By Scott Gudell
It’s Bonzai time again. It’s the annual hyper energized new music outdoor festival that landed at Highland Park this year. 2012 artists included Our Lady Peace, Eve 6, headliners The Offspring and others.
The sun was blazing and the casual crowd was dressed in T-shirts ranging from The Zone (the radio station sponsor) and Upstate Tattoo to The Ramones and the Cramps…plus numerous others. Music lovers wandered the open field downing various beers, sipping Vital Energy and perking up whenever their favorite band stormed the stage.
The evening’s headlining band was The Offspring. Dressed all in black (with a few hints of white such as in guitarists’ Noodles hair), they took command of the stage and blasted the audience with high-powered pop/punk/rock for over an hour…non-stop. Opening with one of their strongest songs…“You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid, “ …and closing with one of their strongest songs…“The Kids Aren’t Right”, The Offspring packed each minute with vitality. In between, they pulled a pair of songs from their brand new album and tried them out on the audience: the title cut, “Days Gone By,” and “The Future Is Now.” As good as they were, it would have been great to hear two other new songs from the disc, Cruising California, a tricked out mad scientist mix of rap, punk and more. Add the female vocalist from the song and you’ve got the perfect outdoor party song. Also missing was “OC Guns,” a haunting song about low riders in LA that mixes splashes of Tex Mex and reggae with The Offsprings signature sound. Other concert offerings included vintage songs such as “Come Out And Play” and “Self Esteem” as well as “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” which gave the crowd what they came for.
With a start on the streets of LA decades ago, this veteran band remains passionate and precise. Dancing, prancing and dodging splashes of strobe lights, they delivered.