Nov. 9, 2002

Box Car Racer is Not Blink-182 Cover Band

By Randy J. Klodz

Box Car Racer took the Aragon stage Nov. 9 in front of a sold-out crowd and made sure to demonstrate one thing: Though Box Car Racer is comprised of two-thirds the punk-pop band Blink-182, these bands hold very little in common.

That’s right, Tom Delonge (guitar and vocals) and Travis Barker (drums) front Box Car Racer (that’s Blink-182 sans bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus) while Anthony Celestino (bass) and David Kennedy (guitar)—also a member of the punk outfit Over My Dead Body—complete the lineup.

Though half of Box Car Racer participates in the usual shenanigans of Blink-182, only two songs played on Saturday night remotely resembled the usual flatulence-laced jokes and short songs about teenage misadventures that Blink fans are used to. The songs “My First Punk Song” and another new, yet untitled song were the only songs that could be mistaken for Blink-182, complete with fast guitars and gutter-mouth lyrics.

For the most part, Box Car Racer let the music do the talking. Gone was the hilarious stage banter between Delonge and Hoppus. Before the hit single “I Feel So,” the band had some equipment problems, during which Delonge said to the crowd “I don’t need to hear myself, I just need to hear you guys.”

Delonge was short on his crowd contact, but made sure to be his usual comedic self when he did have something to say. Right before starting the mellow “Letters to God,” Tom asked some happy members of the crowd “What, are you guys dancing? I haven’t even started yet,” that left half the Aragon crowd in a chuckle.

Box Car Racer played a tight set, comprised of all 13 tracks off the self-titled debut in addition to the new, untitled track. On the album, the track “Cat Like Thief” has guest vocals by Tim Armstrong, the front man for punk band Rancid, and “Elevator” had Blink-182 cohort Mark Hoppus adding his voice to the track. Obviously, Armstrong and Hoppus are not going to be part of the Box Car Racer tour only to lend their voice to one track each, so it was interesting to see how these tracks would be performed live.

Delonge simply took over all vocal duties, and made for a flawless transition between guest vocals and live vocals. Other key songs that Box Car Racer played include “Tiny Voices,” “There Is,” and “All Systems Go” among others.

The show was opened by short sets by up-and-coming punk/pop bands Taking Back Sunday and H20. Box Car Racer is scheduled to be a part of Q101’s annual “Twisted Christmas” event, scheduled to take place on Dec. 15 at Allstate Arena. Box Car Racer will be supported by a cast of bands such as Disturbed, Jimmy Eat World, 3 Doors Down and Moby, among others.

Tom Delonge of Box Car Racer Photo: Randy J. Klodz