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New punk darlings shout pop, puberty

New Found Glory and Good Charlotte deliver for the kids in Irvine.

June 06, 2003|Lina Lecaro | Special to The Times

Two more bubblegum punk babes have left the Warped Tour nest, and like such predecessors as Blink-182, Florida's New Found Glory and Maryland's Good Charlotte are proving they have the goods to fill their own arenas and become America's next spiky-haired teen sensations.

Indeed, the co-headliners kept the kids bouncing almost nonstop Wednesday at UC Irvine's Bren Events Center. The youthfulness of the audience underscored an inescapable fact about today's punk rock: To be commercially viable, the beats must be driven by pop and the lyrics by puberty. Such is the case with these two up-and-coming acts.

With a gloomy stage set (cardboard cutouts of coffins and bats), the black-clad Good Charlotte, led by twins Benji and Joel Madden, looked more like a goth band than pop-punkers, and their sunny sound seemed to contradict their image.

But GC knows exactly who its fans are. While songs from the current album "The Young and the Hopeless" were mostly harmonious fluff, there were a couple of substantial moments, such as guitarist Benji's remarks about teen suicide before the passionate, slow-tempo "Hold On" and about love (eliciting sighs and screams from all the young ladies) before the buoyant, tough-chick ode "Riot Girl."

With less of a heartthrob factor, New Found Glory offered more fanfare and a feistier spirit. Illuminated by a KISS-like light display of the band's initials and bookended by clusters of animated fans on each side of the stage, the quintet gave a vigorous ride from the get-go, restlessly tearing into catchy tunes from its current album, "Sticks and Stones," and its previous, self-titled effort and whipping the room's youthful angst into an aggressive frenzy.


New Found Glory

Where: Universal Amphitheatre, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City

When: Saturday, 7:15 p.m.; Sunday, 6:45 p.m.

Price: $28

Contact: (818) 622-4440

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