SYN REVIEWS: SIMPLE PLAN

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Works by Matilda Elgood
Photos by Jack Hollenberg

In celebration of the 15th Anniversary of their debut album, “No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls”, Simple Plan brought their tour to Australia. The band stopped over in Melbourne for two sold-out shows at The Forum. Joined by supports from Stateside and Eat Your Heart Out, the anticipation in the air was high with the room keen for a throwback.

Simple Plan took to the stage opening with “I’d Do Anything”, the first track of the album. Surprisingly, the band played as tight as ever despite being over 15 years the original release of the album. The most significant downside of a 15th-anniversary tour is the fact that all the fans are also 15 years older, which means EVERYONE is a giant. If you were lucky, you could maybe catch a glimpse of frontman, Pierre Bouvier. At least no matter where you were standing you were able to hear the awkward juxtaposition of the Canadian humour to the Australian ear. There’s nothing better than enjoying a band with a cult following, who would usually miss these cringe moments, and be unbiased enough to soak in every single piece of offbeat banter.

The band performed the album from start to finish, hitting all the crowd favourites, “I’m Just a Kid” and “Addicted”. It’s incredible how well a brain can retain lyrics that haven’t been heard in years and still be able to recall everyone. On that note, nothing ruins an old-school banger by ending it with a dab (looking at you Simple Plan). Bouvier then took a moment to let a joke about porn go too far before awkwardly spinning the story into “My Alien”, dedicated to the girls in the crowd. An interesting segway. Roasts aside, Bouvier’s vocals at the end of “God Must Hate Me” were surprisingly incredible. A stand-out of the night.

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A personal highlight of the between-song banter was Bouvier appreciating each of his members individually. He started off with the “most attractive” member and continued to the “second most-attractive” and then realised that he had just dug himself a hole with the last guy, inadvertently calling him the ugliest. One can only imagine how he crawled out of that one backstage later. Not to mention, Bouvier relished in the fact that they all still have their hair. Meanwhile, guitarist, Jeff Stinco is entirely bald. Bouvier was definitely in the doghouse tonight. As the show wore on, the band decided to kick it up a notch by throwing some of their merchandise into the crowd. Simple Plan signed beach balls! Although, the one floating around the crowd was almost amusing before you knew it the room was full of them bouncing around and the vibe was noticeably higher. One should never doubt a band, who’s on a 15th-anniversary tour, and their ability to turn it up.

Although humour can’t always translate, emotion usually can. Bouvier quickly flicked the switch and melted the crowd’s hearts. Before breaking into “Perfect”, the song every kid resonated with at some point, he thanked the Australian crowd for their continued support. Even though every international act confesses their love for Australia, I believed it this time. There was a definite “oh honey” moment when the band appeared blown away that they had previously played at Rod Laver Arena and now they were playing at The Forum Theatre. Suppressing a little giggle, the crowd let this one slide to save the moment. As the song finished, Bouvier took of his shirt tied it up and threw it into the crowd. Surprisingly, someone was very excited to get the sweaty “Role Model” slogan shirt. Half of the crowd was trying to catch the t-shirt, and the other half was trying to catch a peek at the dad bod running off stage.

After a roared crowd begged the band back, Simple Plan re-emerged and simultaneously the backdrop fell dramatically. Bouvier came out with a new t-shirt, a grey one no less. Brave choice. The band brought an extreme amount of energy back with them. They powered through a colossal encore, seven songs long. During iconic songs, “Shut Up” and “Jetlag” the crowd pulled their friends upon their shoulders, a point of difference from the usual atmosphere of the Forum. The absence of Sean Paul in “Summer Paradise” was almost unforgivable until “Welcome to My Life” played out. The entire crowd sang along straight from the first lyric. Incredibly, Bouvier managed to keep his grey t-shirt dry during the whole encore and every cringe moment was forgotten in the peak of the best emo banger ever. Hopefully Australian won’t be left too long before hearing it live again.