Simple Plan - MEN Arena - 3.10.04

For a band just about to play Europe's biggest indoor arena they don't seem fazed at all. Starting celebrations a day earlier with Avril Lavigne's band at the Bowling For Soup gig across the city at Academy 1 you could say the band have been taking the phrase 24 Hour Party People literally.

The invasion of Canadian quintet Simple Plan has all hallmarks of a band that could be playing the arena in their own right in a couple of years. Opening up with "God Must Hate Me" they connect immediately with the audience. "Shut Up" and "The Worst Day Ever" follow, but it's new song "Welcome To My Life" from forthcoming album "Still Not Getting Any" that really shows signs of being their breakthrough hit. A mid-tempo "Complicated" styled smash that signals a more mature direction. "Perfect World" is a sure fire hit and looks set to be next years "The Reason" (Hoobastank). "I'd Do Anything" closed a set which felt more like a headlining appearance rather than a support slot and in a venue where so many bands have failed it testament to the power of the mighty Simple Plan.

Far from unique Simple Plan however are in the unique position of appealing to a wider audience than contemporaries Bowling For Soup and Blink 182. Aged in their early 20s they deliver tongue in cheek teenage angst soundtracked by punk pop with added guitar solos , which appeals as much to teenage girls as it does to middle aged men going on a nostalgia trip of those teenage moments they should really file away and forget about. If Bowling For Soup are the Jim Carrey of Punk Pop than Simple Plan are the Farrel Brothers- slightly dark, tongue in cheek and a bit more going on than your average slapstick comedy.

Alex McCann

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