LIVE: Sum 41 @ O2 Academy, Brixton

By Christopher Lee

No, you haven’t read that wrong! You could absolutely be forgiven for thinking that we’ve gone back in time some 15 years or so. Sum 41 were at the forefront of pop punk culture in the early 2000’s alongside bands like The Offspring and Blink 182, back when MTV still played music videos and people listened to music on Sony Discmans. Tonight they return to London’s Brixton academy to remind us all just why they were, and still are one of the biggest bands to come out of the genre.

Not many venues feel as special as a packed Brixton Academy and this was no exception. You could practically feel the anticipation upon walking through the doors and the electric atmosphere only grew throughout what was a triumphant return for the Canadian band. From the moment the huge white curtain dropped until the final song Deryck Whibley & co storm through a career spanning set with an energetic prowess some current bands would struggle to match.

The set includes fan favourites and hits from their back catalogue, which is to the bands credit. It can be rather difficult to please everyone when you’ve been around for the best part of two decades. They also manage to include at least a track from every one of their albums, although the majority do come from last years ’13 Voices’.

If this wasn’t enough there’s even time for them to throw in a cover of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ much to the crowds pleasure, but inevitably its tracks like ‘Fat Lip’, ‘In Too Deep’ and ‘Still Waiting’ which all come towards the end of the set that get everyone lending their voice to Whibley’s. The man has himself been no stranger to personal issues, even taking an emotional moment to thank the fans for their support throughout while he stands atop the sound desk in the centre of the crowd. But there are absolutely no signs of this troubled past on display tonight. Instead he’s back to the fun, confident and explosive personality that we loved all those years ago.

Likewise the band is technically perfect throughout the evening not putting a foot out of place. Rolling back the years their infectious riffs draw the crowd in and Whibley’s vocals seamlessly switch between aggressive and joyful tones. They even find time to allow drummer Frank Zummo to blow everyone away with an insane drum solo.

With their last album being a success and this tour even more so, it’s great to have a band like Sum 41 back on the scene. Whether or not this lasts and the guys decide to record another album only they know. But what we do know, is that this was a return to form for one the most loved pop punk bands around. Now fish out your discman, put on some baggy jeans and pretend it’s the year 2000 all over again.