Despite, or perhaps because of, their pivotal role in breaking punk rock worldwide, The Offspring have never been afforded the critical acclaim afforded to many of their less celebrated peers.
This is rather unfair. Look beyond the novelty singles and ‘Woah-oh-woah’ singalongs and the Orange County quartet are a much sharper, more subversive band than they’ve ever been credited for. Headlining the festival’s second stage on the day after the Ramones’ classic debut album finally achieved Gold status in the US, tonight feels like a proper vindication of their storied career.
When the skies open one verse into Come Out And Play (Keep ‘Em Separated) it seems, briefly, as if someone up there (or perhaps Down Below) is having a little laugh at the quartet’s expense. But it’s but a temporary inconvenience , and when a nostalgic trawl through Smash - still the biggest independent record of all time - is followed by a succession of killer singles and screamalong album cuts - All I Want, Staring At The Sun, Can’t Get My Head Around You among them - the often maligned vets simply romp home. Why Don’t You Get A Job might be filed in the ‘Guilty Pleasure’ bracket by a minority among the beered-up crowd, but the raucous singalong that accompanies it is undeniable, and the sight of hundreds of grinning punters stampeding into the pit for Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) obliterates any notions of ‘cool’.
“I love this crowd: we want to sleep with each and every one of you,” deadpans Noodles before Self Esteem. For all we know he might still be knocking around the campsite now… (8)