Lit and Hoobastank kicked off their Tried-N-True Tour in Nashville this weekend with help from Alien Ant Farm and Kristopher Roe of The Ataris. Although this first leg of the tour is primarily in the South, surely we can expect these guys to roll West, right?
While we will always associate Lit with Orange County, A. Jay and Jeremy Popoff now reside in Nashville, so this kick-off show included a lot of friends and family, plus an air of excitement and nerves. Skydeck is a rooftop venue overlooking the extremely busy area of Broadway, which is home to the honky tonks and 54,308,620 bachelorette parties in town to get hammered, ride pedal taverns, and yell, “Whooooo!” The one glorious week of perfect autumn weather that Tennessee has each year happened to be this week, so the evening was just right for music high above the street.
The Ataris had radio success in the early 2000s thanks to their remake of Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer,” but Kristopher Roe admitted he had not sung onstage in “awhile” and that it felt surreal to do so after all this time. His short acoustic set showed off his impressive vocals and included “The Boys of Summer,” plus their other radio singles, “In This Diary” and “The Saddest Song.” With next year being the 20th anniversary of their album “So Long, Astoria,” Roe said they will celebrate that album, plus they plan to release new material in 2023. The Ataris are also on the roster for When We Were Young 2023, so if you managed to get tickets to that, you can catch the full band then.
Alien Ant Farm was up next, despite having just arrived into town an hour before. With a screaming guitar intro from Terry Corso, they started off with “Courage” and “Forgive & Forget.” Front-man Dryden Mitchell had attitude times 10 and his voice sounded fantastic. He said since they had just arrived and with it being the first night of the tour, nerves were taking over, but he would settle in. He chatted with the early crowd several times and seemed to relax more as they did one of their radio singles, “Movies.”
“These Days” was followed by “Attitude,” and after “Sticks and Stones,” Mitchell had Corso, Mike Cosgrove, and Tim Peugh do a repeat saying, “I fucking love that song! Play the chorus again!”
For their last song, they did the one that made them famous in 2001; their version of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.” The fans at the front of the stage took over the “Whooo!” duties and seemed to enjoy having their sing-along moment.
The sun had set and a breeze picked up, making for a perfect spooky season chill. The lights dropped and dramatic music began. The Hoobastank logo appeared on a giant screen behind the stage and “Hoobastank, Los Angeles, CA” was printed around it. Dan Estrin, Chris Hesse, and Jesse Charland walked out, and sporting a LA Dodgers ball cap (before their elimination!), front-man Doug Robb went right into “Same Direction.”
While encouraging the crowd to clap the intro, they moved into “Born to Lead” after which Robb greeted the audience. “Whether we sound good tonight or shit the bed, I want you to walk away from here thinking ‘That was fun.’” Robb also pointed out that guitarist Dan Estrin was performing with a boot for his broken foot. Hoobastank had to cancel some recent shows because of it, but Robb said, “Dan is fucking here tonight!” for this tour opener.
“Running Away” had the crowd singing the chorus loud enough to take over from Robb. Afterwards he joked, “Who remembers that song from middle school? High school? College? Who doesn’t know who the fuck we are and are here on accident?”
“Never There” and “My Turn” were also favorites, including a sing-along challenge between the two sides of the venue. They went through their other radio singles, “Pieces,” “Out of Control,” “Remember Me,” and “Inside of You” before Robb offered up a toast: “A toast to Dan playing with a broken foot. A toast to the other bands. And an especially big toast to our crews that get all these things set up just so we can jump around like a bunch of idiots for an hour. Cheers!”
The song that drew every person out of every corner of the venue, and resulted in phones being thrust up to record was up next. “The Reason” seemed to camp out on Billboard charts in 2004, and judging by the volume of people singing it, it’s still a favorite.
They closed with their other huge hit, “Crawling in the Dark,” and I have to say, this is my fourth or fifth time seeing Hoobastank and I continue to enjoy their energy and musical skills. I’ve seen them on small stages and large, and they always put on an energetic set.
I have also seen Lit multiple times and know they put on an excellent show as well. Plus, Lit is having a pretty nice 2022. They released their catchy new album, “Tastes Like Gold,” toured Europe, and are on the bill for the immediately sold out When We Were Young festival 2023. As it drew time for them to take the stage, the lights went down and the sound of planes took over. A flight attendant announcement stated “Flight 714” (nice OC nod!) and if we were holding a beverage, to raise it up and “get Lit!”
As Jeremy Popoff, Kevin Baldes, and Taylor Carroll walked onto the stage, cheers rang out, and they began “Kicked Off the Plane.” Front-man A. Jay Popoff ran out, jumped on the front of stage monitors with an energy and eagerness that made me wonder how many Red Bulls he had consumed. In fact, I don’t think he stood still at any point the entire set. Ok, maybe an exaggeration, but it was obvious he was excited to be performing and kicking off the tour. His brother Jeremy and Kevin Baldes also hopped on the monitors and jumped onstage more than once, so I suppose everyone had some excitement to unleash.
“Kicked Off the Plane” would be their first song of the night off “Tastes Like Gold,” but they did a nice mix of old and new. After “Four” and “Down,” “Over My Head” got a big response, as did “Zip-Lock,” two of their radio hits.
A. Jay spoke of residing in Nashville now and how “fucking awesome” it was to see family, friends, publishers, and songwriters in the audience, supporting them and the other bands, and live music. He kept running himself all over the stage through “Quicksand,” “You Tonight,” and “Do It Again,” and encouraged fans to clap along, jump, and sing – I actually thought, “This is a lot of shaking for a roof…!” He said he was excited to kick the tour off and loved the nostalgia part as well: “The early 2000s were a blessing!”
Their current single, “Mouth Shut,” was followed by “The Last Time Again,” which A. Jay reminded us was in “American Pie 2.” He also said this would be the first time “in a few years” they would be on a tour bus again, they were looking forward to it, and they would leave right after the show.
“Lipstick and Bruises” was followed by a big sing-along song, “Miserable,” and then “The Life That I Got,” which A. Jay said they had never played live before. “Something to Someone” included A. Jay shaking a bottle and then spraying fans at the front down with it (Beer? Champagne? How fancy is he?).
But, the evening had to come to an end and it was time for everyone to jump and sing to the song that has been in our life since 1999. Seriously, who does not know “My Own Worst Enemy?” It is one of those songs that each generation knows because it remains in pop culture and never gets old. They, of course, rocked it and ended the night in the best way possible before dashing off into the night to embark on the Tried-N-True Tour…
Look for Lit, Hoobastank, Alien Ant Farm, and Kristopher Roe of The Ataris on the road with hopefully a whole mess of additional dates and cities.