Sum 41 Celebrate in Phoenix
Anniversary tours often find themselves falling down the rabbit hole of repetition. The idea is cool—artists put a lot of time into curating an album with cohesiveness and variety so it flows perfectly, but fans never get to hear that live until there’s a celebration of the album. On the other hand, the audience knows exactly what’s coming up next, so there isn’t a lot of room to impress. If you thought that Sum 41 was going to keep things typical on the anniversary of Does This Look Infected?, though, you were sadly mistaken.
First to play the night, Super Whatevr has been through Phoenix several times over the past few months, playing a variety of venues but sticking to a consistent sound. They sound like the best parts of the DIY scene smushed together: that gritty, unpolished feel, freedom to experiment, and general apathy toward fitting into a genre. They seem to have a strong future ahead of them, especially with how consistently they’ve been hitting the road.
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Seaway was up next, giving the show some bounce. Their sound is definitely more on the pop side of the pop punk spectrum, which turned out to be a nice complement to the incoming punk side. Personally, I think their stage presence could have used some more movement, but it was an overall great set.
When Sum 41 finally took the stage, something close to insanity began. Crowd surfers rolled in waves to the front, the pit transformed into the moshing variety, and the guys absolutely ate it up. The set started out the way many anniversary tours do, with a fairly straight forward set list that mirrored Does This Look Infected? A few songs in, however, changes started to be made—covers were thrown in, as well as songs from other albums. Among the highlights were a cover of “We Will Rock You,” and a drum tribute to Linkin Park.
The Sum 41 guys generally stick to the policy of “All Killer, No Filler,” during their live shows—they usually seem to skip the philosophical reflections and spend the little time they do leave between songs to hype up the crowd. Certainly not ones for loquacious speeches, front man Deryck Whibley did pause to explain some of the origins of the songs, and the processes that went into the writing of the album in celebration.
See the full gallery of Sum 41 here
Overall, the show successfully payed homage to Does This Look Infected?, broke up the narrative of anniversary tours, and rocked some Phoenician faces off. With a stage full of superbly talented and well-weathered master musicians, Sum 41 has no problem packing a house—even 20 years after their formation. Now that we’ve celebrated what Sum 41 has done, we look forward to seeing what they’ll do next.