The Offspring at Riot Fest 2012 | Photos and review
The main attraction of Riot Fest's Friday-evening set at the Congress was the now-historic Offspring. The famous alternative ’90s band is a poster group for what happens when musicians want to hold on to the trappings of success with no real inspiration left to drive it. The style that made The Offspring famous is woefully unrecognizable on its latest record, Days Go By, which features a bevy of terrible songs. One them actually is titled “Cruising California (Bumping In My Trunk)”, and it sounds exactly like you’d hope it wouldn’t.
Fortunately for the loyalists thronging the Congress Friday night, the Offspring had the good sense to just shut up and play the hits. Even though the group is now middle-aged and has an unfortunate propensity toward bleached hair and bowling shirts, it raged through nearly every robust track from 1995’s Smash with crisp enthusiasm, inspiring a nearly endless mosh pit. “All I Want” and “Something to Believe In” were raw and powerful enough to make up for the obligatory “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy),” which just seemed ironic at this point in the band’s career. The group wrapped up the set with the cathartic “The Kids Are Alright” and ended its encore with “Self Esteem,” an original emo anthem. Left suspiciously—but, thankfully—off the set list for the evening were most of the tracks from Days Go By, a move that allowed everyone in the Congress Theater Friday night the opportunity to remember that The Offspring used to be, in fact, pretty fly.