mediocre charlotte and fast times in licking county

Okay, so, when I was a teenager, I was kind of obsessed with this band called Good Charlotte. You might remember Good Charlotte as that crappy pop-punk band from the early 2000s that catered to the “loser” kids with sing-a-long classics like Little Things. Benji Madden had pink hair and some sort of dog collar necklace, and I was an angsty high schooler with a Hot Topic frequent shopper card, so basically we were a match made in heaven. I thought the Madden twins were like, SO HOT, and I could not get enough of Good Charlotte’s infectiously poppy teen-angst tunes. When I was a freshman in high school my mom took me and two friends to see them in concert, and there is a small possibility that I wore the hoodie that I bought at that concert as recently as my freshman year of college. I don’t want to get into the hairy details, but basically, they used to be one of my all-time favorite bands, until I grew out of my black nailpolish phase, stopped shopping at Hot Topic, and realized that I would never be able to get at the Madden brothers when they were fraternizing with the likes of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, indeed.

Anyway, the point of all this bullshit is that every year, WNCI hosts a concert in Newark at this bar we go to sometimes, featuring really crappy bands like Hinder and Shinedown. I’ve never attended one of those concerts before, but I can only imagine the kind of awesome crowd that these bands draw at a bar that is already home to way too many people who chew tobacco and wear t-shirts with the sleeves cut off. So when Gretchen texted me a couple weeks ago to tell me that this year, WNCI was bringing Good Charlotte to Newark, I literally laughed out loud. Good Charlotte? Is still a band? And they’re coming to NEWARK? Wow. This is going to be good.

The thing about WNCI is that it’s a shitty radio station that I never listen to because they play bands like Hinder and Good Charlotte. But their morning show, The Morning Zoo, is pretty hilarious, and the djs are kind of famous, around central Ohio anyway, for the awesome parody songs that they write, like their rendition of Empire State of Mind. which is all about good old Newark and is really hilarious because of how frighteningly accurate it is. They played that song at this concert, and it was definitely the highlight of the evening.

The concert took place in the parking lot of the bar, and it was about 34 degrees outside, and I may have gotten a little tipsy on the poorly made Jack and Coke that I ordered before realizing that the $3 cans of Budweiser were probably the better way to go. And Gretchen and I were laughing a lot about the fact that Benji and Joel Madden were actually in Newark, and oh man, I wonder if Nicole Richie is like backstage? Or, you know, back-tent, since the stage was some Macgyver makeshift thing in a freaking parking lot. And by the way, Nicole Richie wasn’t there, and as it turned out, neither was Good Charlotte. The Madden brothers played a four song acoustic set since the rest of the band couldn’t make it or something, and the only thing that was sadder than the fact that I actually stood outside in the cold for that long to see “Good Charlotte” play was the fact that apparently they have a new album coming out this week, and one of the WNCI djs kept “promoting” it by being like, “yeah, Good Charlotte, everyone! their new album comes out this week, you can get it on itunes or something.” And when I say sad, I really just mean funny, because all in all it was pretty damn funny.

In between cracking jokes about how Benji sucks at playing guitar and kind of looks like an extra in a Spiderman movie (wearing a skull cap and a black t-shirt with black jeans, he looked pretty convincingly like “purse snatcher #2”), Joel was at least self-aware enough to know what a mediocre performance they were putting on. “Listen, whatever expectations you guys had for tonight, just go ahead and lower them right now…” he said, and at one point Benji chimed in to say “yeah, we never said we were Great Charlotte.” Ha….ha…..ha. But really, the funniest part of the whole night was when Joel made some comment about how much the band means to them, because it’s how they support their families. Yeah. Right. I’m sure you’re really the bread winner of your family, guy. Nicole has nothing to do with it.

Anyway, did I mention how AWESOME Licking County is?

Yeah. This is where I live.

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