Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall, October 11, 2006

 

Written and photos by: Jason Perlman

 

With more to promote then a NASCAR driver, Good Charlotte rolled through Columbus, OH with the relaxation of a sports fan sitting in a Lay-Z-Boy with a cold beer in one hand and a remote in the other. Led by brothers Joel and Benji Madden, Good Charlotte have put together a successful back catalogue and are working to promote a 2006 holiday release of a DVD, Fast Future Generation as well as the 2007 release of GC #4. But for this night at the Newport Music Hall, it was all about the now as the Madden brothers and crew led the fans through a blistering set list of a back catalogue that keeps growing with hits.

 

When Good Charlotte first hit with Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous, it was common wonderment how the band would move forward, especially after the ballad Hold On dug its hooks into so many kids' hearts. But somehow Good Charlotte was able to keep progressing as musicians and still keep a loyal enough fan base to allow that expansion to be accepted. But it has been a few years, and the young teens who were fans then are now nearing college, and as with most kids that age, their music tastes are changing as much as their underwear. So when the show was announced at the Newport, the only Ohio show, strict curiosity got the betterment and the inquisitiveness won out as to who would attend this show.

 

As usual for Good Charlotte, there was little surprise that the band put on a quality show and the musicianship was loose without being sloppy. Benji Madden's guitar playing has definitely stepped up a notch, but it really is Billy Martin and Paul Thomas who help keep the band sounding good night in and night out. Although Joel Madden wasn't as active as fans have come accustomed, his vocals sounded more mature and his finesse on stage has definitely come far. And as for the crowd? Well, it was what one would expect, even if smaller than hoped. The median age was around 17-18, as Good Charlotte was still able to hold on to their hardcore fans of years past, but their hopeful, yet teen-angst ridden music is still appealing to those fighting puberty, peer pressure and parents all at the same time.

 

Good Charlotte played its initial single, Keep Your Hands Off My Girl, but for those there, hearing Anthem and The Chronicles of Life and Death were more important at the time and it showed in the audience reactions. There were only a few times where one couldn't look out and see almost every kid in attendance singing back to Joel Madden word for word and for one of the few times, it seemed Good Charlotte as a band really appreciated the support of those in the audience. To Good Charlotte, like many young bands that break it big and break it fast, the idea of having loyal fans is a new concept and when playing shows, there is a lack of appreciation to those fans. And for about two years, Good Charlotte as a whole seemed to have that persona. But now, more mature and wiser, Good Charlotte seemed more enthusiastic about the fans that paid money to see them live, and that one element added to the always good sounding live show actually made this Good Charlotte show one of its best.

 

Who knows what lays in wait as Good Charlotte tries to do what so many band cannot that have a large teen fan base, and that is have an extended career. But it took its first positive steps in playing a show for its fans, and giving the fans as much as the fans give them.

Benji Madden
Billy Martin
Dean Butterworth
Billy Martin
Joel Madden
Paul Thomas