It’s been three years since Canadian pop punkers Simple Plan played a show in Amsterdam, with that gig (much like every show the band play) selling out. With a fifth studio album impending early next year, the band also played five accompanying sets on the Vans Warped tour this summer, before releasing new single Boom just yesterday. To precede the upcoming record, the band have taken to touring briefly through mainland Europe, with the quintet hitting Amsterdam’s Paradiso on 26 August. Support came from the Hilversum-based pop punk group The Overslept, who are still in the baby steps period of their career. Read on for a full live review.

The Overslept received an extremely warm welcome as they took the stage of a packed Paradiso. Their thirty minute set was very reminiscent of early Simple Plan, which was something that the baying fans appreciated quite nicely. Despite this, though, the band did also add some extra synths and poppier elements to their music, which made for a slight variation on the pop punk theme. Although the set was quite short at thirty minutes, The Overslept still managed to pack in a full show of well-received pop punk bangers. The songs were all relatively short, with some sound problems also popping up throughout the set. At some points during the show, the drums were heard to be overtaking other instruments and overpowering everybody else. This was quite a shame, as the rest of the instruments were played with tight precision and a sense of real urgency. Three band members occupied vocal duties, amongst them the energetic frontman Sem Jonkhout. All in all, the set came across like a thrill ride on a fast rollercoaster, perfectly warming up the crowd for Simple Plan.

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Picture: The Overslept’s Facebook page

A long intro preceded Simple Plan’s arrival onstage, before the Pierre Bouvier-fronted quintet kicked into set opener Jet Lag. From the off, the crowd went wild to a point where the roof almost seemed to disconnect itself from the rest of the Paradiso. Can’t Keep My Hands Off You’s classic pop punk sound encompassed jumpy chords, upbeat verses and a huge chorus which saw the whole 1,500-capacity crowd sing along. The band proceeded to intersperse a snippet of the Black Eyed Peas I Gotta Feeling into the energetic Jump. Jump is a song which demonstrates the epitome of pop punk, as it bears the genre’s hallmark lyric – “I’m sick of this town”. You’ll be hard pushed to find a band in this field who haven’t incorporated a lyric like this into their music. Simple Plan were simply the band who planted this seed. Welcome to My Life and The Rest of Us followed, before Your Love Is a Lie somewhat slowed down proceedings with clicking percussion and acoustic guitars. The first half of Simple Plan’s set followed a comparable formula, consisting of a handful of upbeat tracks, before one slower track split the show into parts. New single Boom received an outing
halfway through the show, before being officially released two days later. It demonstrates another poppier side to Simple Plan’s music which is both equal parts pop punk as it anthemic pop rock. It might’ve not been the best known song that the band played, but it still gained a good reception from the diehard fans who have followed its live outings the last few shows. Special mention must be inserted here for guitarists Jeff Stinco and Sebastien Lefebvre, who both expressed bucketloads of energy from start to finish.

As the show reached its halfway point, it was clearly notable that the onstage energy started becoming slightly more laboured. Although Bouvier didn’t stop interacting with the crowd, it eventually did come to a point where you saw that every word he said was almost written for him by the tour manager. “We love Amsterdam, it’s our favourite city” and “You guys have been the best crowd ever” were just two examples of terrible clichés that Bouvier used to fill the gaps between songs. Mark Hoppus collaboration I’d Do Anything featured later on, presenting itself as one of a handful of tracks taken from 2002 debut album No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls. Fellow album cuts I’m Just a Kid and Perfect also featured, with this pairing subsequently closing out the whole evening in classic pop punk style. This wasn’t before hit single Summer Paradise made an appearance though, with its summery melodies and sickly sweet vocals receiving the loudest reception of the evening. Although collaborator Sean Paul didn’t make an appearance, it didn’t make the performance any less vibrant or energetic. Pierre Bouvier might (unfortunately) follow the Frontman’s Handbook religiously, but it does mean that he has enough experience and mettle to carry a whole band and crowd for 90 minutes a time. Not many frontmen can do that continuously without showing signs of stopping, so Bouvier definitely deserves a round of applause for his showmanship. The aforementioned Perfect closed the show, which served more as a stop-gap between albums for Simple Plan. Although just one new song featured, it did serve as an evening which helped Simple Plan rise back to their feet on Dutch shores before a new album brings them back with a rejuvenated live show.

Featured image: Simple Plan’s Pierre Bouvier at the Vans Warped Tour in Cleveland, Ohio. Picture: cleveland.com