In 2002, when Good Charlotte released the celebrity-bashing single “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” — which included the fateful lyric, “All they do is piss and moan/ Inside the Rolling Stone” — absolutely no one, band included, could have foreseen that one year later, they themselves would be bona fide celebrities on the cover of Rolling Stone.
When the overwhelming backlash the band received for their new found teeny-bopper fan base reached a boiling point, they did what any nouveau riche rock stars would do: They left their native Maryland for expensive cribs in L.A., dated underage Hollywood actresses, guest DJ’d at trendy clubs, made cameos in movies, started clothing companies and generally led the good life (no pun intended).
This leads us to show at the Ventura Theatre on Sept. 29. Good Charlotte will be releasing a new record in February and they’ve hit to road on a small club/theater tour to test the waters before they start another massive mainstream push.
After an unnecessarily long wait between bands, the not-quite-sold-out crowd, complete with teenage screams, parents urging the band to “please take the stage” and at least one ’tween asleep in her mom’s lap, the lights dropped, a dark New Wave intro played and GC took the stage.
Launching into their monster MTV hit, “The Anthem,” the band was immediately haunted by onstage sound problems that turned the first few songs into a bass-and-drum fest. They soon got into the pocket, though, and delivered a tight set that harkened back to GC’s early days when they were making a name for themselves on Warped Tour side stages as opposed to gracing the covers of teen magazines.
With no pressure from new album sales yet and a clearly loyal fan base in the house, Good Charlotte played an array of songs from their first three records, highlighted by a blistering rendition of “Predictable” off 2004’s The Chronicles of Life and Death and the incredibly catchy new single “Keep Your Hands Off My Girl.”
The in-between song banter left a lot to be desired, but no one seemed to mind as every “Are you ready?”, “Let’s jump!”, “You rock, Ventura!” and, of course, “Check out our MySpace page!” was greeted with frenzied shrieks.
From a musical standpoint, although not nearly as famous as the Madden Brothers who front the group, bassist Paul Thomas and lead guitarist Billy Martin were more than proficient and truly kept the band’s energy level up throughout the night.
All in all, though certainly not groundbreaking and most definitely not for everyone, Good Charlotte deserves a lot more respect from the music world than they get. Then again, when you’re living in the Hollywood Hills, snuggled up next to a movie star and staring up at your multiple platinum records, it’s likely Good Charlotte could care less what anyone thinks — which, in itself, is punk rock.