Since a few years, there’s no doubt: we are in a pop-punk revival. Stronger than ever? Because we don’t only have new bands taking this vibe but also legends like Sum 41 and Simple Plan who are still killing it! Maybe 2022 be THE year of pop-punk?! One of the best for sure and tonight in Brussels confirmed it!
The pop-punk 2.0 started around 2019 when mainstream acts started to write pop-punk stuff like Machine Gun Kelly, when new young artists became huge with a debut album with pop-punk vibes like Olivia Rodrigo or when artists started to become famous while they were already using a bit the pop-punk vibes like Yungblud. Added to the fact that some legends like My Chemical Romance or Paramore are making their return. next to other legends finally touring again. The Hella Mega Tour with Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer all on the same stage was a dream come true. And what about the When We Were Young Festival?! Until it happened, we all thought it was a joke. This whole madness also convince acts such as Bring Me The Horizon to make their way to this party. A few days ago, Blink 182 announced the return of Tom with a worldwide arena tours. For sure, pop-punk is back stronger than ever!
When we talk about pop-punk, it also includes a bit the emo scene and punk-rock bands of course. Because, yes, Sum 41 is definitely too heavy to be considered only as a pop-punk band. That being said, this tour Sum 41 + Simple Plan just arrived at the best time ever. Called the “Does This Look All Killer No Filler Tour”, the Canadian wanted to celebrate their 2 most legendary albums “Does This Look Infected” (2002) and “All Killer No Filler” (2001). We would have need only 2 more things to make it the best tour ever: Simple Plan also celebrating their 2 first legendary albums… and adding Good Charlotte on the line-up to make this like a Hella Mega Tour number 2!
ALMOST A HELLA MEGA TOUR 2!
Instead, we got the lovely Cassyette to open this tour. And she’s the perfect example of this pop-punk 2.0 era we talked about earlier. This young singer released her first single in 2019 called Jean it’s a really modern pop-punk stuff with sometimes a heavy lovely touch. Very quickly, her success increases bringing her to the Download Pilot Festival in 2021 and getting a feature with Frank Carter. We were looking forward to discover her live then and hear her kick-ass songs like Dear Goth! Sadly, the sound of Forest National is just horrible tonight. And the half-empty venue doesn’t help at all. We barely reckon all of her songs. We can see her and her musicians trying to do their best on stage but it’s almost impossible to enjoy the show… We can only expect her to come back in Belgium in 2023 for a proper headliner show in a smaller of venue obviously but with way better conditions!
A 30 minutes break later, the show won a few levels as Simple Plan, almost co-headliner tonight, are coming on stage! It’s been more than 5 years since the Canadian band played in Belgium. Way too long for the many fans here: meaning 100% of the crowd: how is it possible to know Simple Plan and not Sum 41 or the opposite?!
After a Star Wars introduction, the ex-quintet, now a quartet, arrived on stage with one of their classics: I’d Do Anything! Two things came in our mind: the sound is already way better than for Cassyette without being perfect and we gonna spend an amazing night like we were teenagers again! Pierre and his teammates played song after song, huge hymn after another: Shut Up, Jump, Jet Lag, Addicted, etc. Before one of the highlights of their set but also the whole evening: Welcome To My Life. Their iconic hit is still in all our minds: we close our eyes and we still remember how the video looks like! This video we saw so many times on MTV or MCM on television when they released it… 18 years ago. Yeah, we all felt a bit old tonight but who cares?!
SIMPLE PLAN: WE WERE JUST A KID!
Tonight, they played only one new song called Iconic which sounds really modern, a bit different than the last albums, more rock. And another one called Where I Belong, released on a special collaboration album right before the pandemic hit us. If Iconic was a perfect choice, Where I Belong wasn’t really necessary. Another new song or an old one This Song Save My Life would have been better but it’s just a small detail on 1h set.
Another highlight of their set was definitely their mash-up of covers: All Start (Smash Smouth), Sk8er Boy (Avril Lavigne) and Mr. Brightside (The Killers). The crowd just went on fire in 1 second. We just hoped this moment would never stop! The show finished perfectly… with Perfect. Another classic from Simple Plan. And honestly, it would have been the end of the evening without any problems. This set almost felt like an arena headliner one! The band should come back in 2023, hoping they won’t forget Belgium this time.
Like during the change-over between Cassyette and Simple Plan, we’ll hear 30 minutes of pop-punk and emo hits from My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and all these bands we’re actually loving more than ever. So many legendary songs and seems these songs touch us in the deepest part of ourselves, more than ever! Is it just a fashion statement? Hard to believe so. These songs just remind us another time, a time when were were young, a time when we were innocent, a time when we weren’t suffering from the actual world. Well, a time, when we were just happy. The last 3 years or almost have been the darkest of our generations – at least in the place we live in, because we are obviously more privileged than others countries -, the mental health became a worldwide known problem and so many of us are lost in this world. About 15 years, we needed to hear these songs when we were sad after a bad day at school, a small heartbreak or a small fight with friends or parents. And 15 years later, we need these songs again to cheer us up!
Speaking about legendary hits from our teenage years, another big client are coming on stage: Sum 41. Originally launched as a NOFX cover band, The Sums (you got the ref?) quickly started to write their own songs and 25 years later, they are one of the best ambassadors of the pop-punk generation. And even if they’re touring way more often than acts like Simple Plan, it’s always a pleasure to see them live. Both sick performances at Slam Dunk Hatfield and Rock Werchter this Summer confirmed it!
Starting with a combo Motivation + The Hell Song, we couldn’t have ask for a better start we thought… well, it would have been way better with a decent sound! Usually, the quality gets better from band to band but not tonight. Simple Plan had the better sound. For Sum 41, we got the worst. Some people we met after the show told us they had a good sound closer to the stage or even in the higher seats. That being said, it didn’t prevent the whole crowd to get on fire during 100 minutes and go on fire! The same fire we’ll have on stage during many songs. As always, Sum 41 brought a huge production with them: only Green Day and Fall Out Boy have more stuff on stage in the scene!
SUM 41 HEAVIER THAN EVER!
Deryck and his teammates will deliver a strong show with tons of hits from We’re All To Blame to Fat Lip in the encore, playing Underclass Hero, With Me, In Too Deep or Pieces in between. Even if it’s a special anniversary tour, the set-list remain a bit classic with only a few surprises like Mr. Amsterdam played during the encore. One of the many songs that the pit enjoyed a lot. It must also be admitted that with Frank Zummo on drums since 2015 and the return of Dave Baksh in the band the same year, Sum 41 is heavier than ever! Moshpit, circle pit and wall of deaths in the pit; double kick, heavy riff and pyro everywhere on stage: even some metal bands are not so heavy!
But the Canadian don’t only write heavy music. We don’t forget the beautiful balads and yesterday we got obviously the beautiful Pieces and With Me. And instead of a useless but usual cover of Queen, play Never There would have been another great choice! That’s what happen with bands like them: they should play at least 3h to make sure we get all the classics we want!
Set-list: Motivation, The Hell Song, Over My Head, We’re All To Blame, Summer, Fake My Own Death, War, My Direction / No Brains / Rythms / All Messed Up, Underclass Hero, Walking Disaster, With Me, In Too Deep, Pieces, Makes No Difference, We Will Rock You, Still Waiting, Hooch // No Reasons, Mr. Amsterdam, Fat Lip.
The time of one night, we forgot we were in 2022, we forgot all our issues, we forgot all our negative thoughts. The time of one night, we remembered how much we love these bands, we remembered all the good memories from our adolescence, we remembered we are not alone. And most importantly, we created some new memories, some good memories and we all wake up with a smile this morning. Sum 41 and Simple Plan: thank you!