Arrested Youth 2016
Cartoons made corporeal, pop-punk trio get live and real in the City of Angels.
Fifteen years into their existence and five albums down the line, is there a better way for this band to prove their vivacity to the fans than to release a concert recording? Apparently not, what with Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas’ fairly recent parenthood and turning a tour into a sort of jaunt by having their toddler son and dogs on a bus – here, as a DVD half of the package suggests, parked at L.A.’s “Roxy” club – hence its title. But then, in front of the audience is where the little ensemble genuinely come alive, and, proved by ecstatic crowd’s carrying the musicians after a stage-dive, the finale “Because I’m Awesome” doesn’t get to be a vain bravado instead of a simple statement of fact.
That’s how it goes beginning with “My Best Friend’s Hot” whose nod towards a spousal magnetism is spiked with sincere smiles, teenage enthusiasm and an infectious grind, Kelly’s bass locking in with Luis’ guitar and Rikki Styxx’s drums and making the intimate “I love you” in the noise of “Get Weird” so natural. By the time former skin-kicker Chris Black joins in, to everyone’s delight, for “Jackie Chan” to take speed up a notch after BOWLING FOR SOUP’s Jarret Reddick has added to the piece’s vocal tension, an air of celebration is firmly set. Yet while the feisty take on Melanie’s “Brand New Key” is clearly indebted to girl groups of the ’60s and riot grrrls of the ’90s, the perky march “Bury Me In Ireland” appears dipped in folk tradition.
And if tradition is not a family thing, nothing is. All these values aboard, here’s as lively a performance as it gets: still catchy, still lovely.