Simple Plan

support Elliot Minor
author PP date 30/03/08 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

You can consider me a Simple Plan convert. I used to hate everything Simple Plan up 'til about three years ago when I caught them live because they had brought Canadian emo/screamo act Silverstein with them to play in Store Vega, Copenhagen, Denmark. That set changed my perception of the band permanently. Their set was so energetic, so full of vivid, colorful lighting and infectiously catchy songs that there was no way I couldn't have liked it. I can still remember the floor of Store Vega bending underneath the 1500 or so fans jumping up and down in harmony to songs like "Jump" and "Shut Up". So I knew exactly what I was going in for tonight, a nearly sold-out crowd of screaming teenage girls who consider Simple Plan their heroes. But even that hadn't prepared me to the sight of 100 or so people queuing outside the venue already at half past 2 in the afternoon, considering how the doors opened first at 19:00. I guess some people do anything to get to the front for their favorite band...which brings me to my first complaint: Why does the Vega website state that the show starts at "20:00" and disregard the fact that doors open already at 19:00? Thinking I'm well on time for the supporting act Elliot Minor, I arrived at roughly quarter past 8, only to discover that Elliot Minor's set had been going on full blast for over fifteen minutes now.

Elliot Minor

Question: Who the hell are Elliot Minor? How can they be this good live/on record without having released a single album/EP yet? Living on only a couple of single relases in the UK and none in Denmark as far as I'm aware, the band is just about gearing up for the release of their debut album, but live they are one of the tightest band's I've seen for a while. Supported by a near-perfect sound-quality, their classical-music influenced choruses impressed me straight away, and their genuine, honest stage performance did the same. Somehow this band has perfected the art of standing still by their microphones, rocking from side to side, and make it seem like an awesome musical performance. During the solos and the instrumental bits the band members exploded into every direction of the microphones, doing jumps, circles, and all the classic pop punk trickery, despite the band being positioned rather far away from the said genre. Shame I didn't get to catch more than fifteen minutes of their set, but one thing's for sure: that set made me really excited for their forthcoming debut album.

Simple Plan

Time for tonight's main act: Simple Plan. Entering on the stage with the backing track of the electronic elements of "Generation", the band got the girls screaming and the crowd moving straight away. I can't say I'm a big fan of the song but somehow it worked as a decent opening for the show, and lead the band straight away into the faster pop punk track "Take My Hand". But by this song, the backing track shit started bothering the hell out of me. I understand the need for a backing track for the electronic elements given that the band doesn't have a DJ in their band, but once you see their drummer just sitting still during an elementary drum beat that even I could easily do, you get pissed off over the artificiality of the show. On record, things are different and you can use looping tracks and whatnot, but live you should be able to play those songs. The only thing drummer Chuck was doing in the song was fortifying some of the drum beats and hitting the cymbals every now and then - pathetic choice by the band if you ask me.

Luckily, the band saved their set from absolute destruction from a critical perspective by playing "Shut Up" straight after. Now this is a song that has kick to it, and had the entire audience moving, singing along loudly (which didn't happen during the two new songs), and even the band itself looked like it was having much more fun playing than in the two songs before. Especially rhythm guitarist Lefebvre seemed relieved, as he was now allowed to jump all over the place and enjoy playing some solid pop punk. But something was still wrong - where was the volume? My trusted earplugs, which I wear to every show, could've just as well been in my pocket because the volume at Store Vega was perhaps half of that what it usually is. Maybe it was because the show was an all-ages show, and there were so many children and young teenagers around, but it took so much power away from the band's show. I don't know about you guys, but I can't imagine rocking out hard to my song when the volume is nearing the level of my home stereos. Despite the sound-levels, "Jump" continued the trend of great old songs, and like the title already suggests, it had the entire audience jumping up and down, bending the floor of Store Vega the same way as it happened in 2005.

After that, however, Simple Plan returned to the crappy backing track stuff. "When I'm Gone" saw about half of the instruments on backing track (and even bits of vocals??) which isn't something I'm going to allow them to get away with. Couple that with Lefebvre's facial impressions which could best be described as him thinking "oh God why am I forced to play this crap", and the fact that he lost all that energetic movement that he had in the earlier songs. Some kind of conflict of objectives within the band, perhaps? The contrast between vocalist Pierre and bassist David was stark: these two held the crowd in the palm of their hands especially in the newer songs, and David's Pete Wentz-style look and "the second frontman" antics had all the girls of the venue wish he'd take them backstage after their set. The set continued with the band alternating with the (mostly) crappy new songs that lacked all passion and the older songs that were fast, fun, enjoyable and received a much better reception from the crowd. Towards the end of the set, however, it was time for Simple Plan to introduce the ballads, and Pierre even made his way to the mixer desk in the middle of the crowd for one of the ballads. But when the volume at the venue is so low, the ballads came across as even weaker than they do on record, and mostly bored me and my companions at the show tonight.

To sum it all up, Simple Plan's new album seems to have removed a lot of the steam and joy from their live show, both from their stage performance and from the crowd. Before every song used to get everyone worked up and you could sense the temperature of the venue rising to dangerous levels, whereas today only half of the songs did that. For a die-hard fan of Simple Plan, however, tonight's show must have been extra great considering that the band played a whopping 16 tracks live today. But for a casual listener and a critic, especially the backing track seems like an impossible obstacle to truly enjoying the show.

Setlist:

  • 1. Generation
  • 2. Take My Hand
  • 3. Shut Up
  • 4. Jump
  • 5. When I'm Gone
  • 6. Addicted
  • 7. End
  • 8. Me Against The World
  • 9. Your Love Is A Lie
  • 10. Time To Say Goodbye
  • 11. I Can Wait Forever
  • 12. Welcome To My Life
  • 13. I'd Do Anything
  • 14. What If

---Encore---

  • 15. You Don't Mean Anything
  • 16. Perfect

Comments
comments powered by Disqus

Legal

© Copyright MMXVIII Rockfreaks.net.