Good Charlotte @ The Enmore Theatre, Sydney, 2nd March 2003

Good Charlotte are the latest punk rock phenomenon from America to emerge onto the mainstream. They’re the current rage amongst the disillusioned youth, thanks to their hit single ‘Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous’ enjoying heavy rotation on MTV and almost every alternative rock radio station worldwide. One thing that elevates them above their counterparts, however, is that they’re quite simply better. Where Blink 182 sing about kissing girls on your first date, Good Charlotte go on about how if you’re famous you can kill your wife and get away with it. In other words, they’ve got something worthwhile to say. You know, the kind of social political comment you would expect from the great punk bands such as The Clash or The Sex Pistols. All of which is apparent when you see them live, as I did on the second night of their three night residency at the Enmore Theatre – an impressive feat for a band who have only scored one hit single to date.

Twin brothers Benji and Joel Madden brief the spike-sporting crowd on the adverse effects of suicide, and how life does get better. Fair enough, but we’re here for the music. Recent album ‘The Young and the Hopeless’ was collection of easily digestible punk pop tunes, most of which are included tonight. Forthcoming single ‘The Anthem’ gets the crowd going early on, whilst ‘Girls and Boys’, ‘My Bloody Valentine’ and ‘The Motivation Proclamation’ witness thousands of adoring fans chanting the choruses. The band do know how to write some immensely catchy songs, none more so than ‘Lifestyles Of The Rich and Famous’ and ‘Riot Girl’, which would have the most ardent punkophobe singing along in no time. The audience is told that Sydney is the greatest city in the world, and by this time there is an eruption of noise every time a band member opens their mouth. It’s a fun, lighthearted affair, but not something you would find at a Strokes gig. Not that Good Charlotte would have it any other way, that is. Music to them is all about an escape from unenviable existence, we’re told, and they’ll be damned if they don’t share it with everyone.

The band walk off stage, leaving room for a three song encore. Predictably, ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ rounds off what was a pretty entertaining night. They’re not going to make the earth stop rotating, but you sense these amiable punks have a greater longevity than their fellow college rock counterparts.

Jeremy Lloyd