On Monday night, NYC's Terminal 5 turned into a sweaty, smelly, no holds barred atmosphere as four of California's most well known punk bands took the stage. For this tour, known as the Punk Rock Summer Nationals 2014 Tour, The Offspring are performing their 1994 hit album, Smash, in its entirety. As openers, Bad Religion, Pennywise, and The Vandals are playing their fans' favorites.
I got into the venue just as The Vandals were ending their set. They were the first band to go on and from the looks of it, they brought out a large following of fans. It was early in the show but the place was filling up and fans were getting excited for Pennywise, who were up next.
I was able to get a great spot on the floor and could sense the excitement around me. When the stagehands lifted up a banner commemorating 25 years of Pennywise, the crowd let out a scream of approval. About 8:30 PM, the band came on and the mosh pit in front of me opened up. The setlist was chock full of songs from the '90s, and albums like About Time and Straight Ahead were represented. The band figured since they were in NYC, they should play a local song. Their cover of The Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" was a sped-up version that got the crowd yelling along. For 45 minutes, Pennywise never took their foot off the accelerator and the energy in the venue was at maximum for their set.
When Bad Religion came out at 9:30 PM, there was barely room to move. If I was basing my assumption on only band t-shirts, I would say that most of the people came to see BR. Singer Greg Graffin led the band through a politically charged, high-momentum set that featured fan favorites such as "21st Century (Digital Boy)" and "American Jesus." Once again, the mosh pit never let up and fans sang along to their favorite choruses. In their 35th year as a band, Bad Religion can still bring a hell of a live show and have the fans' undying support.
The floor was a sweaty sea of bodies as a pungent smell of body odor mixed with cheap beer permeated the air. Only the most loyal Offspring fans braved these elements to get on the rail so they could get as close to the band as possible. The excitement in the crowd grew with each passing moment until the lights went dark. A voice boomed out from the speakers, telling us that were were at a punk show and to "fuck shit up." Dexter Holland and the band took the stage and got their set underway with the pummelingly fast tune "Nitro (Youth Energy)."
As the band performed songs from Smash, fans could be seen crowd surfing, moshing, and throwing cups of beer into the crowd. Songs like "Come Out And Play" and "Self Esteem" sounded as fresh as they did twenty years ago. Hearing the album performed in its entirety is a rarity, and the band ripped through it with precise energy and force.
After a brief intermission, The Offspring came back out to play a few more songs. "Why Don't You Get A Job" turned the venue into a giant karaoke party, and before going into "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)," Dexter admitted that he got a boner performing for us tonight.
The Offspring's Smash may be 20 years old, but it hasn't lost its angst. It can be argued that it is one of the most influential punk rock albums of the early '90s. As I looked out, the crowd was a mix of Generation X and those barely legal to drink. This proves that great punk music has no age limit or expiration date. The message is universal and the music is from the soul. For one night, we were transported back to the punk heyday of 1994, and it felt good!
To check out upcoming dates and venues for the Punk Rock Summer Nationals 2014 Tour, go to The Offspring's official website.