Simple Plan

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Concert Review by Jamie Homer

The Astoria, London – 23 February 2005

Hot off a sold out gig last night in Birmingham, Simple Plan gigged tonight at the Astoria in London on their second night of four here in the UK. They follow up with shows in Manchester tomorrow night and Glasgow Friday night. Montreal based Simple Plan are Pierre Bouvier on vocals, Chuck Comeau on the drums, Jeff Stinco on lead guitar, Sebestian Lefebure on the guitar and backup vocals and David Desrosiers on the bass and backup vocals.

Supporting Simple Plan tonight and all four nights in the UK are the Glitterati. Coming from Leeds, but based these days in London, the Glitterati first formed in November 2002. I only caught the tail end of their set, but from what I saw, I liked. They have great stage presence and songs like BACK IN POWER, FIRST FLOOR and YOU GOT NOTHING ON ME are good old fashioned rock and roll through and through.

At 7pm the Astoria is packed, sold right out. I was told that kids had been lined up as early as 8am today for this gig. What I notice as I scan the crowd is not so much the size of it but the average age: 14. I guess this is where Simple Plan’s strength lies these days. I must confess that there was a certain amount of energy at the Astoria in the minutes before Simple Plan took the stage and this energy only increased throughout the night and the gig.

Simple Plan’s music is just that: a simple plan to play good music, to not take themselves too seriously, to entertain the crowd and give people their money’s worth. I am most impressed with how Pierre and Sebastian interact with the crowd, with how the crowd responds and with the number of crowd surfers who end up at the front of the stage.

Supporting their second studio work STILL NOT GETTING ANY released earlier this week, they open their set with SHUT UP, an up-beat easy to listen tune that really kick starts the show and gets the already loud crowd right into the night. They follow up with WORST DAY EVER and JUMP which induces 2000 people to do just that in unison and shakes the floor of the Astoria in a truly impressive manner. Pierre repeatedly addresses the crowd, Sebastian throws bottles of water and Jeff walks the stage in a determined manner while Chuck holds the harmony of the band with his tight drumming. Simple Plan are a tight band; there is no doubt they enjoy playing together and their onstage energy is transferred to the atmosphere in the herds of people.

One of my highlights to the show was a surprise cover of an old Turtle’s tune called HAPPY TOGETHER which is not likely to have the same effect on the majority of the fans who are too young to appreciate it. They follow up with YOU DON’T MEAN ANYTHING TO ME, GROW UP and WELCOME TO MY LIFE. I wonder if I am the only one at this show who is confused when one song ends and the next begins? Do they really all sound the same? Maybe it is just me?

Despite the samey sounding songs with simplistic lyrics, Simple Plan is a very entertaining band with tons of energy. The show overall was great. It had all the elements that a live gig should have: upbeat music, crowd interaction, energy on stage and genuine pleasure to be playing live music. The band is a humble group of guys who do not take their massive North American fame for granted. They have worked hard to get where they are now and if their current tour is any hint as to their work ethic, they are not slowing down one bit.