff Blink-182 gave us in Dude Ranch and Enema Of The State, “After Midnight” is what we’ve come to expect from a more mature, grown up Blink-182, and we love it (plus, there’s nothing we adore more than Travis Barker smashing a drum kit). “After Midnight” is draws on the tortured elements of the Blink-182 persona, retaining hints of teenage romanticism and the absurdist whimsy-realism dichotomy Blink-182 creates with their lyrics and layered beats. After all, how long can grown men sing about alien invasions and doing untoward things to dogs and pirates?
At the risk of sounding like a codger, the experience of going to see a concert live and in the flesh has diminished over the last few years, a time during which smart phones and digital cameras have become ubiquitous. Sure, audiences have always been easy to distract mid-concert—be that for beer, conversation, what-have-you—but over the last five years or so, the live concert experience has suffered because many members of the audience are too busy either taking crappy digital pictures or tweeting about the show instead of enjoying the vibes, mannnn.
I bring this up because at last night’s Dawes/Blitzen Trapper show at New York City’s Webster Hall, there were a surprising few number of people who experienced the show through a 4-inch handheld screen because they were, *gasp*, actually present in the moment! This kind of warm attentiveness is something that bands tend to react really positively to, and four gents of Dawes were no exception: Their rollicking, 90-minute(ish) set of “classic indie” songs went over like gangbusters with the demographically diverse audience last night, one that was a pleasant mix of hipsters in tight fitting plaid shirts, recently-graduated-yet-quickly-aging frat stars, bearded bros looking to kill time before next year’s Bonnaroo, and Lefsetz-reading Boomers.