Live Review: Sum 41 and Hollerado – O2 Academy, Leeds – 26/02/2017

Not long ago a triumphant Sum 41 tour of the UK to packed out venues and featuring nearly all of the band’s most prominent line-up seemed unlikely. But adversity has a strange ability to reunite bandmates and remind fans why they loved an act in the first place. And that’s just what happened when frontman Deryck Whibley overcame some major health issues to reconnect with original lead guitarist Dave Brownsound, sign to Hopeless Records and release ’13 Voices’, their strongest work in years. Continuing their determined march back from the brink of oblivion the band hit the UK this week for a string of sold out shows. Already Heard made its way to Leeds’ O2 Academy to take in the fun for a night of nostalgia and pop-punk tinged with hair metal mayhem.

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Proceedings got off to an inauspicious start, Toronto’s Hollerado and their unremarkable brand of indie slacker punk making for pleasant enough if forgettable fare. Think an aesthetic that aspires to Weezer with angular Franz Ferdinand reminiscent indie riffs. The quartet are big on harmony and vocal riffs, but felt lacking in substance. That said the super peppy chorus hook of ’So It Goes’ got sections of the crowd warmed up just fine. (2.5/5)

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With a little help from a drawn out and theatrical into, the atmosphere in the O2 Academy had reached a veritable fever pitch by the time a curtain dropped to reveal Wibley and co launching into ’Fake My Own Death’. This started a set that from the off felt arena worthy with its presentation, structure and feel. But it was the distinctive intro riff of old favourite ’The Hell Song’ that properly unleashed the first real carnage in the pit.

The string of hits from the back catalogue scattered liberally throughout the set kept energy levels and enthusiasm consistently high, but a vociferous reaction to new song ’There Will Be Blood’ showed the tracks from the latest album were also finding their mark. ’Underclass Hero’ provided a reminder of why it’s one of the band’s most anthemic and under-rated tracks, with every word roared back at the stage.

Accompanied by some burly security, Deryck charged through the crowd to lead them in a stirring rendition of ’With Me’ from a small stage at the back of the room, drinking every second of adoration. Later an adept and punked up cover of Queen’s ’We Will Rock You’ went down a storm, before ’Still Waiting’ and ’Into Deep’ brought the set proper to a breathless close.

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Keeping the showmanship and drama to the maximum the packed room was treated to not one, but two encores as well as the obligatory drum solo. The first seeing Wibley perform a fragile and moving version of ’Pieces’ on the piano building to a glorious full band crescendo. Before the moment everyone was waiting for, the chance to lose their minds like teenagers again to ’Fat Lip’

, which provided a moment as euphoric as it gets at a rock show.

Based on the presence and poise of a masterful performance, and the delirious reception it received, Sum 41 are riding one of the waves of their career at present. If they can only pull out another album with tracks the quality of their biggest hits, it could easily carry them into playing arenas. They certainly have the show and the back catalogue for it. The undisputed of kings of the pop-punk glam metal crossover of are rejuvenated, fighting fit and ready to put the new generation of upstarts in their place. (4.5/5)


Words by Dane Wright (@MrDaneWright). Photos by Jade Till.


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