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The December 11 Soma show was the first local gig for (+44), which features former blink drummer Travis Barker and bassist/front man Mark Hoppus. Guitarist Tom DeLonge, the other one-third of blink, proceeds with Angels & Airwaves.

The (+44) concert drew about 2000 to Soma, which meant it was about 400 short of a sellout. Angels & Airwaves played their first local show last spring at the House of Blues (1100 capacity), which sold out immediately.

Angels & Airwaves' first single, "The Adventure," broke the top 5 on the Radio & Records alternative radio airplay chart; (+44)'s single, "While Your Heart Stops Beating," has only broken the top 20.

"Angels & Airwaves went off to do something completely different," says a music-biz insider. "(+44) did not stretch beyond blink-182. They sound like blink-182 without Tom. I think Angels & Airwaves has more staying power."

Another insider predicts that (+44) will flourish.

"It all comes down to star power, and Mark has it. There were 650 people lined up to meet Mark after the [Soma] show. He has huge charm....

"The only thing that worked against (+44) is that Travis broke his arm, and that set everything back.... Their first show was supposed to be October 13 but it was postponed [until December 11], and that hurt them."

"I think they are better than blink," said Robert Clark, 16, who was at the (+44) Soma show. "But blink-182 was the best thing that ever happened to planet earth."

Kyle, 17, said, "Angels & Airwaves are the emo part of blink-182, and (+44) is the punk part."

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