The ridiculous hype and ensuing record label signing-frenzy that accompanied the ’90s punk rock revival — which culminated in 1995 when albums by the Offspring and Green Day were selling by the truckloads — nearly took the soul out of the punk underground. Suddenly everybody was getting a mohawk and piercing their body parts and claiming allegiance to Johnny Rotten. Few noteworthy bands lived through the predictable commercial sinkhole that followed , and of the ones that did, Orange County’s the Offspring have done so with the least amount of attitude or pretension, instead remaining focused on keeping the kids entertained with their distinctive brand of melodic power-pop-punk. As a result, the quartet still sounds as fresh and exciting as ever.
At the sold-out Palladium Wednesday, in the first of two shows, the band’s frenetic style and tightly focused delivery conquered the venue’s muddy acoustics, inspiring a small but consistently whirling mosh circle on the dance floor. Singer Dexter Holland, who has thankfully lost his corn-row hairstyle, led the otherwise low-key band — there was no stage show to speak of — through a charged 70 -minute set that touched on all four albums of their 10-year existence. Show included all the hits from their breakthrough album, “Smash” (Epitaph), and songs from this year’s inspired follow-up, “Ixnay on the Hombre” (Columbia). “The Meaning of Life,” which they dedicated to beer, and infectious recent single “All I Want” were the best of the new material, while oldies “Kick Him When He’s Down” and show closer “Session” stood out from the older songs. Openers L7 impressed with a short but slamming set of bad-girl punk that was highlighted by “Shove” and “Fast and Frightening,” songs from their 1991 album “Smell the Magic” (Sub Pop), as well as a couple from their fine new “Triple Platinum: The Beauty Process” (Slash/Reprise) album.