The early 2000s were a time when pop punk music ruled the airwaves and MTV. Bands like New Found Glory and Good Charlotte were heading the US-front, but for our neighbors to the north, you’d be hard-pressed to find two more successful pop punk bands from that era than Sum 41 and Simple Plan. On Friday August 5th, 2022 we got to see these two great bands up close and personal at the House of Blues, Anaheim,
Earlier this year it was announced they would both be embarking on a co-headlining tour playfully entitled The Blame Canada Tour. The shows would be a celebration of two milestones for both bands. This year is the 21st anniversary of the release of Sum 41’s first full-length album, “All Killer, No Filler.” Simple Plan on other hand released their debut album, “No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls.”
For this tour, the bands would alternate who headlines each night. The opening band did justice to the tour, it was a perfect fit… Magnolia Park.
Magnolia Park is a five piece alternative, pop-punk band. I definitely got Machine Gun Kelly vibes from them. The band opened with “Feel Something” and followed up with “Back On My Bullsh*t.”
The band uses their platform on social media to preach messages of inclusion and equality. Lead singer, Joshua Roberts used his time in between songs to push this same message to a crowd who loudly cheered in agreement. No song reflected this message more than “Don’t Be Racist,” which Roberts repeatedly sang back to the crowd as they sang it right back to him. The band closed their set with “Love Me” and finally, “Sick of It All.”
Thirty minutes after Magnolia Park had finished, the lights dimmed and AC/DC’s “TNT” boomed across the PA, signaling it was time for the first of the Canadian bands to hit the stage.
After a brief intermission, Sum 41 took the stage. They opened with “Motivation” and then moved into a pair of songs off of their follow-up album, “Does This Look Infected?” The Ontario band played both opening tracks, “The Hell Song” and “Over My Head (Better Off Dead),” the former of which featured a gnarly guitar solo by Dave “Brownsound” Baksh.
Lead singer Deryck Whibley reminded the crowd that the show was a celebration of 21 years of “All Killer, No Filler.” As such they were going to doing some special treats, the first being playing a song off that album which they usually do not include even though it is a fan favorite – the snotty, pop punk, “Summer.”
The next treat being that on their first three albums they included one short, almost joke song that they had stopped doing many years ago. They decided to play all three back to back; “ANIC,” followed by “Never Wake Up,” and “T.H.T.” While I’ve heard “ANIC” several times before, I had never heard the other two songs played live, so it was a really cool moment.
The crowd got a little context too, Sum 41’s last record was 2019’s “Order in Decline,” which was arguably their hardest record to date. It focused more on their hard rock and heavy metal upbringing than pop punk. Fret not, however, as Whibley announced on stage that Sum 41 is very close to finishing up their follow-up album, entitled “Heaven and Hell.” Whibley said this would be a double LP, with the first focusing on more pop punk songs and the latter being hard rock.
The guys treated the crowd to a very cool punk/metal cover of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” and had the entire crowd chanting along in rhythm.
For their screaming fans, they closed their set with the monster hit “Fat Lip” (which still gets featured on radio stations across the country) and “Still Waiting.”
The nights headliner was up next. Simple Plan wasted no time as they immediately launched into their hit “I’d Do Anything” as soon as they hit the stage. This is the song that I always remember first being introduced to them, seeing it on MTV’s “Total Request Live,” as it was the first single off of “No Pads.
Fittingly, the band followed this up with a pair of songs off of their sophomore album, “Still Not Getting Any…” – “Shut Up!” and “Jump,” both of which matched, if not eclipsed, the energy and high-pace action of the opening song.
The guys decided to finally let the crowd catch their breath as lead singer Pierre Bouvier mentioned the show was a celebration of 20 years of “No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls,” and that as shocking as it was to still be around, it was only due to the fans who had been supporting them for two decades now.
They slowed the tempo with “The Worst Day Ever,” however only for the one song before turning it back up. Lead guitarist Jeff Stinco began strumming the opening chords to “Addicted,” which elicited screams, shrieks, and cheers for the popular song, which just so happens to be my favorite Simple Plan song.
A fun moment came in later in their set as the band attempted to turn things back to the early 2000s by playing a fun medley of songs. They did a cover of Smash Mouth’s “All Star,” Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi,” and The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.” Keeping with the playful mood, the band launched into “What’s New, Scooby-Doo?” from the rebooted “Scooby-Doo” franchise that they recorded in 2002.
In the past year, Simple Plan’s “I’m Just a Kid” has become a popular TikTok template, where an old photograph is displayed showing people when they were younger and then as the chorus to the song kicks in, a current video plays showing these people now. It was fitting that the band would use “I’m Just a Kid” and “Perfect” to end the night as both were on the “No Pads” album.
It was a fun night of music spanning back over two decades coupled with newer songs from as recently as this year. There were people of all ages present, both those there from the start 20 years ago, and young fans from today. No one would be blaming Simple Plan or Sum 41 for anything except a fun night of pop punk music that made you feel young again.