Sum 41/ Reuben / Sound & Fury - Manchester Academy 1 - 26.2.08

The queue leading up to the Academy 1 could easily be mistaken for families waiting for a high school parents evening. Mixed with the hundreds of twelve to sixteen year old eager Sum 41 fans are their middle aged chaperons for the evening.

As the excited and accompanied teenagers run to the merchandise stands to buy their Canadian heroes t-shirts its plain to see that no matter who shares the stage with Sum 41 they are only here to see one band play.

First up is Sound & Fury who have travelled across the pond from Canada like their fellow headliners. Their sound is confusing, basic and doesn’t even have a catchy moment to them to say the least. Their front man looks like he should be in Rancid, but sounds like he should be in the beastie boys, where their sound is a cross between Kiss and an early 90’s punk band with the odd Slash styled solo popping up here and there. Songs like ‘I’ve got rabies’ and ‘Night of the ghouls’ just pass over the crowds heads as if they are no existent, and the normal movement from the young audience is no where to be found.

Reuben are really wasted on tonight’s crowd and their musical maturity & song structures are supreme to the other bands on the bill. The sound that is produced by the band really makes it hard to believe that its just 3 members on stage unlike many bands in their genre producing such a rich and powerful sound.

Their opener ‘Cities on Fire’ is an epic mixture of emotion with a heavy tinted riff for a verse which collides with its tame but pretty chorus which shares a sound alike to early Deftones and Glassjaw material. Second song ‘Blood Bunny Larkhall’ continues in the similar vain of the bands opener but after this Reuben’s songs seem to die a little in energy and become more tame.

‘Agony/Agatha’ is clearly one of the highlights of Reuben’s set. This distorted and dirty bass lead rock song is a surprisingly dancey number and its chorus sores across the academy and is executed with perfection.

Reuben announce they are returning to Manchester soon to play a headline show and where they may not have made many fans at this particular gig due to the age of their audience, the band have the talent and sound to make great progress in their genre.

Back in 2001 Sum 41 broke into the mainstream and you couldn’t look at an issue of Kerrang without seeing the 4 young Canadian pop punkers staring back at you through some crazy cover shoot. Now a founding member down and three albums later the band blast through their hits while front man Deryck Whibley throws out his toilet humoured banter to the crowd which at times seems to last for way too long.

The headliners open with their new single ‘Underclass Hero‘ which shares a similar riff to Fat Lip but the crowd are loving it and start to dance. The sound at first is dominated with way too much bass, but a few songs in the guitars are levelled up and Sum 41 provide a tight set which gives their hit singles a justified finish. Crowd pleasers like ‘The Hell Song’ and ‘Motivation’ go down a treat as does their new material which really does have a Blink 182 esque styling and format to it and brings nothing new or exciting to the pop punk genre.

The night is rounded off with the pop punk anthem ‘Fat Lip’ which has the crowd going crazy before finishing on the tribute song to 80’s hair metal ‘Pain for Pleasure’ which is accompanied by an impressive light show to end a pretty average but entertaining night of live music in Manchester.

Joe Lennox

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