Story and Photos: Spencer Fleming
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Now back to the story....
It was another fantastic evening at Harrah's Stir Concert Cove as the Blame Canada tour made it's way through Omaha/Council Bluffs. Over 3,500 fans packed the house to rock out with pop-punk legends Sum 41, Simple Plan, and the new-comers Set It Off.
Both Sum 41 and Simple plan are celebrating 20 years of their major label debut albums, All Killer No Filler and No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls. Fans of all ages showed up to dance, sing, and go wild, but the majority of folks I encountered were now in their 30s and 40s and even have kids of their own. It was awesome to see the younger kids taking an interest in these two bands with such a long history.
The first band up was Set It Off from Tampa Florida. I recalled shooting Set It Off shortly before the pandemic started when they came to Lincoln on the Sleeping With Sirens tour. What I recalled from that show was all the band members had wild hair colors. This time around things hadn't changed much. The guys all had wild hair colors and flashy neon outfits. But don't let the wild colors detract from the fact that they're solid performers. The lead singer sounds a lot like Brendon Urie from Panic! at the Disco. Set It Off definitely falls wayyy on the pop side of pop-punk but their tunes had the crowd on their feet ready to dance.
I ran into several fans all over the lawn and down in front that had Set It Off merch and who were really psyched to see them.
Our own collaborator Linsey and her boyfriend made the trip from Lincoln just for Set It Off, but there was a mix-up with the time and they got there just after their set. I talked to some other fans and they too thought the show was at 8:00, not 7:00. Bummer! I'm sure they'll come through again soon. Their new album Elsewhere just dropped a few months ago so they probably have a long stretch of touring into next year. You can check out Set It Off here:
Next up was Simple Plan from Montreal. As a co-headliner, the band an extensive set including several tracks from their 20-year-anniversiary album No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls. The crowd instantly lit up when they kicked off with "I'd Do Anything". When this song came out it rocketed Simple Plan to the top of MTV popularity. Mark Hoppus from Blink 182 did guest vocals on the track originally and appeared in the video so that didn't hurt, but it was definitely the springboard for hundreds of thousands of album sales.
I'll admit even I was transported back in my nostalgia. I remember my first year of college jamming this CD with my friends and skateboarding in a church parking lot. While we all had jobs, there were no kids or marriages to speak of and it felt like anything was possible. I'm sure a ton of fans in the house felt the same way from the loud sing-alongs and bright smiles.
Simple Plan did an awesome job keeping the party going. They pulled out a really great cover of "Mr. Brightside" by the Killers, but honestly my favorite part (aside from the drum switch-up and crowd surfing), was when they played the Scooby Doo theme song! Now that I have kids I recognized it instantly. Honestly, it is a straight up banger though. Give it a spin and tell me I'm wrong! I saw tons of kids and even adults with Scooby Doo shirts throughout the night, so I'm sure they were fired up when they played that song.
Towards the end of the set the band switched things up by having the drummer sing and Pierre the lead singer took over on drums. Even Set It Off came out to join the jam. The drummer said "I always wanted to be the lead singer of this band!". He crowd surfed into the first three rows of fans but not before donning a full biohazard suit and gas mask for safety. It was an absolute riot! I had a lot of fun covering their set. You can check out more about Simple Plan here:
After Simple Plan it was time for the pop-punk/metal masters Sum 41 to close out the show. The stage filled with smoke against a giant stack of amps painted with dripping blood. As the band stepped out the crowd went absolutely crazy for these crazy Canadians.
Like Simple Plan, Sum 41 kicked things off with "Motivation", a single from their 20-year album All Killer No Filler. Within the first 30 seconds I could already sense the commotion behind me as the first couple rows of the VIP pit started to thrash around sending beers high in the air and security scrambling. Luckily I wasn't hit by any crowd surfers going over the rail (word to the wise, the security told me they have a zero tolerance for crowd surfing. Get caught and you're kicked out). C to the T baby (Do the Crime do the Time), haha.
I was really psyched when Sum 41 continued their set with "The Hell Song" from their sophomore album Does This Look Infected? From the opening riff, to the wicked solos and catchy lyrics it's an amazing album opener and it went over really well with the sold out crowd. Shortly after "The Hell Song" lead singer Derek addressed the crowd "Wow, we got some crazy mfers in the house tonight?" "We got some circle pits going over here!" The crowd responded by going absolutely nuts for the duration of the set. The circle pits raged all night!
Sum 41 did an awesome job bringing the crowd back to their Warped Tour glory days by focusing the majority of their set on songs from All Killer No Filler and older cuts like "Still Waiting", "Underclass Hero", and "Walking Disaster".
While Sum 41 started as a pop-punk band they really swayed more towards metal after their first couple albums. Even in their pop-punk songs they still have a tendency to shred on guitar and pull out killer solos more akin to a Judas Priest or Motley Crue. In interviews that I've seen lead singer Derek has mentioned that the bands forthcoming record will be half pop-punk and half metal. The album is due later this year and I for one am super stoked to check it out after the injection of energy I got from covering this show.
You can check out more about Sum 41 here:
Huge shout out to Sum 41 and Simple Plan's management for photo access and to Stir Concert Cove for hosting. Also a quick shout out to Stories from the Crowd superfan Justin! During Simple Plan photos I turned around and spotted him the crowd and got a high-five. I love looking into the crowd and seeing fans of our work.
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Set It Off
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