Review & photos: Nineties pop punk makes comeback at Not So Silent Night

Empire of the Sun

Photos: Ian Young

OAKLAND—If the first night of Not So Silent Night 2016 is any indication, the ’90s are back. Whether we like it or not.

Performances by Blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World dominated the first night of Live 105’s Not So Silent Night and they more or less overshadowed their 21st century counterparts that shared the stage.

Not to say that the other bands of night one didn’t put on fun, energetic shows. But the juxtaposition of the different  genres—post punk vs. electric versus alt-rock—was jarring and the energy of Jimmy Eat World and Blink-182 was unmatched.

The Strumbellas, Capital Cities, and Glass Animals performed solid, mostly energetic sets but suffered from performing to a half-empty arena. Glass Animals is always a joy to watch, but on a large stage in such a large venue as the Oracle Arena, it was more obvious that the charisma and fun all came from lead singer Dave Bayley and his eccentric dancing. The rest of the band fell flat in comparison.

Jimmy Eat World brought a solid rock show that energized the audience and starkly contrasted with the more mellow and electric-based bands before them. To be fair, they really didn’t take off until their hit song “The Middle” was released in 2001. But their sound is evocative of the alternative rock and pop of that era. They performed a mix of songs from their three-decades-long career, including their latest album Integrity Blues, and radio hits like “Sweetness” and, of course, “The Middle,” as well as an earnestly good cover of “Last Christmas” by Wham! to throw in some holiday spirit.

Blink-182 was one of the defining pop-punk bands of the ’90s, and after their performance Friday night, pop-punk might be making a comeback. Travis Barker (shirtless and still wooing the ladies) and Mark Hoppus returned with new vocalist and guitarist Matt Skiba, who replaced Tom DeLonge. DeLonge’s absence is pretty obvious as his voice is prominent and distinct to many of the band’s songs. But that didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm of their audience as mosh pits formed on the floor and the crowd screamed the words to “All the Small Things.”

Green Day is the headliner of the sold-out night two. If that’s not an indication the ’90s are back, then what is?

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