Sum41 at Victoria Warehouse: Live Review
Words: Phil Weller | Photos: c/o Sum 41
To an onlooker, Sum 41's arrival in Manchester signals a band trading in on the glories of yesteryear. To the 1,000 or so people energetically engrossed in their set at Victoria Warehouse however, they witness a band who has been pedalling away writing solid, if never groundbreaking, pop and punk tinted rock that makes them more than just nostalgic.
Whilst the early parts of their set saw many mid-song breaks designed to ramp up crowd participation - but which ultimately stuttered their momentum more than anything - once they started rattling through their career spanning setlist, there was plenty to enjoy.
We're All To Blame, from 2004's Chuck, shows off a metallic vigour that is renewed in the new material they're here to promote; a contrast to the light and easy to swallow one-two of Underclass Hero and Walking Disaster. Indeed, it's the newer material that actually stands out against much of their back catalogue - save for a stirring spin through Pieces on which Deryck Whibley's voice is a fine balance between pristine and passionate. Out For Blood's snarling riff transitions into a host of vocal hooks backed by thick guitars whilst A Death In The Family, another track that leans closer to their thrash metal influences than pop punk, it's melodious clean guitar chorus is a clever drop that builds back up to a near anthemic climax and the revival of their gunfire riffs.
Elsewhere, covers of Another Brick In The Wall and a terribly revised rendition of We Will Rock You detract from their own material, but do achieve in inviting some mass sing alongs.
A smile indcuing romp through In Too Deep, complete with one of the catchiest guitar solos of the noughties, and Still Waiting, a song still as lyrically potent in today's climate than it was when it was written, see out their main set in style. Machine Gun - "for the old school Sum 41 fans" - feels raw in comparison to their more polished contemporary tracks, but goes down a storm. Fat Lip, however, was always going to steal the show. And as much as this isn't a band trading on the success of days gone by, there is no taking away from the timelessness of their most recognisable song. Live music is about entertainment and therein lies an absolute banger to round off a fun evening in a surprisingly sun kissed Manchester.