Photos by Dan Savoie
w/ Marianas Trench, All Time Low, These Kids Wear Crowns
February 11, 2012
About 4,000 teenagers and young adults gathered to watch Canadian pop-punksters Simple Plan and their guests Marianas Trench, All Time Low and These Kids Wear Crowns take the stage at the Pacific Coliseum on the eve of the death of pop superstar Whitney Houston. Despite one long single line to get into the venue that stretched all the way to the street, the excitement of the crowd started to build hours before the gates were even scheduled to open.
It was an impressive line-up with newcomers These Kids Wear Crowns, mid-level rockers All Time Low and Marianas Trench and Canadian pop-punk superstars Simple Plan, who have been a unit since 1999 – that’s 13 years of Montreal teen angst!
Starting the show with their cover of the classic Houston tune I Want To Dance With Somebody, Chilliwack’s These Kids Wear Crowns drove their way through a short, but impressive set, consisting of material mostly from their latest CD Jumpstart, but also some favourites as well. It was an impressive show and really showcased the impressive talent and tighness these guys have. In many ways, These Kids Wear Crowns, was the highlight of the show.
Baltimore, Maryland pop punkers All Time Low, who have headlined Canada on their own last year with a large show filled with lights and screens, was the treat of the line-up. The energy, excitement and pizzazz of this nine year old band shone on even though they performed with a minimal set, smaller than usual space and extreme bare lighting. The incredibly short six-song set list was almost like a neat little greatest hits package. Once they performed I Feel Like Dancin from their latest CD Dirty World, the energy of the audience rose a couple notches. All Time Low sounded polished and slick, but with enough rawness to keep it real.
Sticking out from the pack was Vancouver pop punkers (although the punk is slowly disappearing) Marianas Trench. The theatrics of the band were evident from the uniformed musicians and a staged entrance where glittery vocalist Josh Ramsay emerged from a large Jack-In-The-Box just left of the drum set. The dramatic approach works well for them and their hometown crowd went nuts. The show was laden with pre-recorded background vocals, keyboards and percussion, but the four piece band kept it as honest as they could – even Ramsay sumbled on the lyrics to the show opening Ever After.
Marianas Trench is on to something special and exciting. From the glitter in Ramsay’s hair to the costume jackets and stage set, complete with toy blocks, there’s more here than in your average pop punk band. And as previously mentioned, the punk part of that seems to be slowly disappearing. Although this short-set show had enough punk in it to keep the crowd jumping, the guitars were not as loud and punchy as the other bands, and the vocals are now taking precedence over everything else. Many parts of the show featured vocals only and seems to coincide with the sounds of the new Ever After CD. It will be interesting to see where the band goes next. If they can take the theatrics and vocal chops and mix it properly with their punk past, they could be the next real big thing.
Headliners Simple Plan have never disappointed. Each tour seems to bring more hits and now 13 years since their live debut, the band has more than enough hits and recognizable songs to fill an entire two hour show.
Starting off after a faulty video intro, the Montreal punkers opened with Shut Up from their 2004 album Still Not Getting Any. It’s too bad the video failed because it looked like a really funny piece. The stage was similar to the one they used on the 2005 tour with a display of amps, an led backdrop and four lit boxes at the front of the stage for the four frontmen to stand on at various times during the show. It seems as far as stage design goes, these guys keep it to a simple plan (yeah OK, that was cheesy).
The really impressive part about Simple Plan is the music. Fairly straight ahead pop punk, focused mostly on teen angst and teen issues, the songs really stick out with Pierre Bouvier’s perfect voice for the genre. Nothing screams “screw you” more than Bouvier’s voice – apart from maybe Sid Vicous. Add that with bassist David Desrosiers’ crafted vocals and the quintessential backbone of Simple Plan is there.
With the exception of a slick performance of the new departure single Summer Paradise, which is essentially a stripped down acoustic version of the band, the show was pretty hard core SP. From Jump to Addicted, I’d Do Anything and I’m Just A Kid, it was all there – all the essential songs rolled into two hours. There was even a mini-disco dance party where the band broke out into covers of Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger, Tai Cruz’ Dynamite and LMFAO’s I’m Sexy And I Know It, complete with butt shaking and silly dance moves.
Simple Plan has demonstrated once again why they are the definitive Canadian pop punk band. They have stayed true to the music and their fans, while consistently hitting the charts with every album. Their concerts, just like this one in Vancouver, are always exciting and always worth every penny – and with that penny in mind, $1 from every ticket on this tour also goes to the Simple Plan Foundation to help young people in need, by easing their often difficult passage to adulthood and by supporting the victims of life threatening illnesses.
Simple Plan Set List:
Can't Keep My Hands Off You
(Snippet of the song "I Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas)
When I'm Gone
Freaking Me Out
(ft. Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low)
You Suck At Love
Your Love Is A Lie
(Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5/Dynamite – Taio Cruz/Sexy & I Know It – LMFAO)
Worst Day Ever
This Song Saved My Life
Welcome To My Life
I'd Do Anything
Loser Of The Year
I'm Just A Kid