Sum 41: Download Kick Off @ Crowbar, Sydney

A lot can happen in six years. Or, when you think about the relationship between Sum 41 and Australia, nothing at all could happen. That’s how long we’ve been waiting to see the Canadian punks return to our shores, with their last visit all the way back in 2013 for Soundwave (RIP).

Returning to Australia for the Download Festival’s second year down under, the five-piece treated Sydney to an intimate and exclusive sold out kick-off show at the newly refurbished Crowbar. With support from Newcastle’s Eat Your Heart Out the atmosphere thick with nostalgia was hard to miss, but was the night worth the six year wait?

Eat Your Heart Out

As punters continued to file in, Eat Your Heart Out kicked off the night’s proceedings, bringing their punchy brand of alt-rock to the forefront to the crowd’s delight. It felt like it’d been too long since I’d had the chance to see the band, yet they seem to have only gotten better since that last time. Frontwoman Caitlin Henry is at her infectious best, making the most of the small stage while delivering vocals that sound greater than ever before.

Opening with “Carousel”, the song the five-piece had only released the same day, the set seemed a little rusty to begin with before the band really warmed into it. Playing a set that covered songs from all their releases, the band also treated the crowd to the live debut of an unreleased song. If you could have been there you might be just as excited as I was to hear it too. After playing all the hits, and delivering one of the strongest sets that I’d seen from the band, it’s safe to say they rightfully earned themselves a few more fans.

Sum 41

Despite the quality of the set, it was clear who fans had made their way out to see on this Friday night. As they packed into the room, AC/DC’s “TNT” pre-empted the set, with punters both sloshed and sober getting into the spirit of the song. Bursting onto the stage, Sum 41 opened their set with “The Hell Song” and well, the crowd soon became a sweaty mess of bodies, almost as hot as the pits of hell.

Unsurprisingly, there’s something magical about seeing a band like Sum 41 in a 500 cap room. In a venue smaller than any they’ve more than likely played in the last decade, both the punters and the band know that it would be a waste not to take full advantage of the situation. For every little bit of energy that the crowd threw out, the band seemed to double it with Deryck Whibley running across the stage while guitarist Dave Brownsound threw in guitar solos left, right and centre.

Maybe Sum 41 aren’t as hugely popular as they have been in the past, and while you could argue whether or not that’s true, it feels like a lie to say that they’re past their prime. Songs like “Walking Disaster” and “Motivation” still carry their usual angst, while sonically they haven’t seemed to miss a beat at all. Even finding the time to include a cover of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”, the set was an incredibly enjoyable one that would’ve tickled every punters nostalgia.

As the set came to a close, the double dosage of “In Too Deep” and “Fat Lip” gave fans everything they wanted. With the intensity switch flicked over to eleven, fans climbed over the tops of each other while others jumped and screamed to their hearts content. With an encore dedicated to their oldest fans, the band celebrated the 15th anniversary of Does This Look Infected to You? with “My Direction” before ending the set on the (VERY) deep cut of “Makes No Difference”.

If there was ever any doubt whether Sum 41’s return to Australia would be well worth the six year wait, it was quickly eradicated by the band. Playing a set that included all of the hits, it was pure energy and as punters left drenched and dripping in sweat it was clear to tell they all left positively satisfied and ready to back it up at Download the next day too.

[Photos courtesy of Ivan Souriyavong]
Andrew Cauchi

Sydney based pop-punk enthusiast, Andrew spends every waking moment listening to music, or playing with his dog (sometimes both!). If not on the lookout for the hottest new tracks, you can usually catch him crying in his room playing old emo bangers on repeat. [Enjoyed the read? Shout Andrew's dog a new toy!]

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