Live Music + Gig Reviews

Sum 41 @ Electric Ballroom, London

30 September 2004


Sum 41

Sum 41

The Electric Ballroom tonight plays host to the titans of nu-pop-punk Sum 41, and with the bouncers having more trouble shooing off boozing louts outside than with the pre-pubescent rebels entering it, tonight will mostly go down as their least eventful gig yet. As the merchandise stall is flooded by parents writing cheques, yes cheques, to pay for their offspring’s new Sum 41 trucker caps, warm up act Viking Skull take the stage in front of a somewhat impatient Ballroom.

If The Darkness are Thin Lizzy for the new millennium, then Viking Skull are out to make a quick buck on AC/DC‘s back. With blues metal at its most basic (and best!) the motley crew of Raging Speedhorn members and other assorted northern degenerates play a most impressive set, with Sum 41 guitarist Brown sound standing side stage and grinning like a Cheshire cat throughout.

Then it’s time for the headliners. The Canadian quartet rattle through classic anthems such as Suddenly and Over My Head with the kind of infectious gaiety that has ensured them the multi-platinum pedestal they now possess. By the time the boys get around to what is ultimately the point of tonight’s pre-album release gig in the form of new single We’re All To Blame, the crowd is suitably primed for what is a more metallic sounding, grown up lyrical content than their previous efforts.

At first it was no more than a sneaking suspicion that this new found maturity may have blown straight over the pint sized audiences heads, but when frontman Deryck Whibley dedicates Moron to GW Bush and proceeds to attack the leader of his neighbouring nation through a deadly combination of power chords and cheeky cuss words, it was clear that the little runts could’ve been jumping around to pro-war propaganda and they would’ve been none the wiser.

But parents are a little harder to fool as Welcome To Hell proves, with Whibley proclaiming his twisted sexual fantasies towards the Prince of Darkness as countless chaperones reach to cover their little darlings ears in shock. As if feeling the tension in the air, the mischievous four quickly slip back into expected territory with Makes No Difference and Fat Lip getting things nice and sweaty again.

Still Waiting provides my personal high point of the evening with pop punk power at its very best, and then the candle of hope in the future of rock is relentlessly crushed as the band drop into Rage Against The Machine‘s Bomb track and everyone starts scratching their head wondering which Sum 41 album it is on. Woe is me. The encore consists of the ever amusing Pain for Pleasure and old favourite Bitter End, which it was indeed.


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Sum 41 @ Electric Ballroom, London