When a band is bordering on two decades of putting out music, things get tricky. Somehow, Simple Plan have managed to tweak their sound between albums without alienating too much of their core fanbase. However, it’s undeniable that their debut effort had a simply quintessential sound that many associate with a glorious year: 2002. Spiky hair, baggy three quarter length shorts, living and breathing pop-punk. Tonight is a celebratory night, the 15 year anniversary tour of No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls, hitting England for the fans that have heard the album in recent years, and those that spent rainy English days with dreams of far away Sunny Warped Tour shows.
First up in the extensive line-up is The Bottom Line (★★★★), a band that compliments the headline act perfectly by providing a more modern pop-punk sound that’s heavily influenced by 2002 era of pop-punk. They manage to generate some serious enthusiasm impressively-early on in the evening, from a small crowd that grows as their set goes on.
Milestones (★★★★) are up next. with their own brand of pop-punk straight out of Manchester, smashing through anthems from their debut release, Equal Measures. Milestones sound like a band that, with a few consistent releases under their belt in the future, could be filling out similar sized rooms in no time.
Trash Boat (★★★★★) hit the stage with the energy of a band determined, bounding around the stage with an astounding reservoir of energy. Tom Duncan’s vocals are truly impressive, and he carries himself in front of the crowd with the charisma and presence of a born front-man.
Simple Plan (★★★★★), however, are in a league of their own, hitting the stage to I’d Do Anything, complete with smoke cannons and the crowd singing every word. Pretty much every song on No Pads… was a potential single and it’s clear by the turnout and enthusiasm in the room that it resonates with people no less a decade and a half later.
Pierre’s acoustic rendition of Perfect, with full band and smoke cannons for one hell of a crescendo, is a beautiful performance of an Early-2000s-Emo-iPod-Mainstay and has seemingly every single person singing.
For the encore, Simple Plan roll out 8 songs cultivated from their eclectic discography. Shut Up, Crazy, Jump and Welcome to My Life are easily just as iconic of a much missed bygone era of pop-punk. Soon it’s time for a brief trip to more recent SP, with Summer Paradise and Jet Lag a little lighter in the early work, but even more infectious.
It’s an evening of joyous nostalgia and one that felt completely sincere. 2017 could do with a little more 2002.