Two tours converged on Minneapolis last night and combined to make one of the best, if not the best line-ups of the year. You had the heavy hitting tour of Sum 41, The Amity Affliction and The Plot in You and then you had the fun-loving tour of Authority Zero, Bowling for Soup, and Less Than Jake. Yeah, to say the line-up was bipolar would be an understatement but to say it was a super fun and unique line-up that I am so honored to have been able to experience would also be an understatement.
The show started off with a personal favorite of mine- Authority Zero. Sadly their last scheduled show in Minneapolis was cancelled (the band made it a point to announce that is was not their fault… the show was cancelled on them) but they definitely made up for it during their quick seventeen (not kidding) minute set. This Arizaon based band has a super unique sound that takes all of the best elements of reggae and skate punk and mashes them up to create an infectious vibe that was the best way to kick off the massive six band show.
Things moved fast and before I knew it, Authority Zero was being replaced by The Plot In You. One of the heavier acts on the bill, The Plot in You gave the audience everything they had during their short set. It was definitely a bit of a shock musically having just gotten the fun-loving tastings of Authority Zero but The Plot In You’s powerful set had the audience getting a rowdy which, for 5:30 on a Saturday evening, says a lot. Vocalist Landon Tewers had something very captivating about him and, although I have seen these guys before, something felt so much more genuine and deep about their performance last night than I had ever felt before.
I was beyond excited as Less Than Jake took the stage. The second they kicked into their set I couldn’t help but start dancing around and singing along even though I was also trying to take photos at the same time. Always fun and always engaging, I love the fact that no matter how many times I see this band (and we’re up to over 30 times), they always have fun on stage and, although they play every song fairly flawlessly, they always have a banter with each other and the audience that you can’t help but laugh at. Much like the change from Authority Zero to The Plot In You, the change from The Plot In You to Less Than Jake was drastic but somehow worked. I chalk that up to the fact that every band that took the stage last night truly love what they are doing and you can feel that. Mix that with the party-like atmosphere from the audience and you are left with the perfect line-up even with how random it seemed.
It has been years on years since I’ve been able to catch Bowling For Soup but the band made up for all of the last time with their performance on Saturday. Even with all of the time that has passed, not much has changed with this band. “Older, Fatter, But Still The Greatest Ever!” is the name of their new live album and honestly, that’s the perfect title. Vocalist Jaret Reddick instantly called out the elephant in the room by admitting that, like the album titles states, they are older and fatter but no, he did not eat Guy Fieri (Jaret has put some weight on over the years and seems to have become the butt end of many jokes due to it). It’s that attitude and that fun-loving shtick that has always had me sold on this band. From their hit songs of “1985” and “Girl All The Bad Guys Want” to their cover of Fountain of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom” (they had to explain to the audience that that was not their song), the band had the entire audience singing along to every word and jumping up and down to every beat. Although this band definitely doesn’t get the amount of press and appreciation that they did back in the early 2000’s, it was so nice to see that they haven’t changed. They are still just as goofy as they used to be and still putting out quirky and fun music.
Australian metalcore band The Amity Affliction stormed the stage after Bowling For Soup and took the audience to the other side of the spectrum. Intense and aggressive, I was a little surprised by how this band clearly meant to much to so many in the audience. I was shamelessly at last night’s show for the nostalgia factor of the night which left me on the sidelines for The Amity Affliction but watching the almost constant stream of crowd surfers and the amount of people being spit out of the pit all sweaty and out of breath made it clear that I was one of the few people purely there for nostalgia. The energy was just as high for The Amity Affliction as it had been for Bowling of Soup but it had taken a more serious turn. An undeniable sense of passion had replaced the sense of fun that Bowling For Soup had created. That sounds like a bad thing but I promise it wasn’t. I was amazed by how much this band meant to the people around me and it made me want to go home and dig into them a little bit more. I’ve seen The Amity Affliction before but had never felt what I felt last night which tells me that this band is one to watch and will soon be headlining sold out shows like last night’s.
I’m not going to lie, I was exhausted as the stage was changed over for the headliner but I was beyond excited to get to witness Sum 41 perform again. I went years of my life without seeing this band and you could say I missed seeing them in their prime but I’ve had the honor of catching them a few times over the past couple of years and they never fail to impress me. Sure, it’s not the early 2000’s and their hit song “Fat Lip” didn’t just come out but I feel like their live shows have never faltered and this band has truly only gotten better with time. Although last night’s show was in support of their brand new album ‘Order In Decline’, Sum 41 played through a set of twenty songs that spanned their entire catalog picking out the best songs. Even though the power cut out during “Still Waiting”, the audience didn’t miss a single beat and finished up the song for the band. I loved the fact that, although this band has been around for what seems like ages (my dad even seemed shocked when I told him who I was going see) they have continued to stay relevant and continue to gain fans. Sure, I never saw Sum 41 in their prime but who’s to say this isn’t the prime of this band. It sure felt like it last night.
Last night’s line-up was as bipolar as my daily playlist making it the perfect show for a perfect Saturday night. Add the fact that I got to play role of photographer and live out a life long dream of being able to shoot a band as iconic as Sum 41 from the photo pit (the area between the stage and audience) and you are left with a night that I will never forget.