Those familiar with The Forum Theatre in Melbourne will have no difficulty picturing the scenery prior to a sold-out show. A beautiful warm Melbourne night with jostling, excitement and smiles as far as the eye can see along Flinders Street until the snake disappears up Hosier Lane and into the dark. Simple Plan have a long and beloved history with Australia and our fair city in particular, so no prizes for guessing that the fans are out in force to return the favour with unrestrained adoration.
As the crowd swells within this august chamber our openers in Brisbane based band Stateside begin a dynamic performance bursting with energy, appeal and fantastic music. Erin Reus is at home in front of the big audiences and the whole band have the capability to feed off every ounce of audience enthusiasm and return it ten-fold in performance. Hamish Maguire is captivating at the kit and despite the stiff competition of his band mates, you eyes insist on returning back to his sensational drum work. Ethan Laenen and Brendan Heidke provide the fantastic guitar work and Jackson Lehane keeps the rhythm tight via the bass. Must be the cape that helps the four-stringed boy wonder blast us with the superb bass sound. The group provided a brilliant set and warmed up the crowd in a perfect manner for a crowd expecting huge things from Simple Plan. A cover of Heathens provided a welcome familiar sound, but the last track of the performance stole the show. For more information about Stateside visit their Twitter or Facebook accounts.
The short wait between openers is over and thanks to Stateside we are already enjoying a sensation evening, but the dimming of the lights for a second time heralds the arrival of Eat Your Heart Out, and that’s exactly what we do. With a brilliant blend of pop-punk and emo afforded a hearty helping of rock and grunge, the band treat us with their truly magnificent sound couple with stunning stage presence. The kit doesn’t hold together long and Jake Cronin due to a powerful pummeling worthy of the crowd assembled. A sneaky snare change and we are back on track but with all providing such a killer show the bewildering bass skills of Dom Cant remain a central point of reference throughout the performance. Caitlin Henry is captivating both in stage presence and voice while Will Moore and Andrew Anderson maintain their status as a formidable guitar force. Each providing a solid performance and together keeping each song vibrant and alive. For more about this fantastic group visit Twitter or Facebook
Following sufficient opportunity soak up these two fantastic bands and refresher the eager Simple Plan fan within, the time to celebrate has arrived. The venue now stuffed to capacity and a heaving mass waiting to celebrate Simple Plan sold out style, the red search lights scan a screaming crowd and a fog veiled stage reveals nothing more than cloaked moving figures, impossible to distinguish from one another, but then a guitar strum and a “What’s Up Melbourne” caused the crowd to erupt and the band to launch into I’d Do Anything. The entire building seems to jump, thump, stomp and mosh in emoesque celebration of this phenomenally tremendous band. The Worst Day Ever, You Don’t Mean Anything, I’m Just A Kid and When I’m With You make me wonder why I’m regurgitating the album track list considering the tour name and celebration, so instead I will add that the light spectacle accompanying each track enhanced this experience magnificently and is a credit to all the crew involved. With the whole band playing to such an phenomenally impressive standard, and Pierre having visited the front row within the first three songs, a distinct feeling of personal investment envelopes me like seldom before. The doors might as well be padlocked because this show is just for us. This show feels like a private thanks from Simple Plan just to we Melbourne representatives assembled and anything is possible. Perhaps more than a few stared toward the ground in guilty reflection as passing puns of ‘superfans’ using band posters to ‘pleasure themselves’ sends laughter through the room.
From David swapping roles with Pierre and both doing a great job of each, to massive inflatable balls bouncing around the room, advice on not telling your mom to shut the f&^k up and a massive encore of Shut Up, Jump, Boom!, Your Love Is A Lie, Summer Paradise, Crazy and Welcome To My Life, to a brilliant duet with the lovely Erin Reus of Stateside, this was an absolutely astounding show.
Jeff Stinco, Sébastien Lefebvre, David Desrosiers, Chuck Comeau and Pierre Bouvier have been utterly sensational at past shows in Melbourne from Rod Laver Arena to the Prince Bandroom, but tonight was something extra special for fans and passing music aficionados alike. To hear the bands breakout debut album being celebrated in such a dynamic fashion and enhanced with the inclusion of other hits from their expansive catalogue was magnificent indeed.
Sometimes the right venue, the perfect hosts, the perfect light show, brilliant performances and a crowd determined on a great time bring everything together for a benchmark live show that will go with you to the grave as one that brought goose bumps to the flesh and drew the breath from your chest. This was one of those shows. Thank you, thank you, thank you Simple Plan. One cannot imagine what you could possibly muster to make this show any more superlative. Utterly superb.
Review and Photo Contributed by Casper