Q101 Twisted 8 Ball (featuring Blink-182, 311, Bush, Sum 41, Puddle of Mudd, Alien Ant Farm, Pete Yorn and the Crystal Method)

blink-300x295By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
December 14, 2001

Just before Blink-182 stepped on stage to headline the Q101 Twisted 8 Ball Thursday night at the United Center, Barry Williams–best known to pop culture fans as the eldest son on “The Brady Bunch”–weaved through the audience making like Eminem.

“Will the real Greg Brady please stand up?” Williams chanted as he hopped around on stage.

It was a funny moment, but what followed next was weird in the context of a holiday rock show. Q101 personality Mancow Muller appeared onstage to introduce the Portage, Ind., honor guard. The men stood at attention as Wayne Messmer sang a searing rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.” And then one of Muller’s cohorts led the crowd in a chant of “USA!”

David Lynch couldnt have concocted a more bizarre scene.

If it had to be included at all, the whole scene wouldve been more appropriate at the start of the concert rather than at the end.

Blink-182 didnt seem to know what to make of the inclusion and made no mention of the patriotic showmanship that preceded its set.

That said, the eight bands (Blink-182, 311, Bush, Sum 41, Puddle of Mudd, Alien Ant Farm, Pete Yorn and Crystal Method moonlighting as DJs) that performed at this year’s Twisted show put on a fun concert that began at 5:15 and ended at just after 11.

Unlike some of Q101s previous multi-bill shows, there was little lag time between acts and the concert didnt seem as long as it actually was.

Was Blink-182s set as good as its show two years ago at Twisted 6? No, but even a relatively low-key Blink concert still is pretty entertaining.

Led by guitarist-singer Tom Delonge (who celebrated a birthday that evening) and bassist-singer Mark Hoppus, the trio’s punky pop songs had the audience revved up from the get-go. They run around on stage like bratty little brothers, burp and tease each other with “your mama” jokes. But when they sing songs such as “What’s My Age Again” and “All the Small Things,” they’re right on track.

The bill was staggered according to each acts’ current popularity, but you couldn’t help notice the discrepancy in the band members heights. Early acts such as Sum 41 looked like Lilliputians compared to the 6-foot-plus members of Bush and 311 that followed them.

But the little band from Canada turned in a strong performance that showed they’d graduated from the Green Day school of pop punk with honors.

Lead singer Deryck “Bizzy D” Whibley is 21, but he easily could pass for a 15-year-old student, especially when he spews lyrics such as, “I don’t want to waste my time/And become a casualty of society”a line from “Fat Lip.” He’s of an age where he still gets a kick out of swearing in public and spitting on stage. Luckily, hes got the chops to back up his butt munch antics.

Pete Yorn played to an inattentive audience, and Puddle of Mudd’s hard rock by way of Kurt Cobain-sounding vocals grew repetitive by the third song. But 311 fared well with its hard rock funk. Lead singer Nick Hexum and rapper S.A. Martinez shared some nice vocals. Alien Ant Farm revved up the audience with a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.”

The Crystal Method had the thankless job of spinning discs for what was supposed to be “Club Twisted.” But the cavernous United Center isnt a good place for a rave and there was no place for the kids who wanted to dance to shake their thangs.

Bush wins hands down as the band that made the biggest effort to connect with the audience. Frontman Gavin Rossdale ventured into the audience numerous times to give his fans the opportunity to see his gorgeous face close up.

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