Taking to the jack-o’-lantern-filled Universal stage to the tune of Disney’s “Main Street Electrical Parade,” Anaheim’s No Doubt played the biggest L.A. headlining show of their 10-year career and reminded the locals that, no, these multiplatinum ska-rockers are no overnight sensations but, in fact, are one of the Southland’s most entertaining live bands. Blond beauty Gwen Stefani is, of course, the focal point of the band’s rowdy show, but she’s far more than “Just a Girl,” and her bandmates aren’t too shabby, either.
Performing tracks lifted mostly from the band’s third album, the 2 million seller “Tragic Kingdom” (Trauma), the quartet (and their regular two-man horn section) whipped up the female-heavy crowd with a boisterous mix of reggae and ska beats, sing-a-long pop choruses and driving rock strains.
Such pop gems as “Spiderwebs,” the horn-filled “Move On,” from the band’s 1992 Interscope bow, and “Excuse Me Mister” had the house pogoing with wild abandon throughout. Songs chronicling Stefani and bassist Tony Kanal’s past romantic relationship “Happy Now,” current single “Don’t Speak,” even their cover of Bad Brains’ “Sailin’ On” added a curious edge to the happy proceedings.
Also a highlight was a subtle tribute to fellow Orange County rockers Sublime: “Total Hate,” one of the band’s earliest songs (which No Doubt re-recorded two years ago as a duet with Sublime’s late singer, Brad Nowell, for their indie release “The Beacon Street Collection”) was offered with a snippet of Sublime’s “Pawn Shop” folded into the song.
Victorville punkers Face to Face performed before No Doubt and impressed with their energetic, rhythm-section-heavy style.