Live Review: Simple Plan - Festival Hall

5 June 2012 | 4:40 pm | Brendan Hitchens

More Simple Plan More Simple Plan

A decade since the band first graced Australian stages at the ill-fated M-One Festival, when the group was positioned alongside industry heavyweights like Nickelback and The Goo Goo Dolls, the career of Canadian band Simple Plan has followed an upward path. Tonight they play at Festival Hall, which may appear to be a step down from their usual stadium-sized venues, however this reviewer duly appreciates the spaciousness and intimacy.

Opening with Shut Up! – their PG-rated counter-culture anthem – soon followed by the instructional Jump, the crowd is already in hysterics, helped in part by support act We The Kings. Simple Plan's new, Sean Paul-featuring single, Summer Paradise – a clichéd stanza of a melting heart and a burning sun – introduces the first use of props onstage in the form of giant inflatable beach balls. The song is radio-reggae in the way that Train and Bruno Mars have flirtatiously populated the genre for commercial success. As they bounce through the song, so do the 30-plus beach balls, ping-ponging back and forth from each side of the venue. If anything, it makes for an amusing visual medium. Mid-set, they break into a medley of top 40 hits including Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5 Feat Christina Aguilera), Dynamite (Taio Cruz) and Sexy And I Know It (LMFAO). The crowd laps it up. (So too, no doubt, the radio station sponsoring the tour.)

Sixteen-year-old X Factor finalist Christina Parie Perri soon joins the band onstage. Not to be confused with American songwriter Christina Perri (who takes to the Palais stage just a couple of postcodes away on this very night), she has an unassuming exuberance about her as if she were plucked from nowhere. Truth is, she probably was. Trading lines, they fly through Jet Lag, the audience, showing disregard for duet conventions by singing both parts at excessive decibels. They close with an acoustic rendition of Perfect. Like Welcome To My Life before it, vocalist Pierre Bouvier plays the part of protagonist in a personal conflict of self-loathing. It lacks authenticity but the audience seems oblivious, granting the journal-like lyrics their own context and meaning.

Over 90 minutes, Simple Plan works the crowd from start to finish and display the showmanship that comes with years of touring. With a decade worth of hits and a legion of die-hard fans on the other side of the world, the band's trajectory remains onwards and upwards; or at least until they play Caloundra RSL next week.

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