The recent advent of “anniversary tours” has yielded mixed responses from music fans. Whilst some bands relish the opportunity to celebrate their legacy with albums and songs that defined their spanning careers with a fresh perspective and energy, other’s seem to be phased by the nostalgia factor, using the shows as an easy cash grab.
Simple Plan’s No Pads, No Helmets, Just Balls is undeniably a zeitgeist marker of the early 00s. It signified an era defined by carefree youthful jubilance, days spent skateboarding and never-ending summers. Since then the band have managed to maintain a status as a must-see live act and, a mainstream radio staple without compromising their connection to their roots. As Warped Tour legends and writers of genre-defining songs, at their core, Simple Plan signify everything great about pop punk.
Stirring up early birds thirsty for a night of jumping were Brisbane’s Stateside. Tearing through tracks off their most recent EP Naive the band proved they’ve boiled dark pop-mosh down to a winning formula that’ll see them take over huge stages as a headliner imminently. Frontwoman Erin Rues’ vocal performance was as charming as it was menacing – a combination that carries Stateside’s darker edge that’s peppered with slick guitar leads and epic drumming.
The Fearless Records signees Eat Your Heart Out weren’t afraid to get heavy in front of a crowd who may be more accustomed to the more saccharine things in life, with every track off 2017’s excellent Mind Games played with a burning emotion and ferocity.
Bursting onto the stage in a flurry of energy and excitement, Simple Plan tore through ‘I’d Do Anything’ with the fervour and intensity they would’ve on a day of Warped Tour in 2002. Frontman Pierre Bouvier immediately introduced the crowd to his total knack for banter, filling every break with hilarious anecdotes and stories that recounted the band’s history – celebrating the ups, downs and everything in between.
The iconic opening chords to ‘I’m Just A Kid’ reverberated through the crowd, sending every punter into an angst fuelled meltdown, whilst ‘God Must Hate Me’ and ‘Worst Day Ever’ sent all into a bouncing frenzy, paralleling the band’s pulsating energy. Chuck Cuomo also took the opportunity to take to centre stage during the seminal banger ‘Grow Up’ to express his love for touring Australia before taking a brave stage dive.
Their encore didn’t slow things down – tearing straight into 2004’s anthem ‘Shut Up’ fans were reminded once again why the band have yielded such a lasting influence in their hearts. Erin Rues of Stateside hopped up onstage to once again show off her chops once again during ‘Jet Lag’.
Next year, the band will be celebrating their 20 year anniversary – whether they’ll be making their way to Australia again for another anniversary tour is still up in the air, however, considering how welcomed they were, don’t be surprised if they do.
In 2018, the band are still as enthusiastic and excited by their music as they were as it was released. They aren’t ashamed of their past, they’re embracing their status as legends – a Simple Plan show is still the most fun you’ll ever have.