Simple Plan – Highbury Garage, London

By paul

Simple Plan
Saving Aimee
Kentish Town Forum, 29/11/2008

Prior to now, Saving Aimee are not really a band that I’ve paid too much attention to… its not that I don’t like them, it’s just truthfully, that I was beginning to give up hope. You see, there are a lot of young, British, pop-punky bands, that just aren’t very good. So it turns out then that tonight at the not-so-small Kentish Town Forum is my first real experience of them. Much to my surprise rather than being met with a whiny, ‘I wish I was American’ sub-par attempt at a show, I was met with a Riverclub-esque bold and quite frankly exciting performance. What could easily be confused for arrogance to me said ‘we’re here, enjoy it’. Their recent Myspace only single ‘Small Talk’ was exceptionally well received by the young crowd and the now somewhat seminal ‘High Fives All Round’ was actually quite fun. Who knew?

Up next were Simple Plan. It’s fair to say they are one of ?those? bands. Lots of fans, lots of haters, and recently a lot of mainstream activity. In 2003 when they played to a not sold out Camden Underworld, they were fun. Cheesy, but fun. Five years down the line, a significant de-cheesing appears to have taken place. Their newer material creeps further and further away from their pop punk beginnings and closer and closer to… well, simple mainstream rock. Think Nickelback, but maybe not quite that bad. Their sixteen song set consisted of a generous mixture of both the old and new, but it’s obvious that their newer material is where their comfort zone currently lies. The older material did however prove to be somewhat of a highlight, if you could call it that. ‘Shut Up’ is incredibly annoying, but also incredibly infectious. Why is that always the way? A rather bad cover of ‘I Kissed a Girl’ by Katy Perry, and then also of ‘Low’ by Flo Rida were, …interesting, and towards the end of the set, they actually got quite good. They are an incredibly tight band, but no amount of practise can save you if you really must insist on writing songs which lack substance and vitality… a problem which Simple Plan unfortunately have suffered from throughout their career. Flashes of promise, but a general lack of deliverance when it comes to the goods… unfortunately an issue which carried over tonight into their live performance. A good attempt, but its not quite there… and if it’s not quite there now, it probably never will be.