They do some things differently at gigs in Los Angeles. Not only does the doorman at the Troubadour sweetly insist on seeing your gnarled correspondent’s ID to check I’m of drinking age, but also feels obliged to warn me: “Stay on the floor, stay off the stage” as if I’m about to hurl myself into the throng of New Found Glory fans and start stagediving.
This may be because LA is one of those cities where rock still feels unquestionably, irrefutably alive, however old you may be. The question of whether rock can survive, let alone thrive, in the streaming age has been coming up repeatedly on this year’s MUSEXPO panels, but it doesn’t look like something tonight’s Troubadour crowd would spend too long pondering.
These gigs – tonight is the third and final show celebrating 20 years of legendary pop-punkers New Found Glory, each of which sees them run through two of their classic albums in full – may play to nostalgia, but many of the crowd have clearly been on this earth for less than those two decades, and have no need of our friend on the door’s over-21s-only wristbands. Even the members of the support band, UK pop-punk pups Trash Boat, are barely one year older than NFG itself.
I run into That’s Not Metal podcaster Terry Bezer in the cool, rickety upstairs bar of the Troubadour – the sort of storied, slightly scuzzy venue that’s in danger of extinction back home, by the way. Newly-relocated from London, he’s finding LA to be the perfect place for a rock/metal obsessive. And no wonder: from Amoeba’s packed punk section to the nightly shows by bands from every sub-genre going, rock here still feels if not central, then at least adjacent, to the wider culture.
So New Found Glory roll back the years to rattle through Catalyst and Nothing Gold Can Stay and, by the time they play All Downhill From Here, the wristband-free young people of the City Of Angels follow suit; casting off their inhibitions and stagediving/crowdsurfing like it’s still 2004.
Your correspondent resists the temptation to join them. But it’s a close run thing…