Some shows can’t be put into words. Sometimes the band and the album they are celebrating an anniversary of just means too much to you to put into words. That’s when a concert turns into more than a show– it turns into an experience that you will never forget. That’s exactly what Sum 41’s ‘Does This Look Infected’ fifteen year anniversary show on Saturday night turned into.
After one too many drinks at home and a couple too many at the bar across the street from the venue, my friends and I made our way into the beautiful Varsity Theater. As we walked in and through security, we were greeted with the sounds of opening act Super Whatevr. Having never heard of this band before, I was super excited to see what they were all about and, within the first couple of notes that leaked through my ear plugs, I knew I had found a band that would quickly be added to my daily playlist. The California four-piece had a very fun almost pop-punk sound about them but I wouldn’t classify them as cliche pop-punk. The music had a bit more edge to it than bands in that scene making me want to call them more straight up alternative rock but there was no denying the sense of wanting to jump around to the beat. Although the first band on a bill being headlined by a highly anticipated act, Super Whatevr did a great job of giving the sold out crowd an opening set that refused to be ignored. Short and sweet, each song this group played packed a punch that got the restless crowd ready for what was to come.
Following Super Whatevr was Seaway– a band that seems to be taking the current pop-punk scene by storm. With three albums out, this Canadian band has taken over the headlines on many of my music blogs that I follow. Their music seems to honor the old school pop and emo scene of the early 2000’s while still feeling completely fresh and new. That sound translates perfectly to Seaway’s live show that is always full of energy and passion. Having seen these guys a couple of times now, I’m always thoroughly impressed by the way they seem to be constantly evolving. Too many bands seem to hit it big in their scene and then become complacent with their live show but not Seaway. Each time I see them their music seems to get a little bit tighter and their live show a little more energetic. Much like Super Whatevr, Seaway was truly a perfect choice as an opener for this show.
In 2002 Sum 41 released their sophomore album ‘Does This Look Infected’. The album hit myself and a whole generation at a very pivotal point in our lives and quickly became the soundtrack to growing up and figuring out what life means. Like so many other albums, it’s one of those fall backs for me. If I’m having a bad day, I can throw it on and, as it plays, any worry in my mind seems to fall to the wayside. After getting over the initial shock that it has been fifteen years since this album came out, the excitement took over. In the weeks leading up to the show, I found myself planning out when I would jump, when I would clap, and when I would scream along to the lyrics until my voice gave out. Everything was planned out for me but things changed when push came to shove and as soon as Sum 41 took the stage, my friends and I made our way right up to the front and instantly started screaming, shoving, pushing…. what I’m trying to say is I completely lost it as the band started playing through my childhood.
Unlike most bands that do an album playthrough for an anniversary tour, Sum 41 didn’t play the album front to back. The twelve songs of this pivotal album were jumbled up when it came to the order they were played in but that didn’t matter to anyone in the crowd. Each break between songs acted as a break for the rowdy crowd to catch their breath and, as the next song would start, you would inevitably hear someone around you scream, “Holy shit! I forgot about this one!” as they ran into the sweaty pit that formed in the center of the audience. It was that excitement and that energy that made Sum 41’s set feel shorter than any set I had ever seen. Although they played through all twelve songs and added a couple of covers in there, it wasn’t enough. Even with the encore that featured three of my favorite Sum 41 songs (ending with ‘Fat Lip’) it wasn’t enough. As I staggered out of the venue trying to find my friends, I couldn’t help but find myself taking my time hoping that the show wasn’t actually over and it was just an intermission.
Some shows can’t be put into words. Sometimes the smile on my face that stretches from ear to ear says more than this blog ever could. It’s those moments when you wrap your arms around your friends and scream along to the words that helped you get through the toughest times in your life. The moments when you’re drenched in spilled beer and sweat but still have a smile on your face— those are the moments that I just can’t put into words and those were the moments that made up last night’s show.