Student Music Review: Blink 182, Live at Birmingham NIA, 7 June 2012Eighteen months. That’s like purgatory for a music fan and it’s where I’ve been for EIGHTEEN MONTHS since Blink-182 cancelled their original July tour so they could finish their most recent album Neighbourhoods to its best standard. Was it worth pushing the tour back for the album? No. Was the tour worth the wait? YES.

The energy and atmosphere inside the NIA is electric. Fans crowd around the stage hungry to see a band they’ve grown up with. Beardy supports Four Year Strong (9) are met with jeers from a crowd who have been waiting a long time to see the main band but they immediately silence the majority of the impatience with their fresh brand of popcore goodness. Blasting through hits such as It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now and Stuck in the Middle, Four Year Strong ensures that the party atmosphere lives on. The crowd furiously pumps fists and sings along breathlessly. It’s an amazing atmosphere for a first band.

Next up are alt-rockers All American Rejects (8). I admit I wasn’t planning on paying attention to these guys as I’m not a fan but as has often happened before, the band grabbed my attention. The band were energetic, involving and on top form. Lead singer Tyson Ritter is the embodiment of a modern day rock star. Wandering around the stage with a swagger and a smirk occasionally taking up bass duties as well this guy knows how to work a crowd. The band’s set list is a little lacking but they fit in the hits like Gives you Hell and Dirty Little Secret but apart from that it’s decent stuff.

The tension and the build-up is unendurable. As the curtain drops and Blink-182 (10) smash into their first song the crowd goes haywire. Mass sing alongs, jumping up and down and fist pumping is the order of the night as the band plays every fan favourite (First Date, All the Small Things you name it they played it) and several new tracks for the crowd to frenzy over. The banter between guitarist/vocalist Tom Delonge and bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus is hilarious with the conversation going from Hoppus’ inability to tie his own shoelace to Delonge being a let-down for the band (all in jest of course). By the end of the set there are hundreds of Blink-182 beach balls sailing on the crowd and to mark the end of the show a massive confetti cannon explodes showering the exhausted, yet satisfied, crowd in black and white paper.

This isn’t the end though! The highlight of the Blink-182 set is drummer Travis Barker (9) playing a track from his solo album Give the Drummer Some. Combining punk speed, hip-hop style and his personal skill the track was a unique listening experience. The incredible amount of skill, energy and dedication (he split his knuckle open whilst playing but carried on) was my highlight and getting to watch him play a track on his own was amazing. Barker is without a doubt one of the true drumming legends of modern times and it was a privilege to watch.

I’ve been waiting so long for this and whilst Neighbourhoods wasn’t up to much this tour was. Excellent band, excellent crowds and an excellent set list made this one of the best gigs I’ve been to.