REVIEW BY DAVID TAYLOR and PHOTOS BY ROBERT A CHADWICK | Go Venue Magazine
On May 20, Canadian pop punk rockers Sum 41 and Simple Plan brought their Blame Canada Tour to Stir Cove at Harrah’s Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The nostalgic memories were flowing through millennials throughout the night, making one Friday night a night to never forget.
Set It Off from Tampa, FL kicked the concert off. They had such a fun stage presence, including the use of neon colors. Led by lead singer Cody Carson, I loved this style of singing, incorporating some R&B, punk, rap, and musical theatre gravitas into it. They have a new album that came out a couple of months ago called, Elsewhere. They truly looked excited to be playing on stage and seem grateful to play for the large crowd.
Simple Plan from Montreal, Canada was the first of the co-headline. These pop punk legends brought so much excitement to the crowd. It seemed like we all entered a time machine and went back to 2002. Lead singer Pierre Bouvier wasn’t sure to address the crowd as either Nebraska or Iowa, so he decided to call the crowd “gamblers”, which made sense since we were on casino grounds. The stand-out performance goes to lead guitarist Jeff Stinco’s shredding guitar skills, a utility that is featured in pop punk, but works well with these guys. They also threw out beach balls during the set and even did a covers set which ended with a cover of The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside”. A surprise of their set came when they played the theme of What’s New, Scooby-Doo?. Their drummer, Chuck Comeau, had some fun during “I’m Just a Kid”, putting on a gas mask and a hazmat suit and jumping into the crowd. Bouvier wrapped up their set by busting out the acoustic guitar, ending their set with one of their well-known songs, “Perfect”. Simple Plan has a new album that just came out called, Harder Than It Looks.
Finally, it was Sum 41 from Ontario, Canada closed out the co-headline. Say what you will about Sum 41, but much like Simple Plan, these guys were huge in the early 2000s. I knew both of these bands had such a large fanbase, but having this concert sold out was pretty surreal, seeing the crowd sing-along to these songs stretching over twenty years. Lead singer Deryck Whibley seems very humble while performing on stage, but with a ton of energy. They all look like they are having fun on stage. They even did a punk cover of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” with guitar solos. I was impressed by the synergistic energy coming from the band to the crowd. Great night, overall. Looking forward to their double album coming later this year. Pop punk is alive and well in Omaha/Council Bluffs, Iowa!