Opening band The Disasters are aptly named. There’s just something so incredibly insincere about their music that angered me as much as it bored me. They’re a train wreck. I mean, you’ve got one of the grandfathers of hardcore – NEW YORK Hard core at that – crooning away like he’s part of the SoCal pop-punk elite? It’s all wrong.
Now, I’m all for helping out the underdog, but on this night in particular, The Disasters seemed like nothing more than a few bandits hoping to cash in on something they know nothing about. Derivative songs were half-heartedly hammered out with little attention to detail and Roger Miret’s own stage banter revolved only around “Toronto rocks” clichÃ©s.
Not that Rancid singer/guitarist Lars Fredericksen did any better. Proving that he’s falling down that slippery slope of sanity, the dude just didn’t seem to know when enough was enough. From strolling out on stage in shades and a white scarf that made him look more Captain Sensible silly than Lemmy cool, to the endless “for the girls” stage patter of a desperate (and recently single) male and one of the worst between-song rants ever – it was clear that Fredericksen’s going bonkers.
Still, as a performer, the guy is on. Flitting about the Opera House stage for his entire set, Fredericksen was energetic; he played well and made sure to include everyone in the fun. Great! If he’d have kept it up uninterrupted, this would be a stellar review.
It was when the music stopped that Fredericksen proved himself to be somewhat buffoonish. Case in point: asking the girls to circle the pit for him. Extra credit: said between-song rant where Fredericksen destroyed 30 years of punk rock’s all-inclusive mission statement by saying that hippies were assholes and should fuck off. I’m no huge fan of granola crunchers, but his elitist comments were ignorant and unfounded.
“Hippies are all children of rich people,” he spat. Last time I checked, most suburban malls reek of Hot Topic and other over-priced punk merch. And I’m sure Fredericksen isn’t about to dump his bank account to give his future kids cred either.
“They all stink,” was a great one. Thankfully, the rest of his babble was inarticulate other than the typical anti-Bush sentiments.
In the end it was all cheese. Even the show-ending “put the scarf back on and leave” routine reeked of bad James Brown. Even if it were tongue-in-cheek, it was lost on a sea of uncaring punk rock faces. Obviously little more than a means for Fredericksen to pass the time between the next disappointing Rancid record, The Bastards – on this particular night – were a horrible means to a rapidly-sucking end.