By KEVIN TAN
IT took them a while to get here, but Canadian punk rock band Sum 41 finally made it to Malaysian shores last weekend in a concert in Kuala Lumpur.
The concert was definitely worth the wait for many of the hardcore Sum 41 fans who came, as the band brought the house down with their stellar performances.
The show was organised by Rockaway, the same people behind the annual rock festival, Rockaway Fest. Last year, the festival saw the likes of international bands like Story Of The Year, The Used and All Time Low playing to a large crowd of music enthusiasts.
KL Live Centre was the perfect venue for Sum 41’s show as the minimal space in the auditorium makes for a more intimate setting between the fans and the band. This is one of the things that you don’t get to experience at a concert held in bigger venues (like a stadium).
Things started heating up even before Sum 41 appeared on stage as the crowd had already begun jumping around and singing along to songs by show opener Bunkface. The local band did a great job warming up the crowd, as did One Buck Short, the second opening act.
After the two bands were done, it was a pretty long wait (even longer than the expected wait) before Sum 41 kicked off their set. The lights suddenly went out and everyone started screaming their lungs out. Slowly, familiar strains of AC/DC’s TNT could be heard playing over the speakers, and the audience perked up.
It was a brilliant way to start things off as the song got everyone in the crowd yelling, “Oi! Oi! Oi! Oi!”
Unfortunately, though, it wasn’t actually Sum 41 that played the track. The band was still nowhere to be seen on stage after the music stopped.
By then, the fans were pretty restless and some were even booing. It was taking the band way too long to come out, and creating a false hype made things worse.
Thankfully, shortly after that, the boys of Sum 41 ran up on stage and immediately went into their first song. Somehow, people seemed to have forgotten about the long wait, and quickly immersed themselves into the music and show.
Frontman Deryck Whibley, who sported a pink hairdo, was quite humorous throughout the night. Actually, his hairdo made look even more like a clown!
He also spat on stage (a common, though not very decent, “practise” at rock concerts) and I don’t think anyone does it the way Deryck does. He would randomly smack the side of his head and spit the other way, simultaneously! It was amusing and impressive at first, but after a while, you kind of wonder just how much spitting – and smacking – he would do the entire time.
Sum 41 did a strong set in the beginning, playing hits like The Hell Song, Over My Head, and We’re All To Blame. This followed by newer numbers like the hit single Walking Disaster, which is taken from its latest album, Screaming Bloody Murder.
Sometime in the middle of the set, Sum 41 picked out four people from the audience to join them on stage. A while later, two more lucky people were added to the group. It wasn’t much of a big deal, though, because these “chosen ones” were simply asked to stand at the side of the stage while being guarded by security guards, as if they were trapped in a cage. They really didn’t look like they were having as much fun as compared to everyone else thrashing around in the crowd.
The band transited from one song to another very well. There were also times when they just let the music play so that they can interact with fans, introduce themselves one by one, and just generally kid around. But after a while, the momentum started getting a little slower as the band dragged things on way too much.
Nevertheless, Sum 41 picked up pace once again by playing requests from the crowd, showcasing some Van Halen guitar solo action, heavy metal riffs from Iron Maiden, and also a shot of Metallica’s Master of Puppets. Brown Tom, the lead guitarist, also took over the microphone at one point and sang a cover of a song by the Rolling Stones.
All this, however, came off as being either impressive or disappointing for the audience. After all, why would one buy a concert ticket to watch a band play cover songs, even if it’s just three to four tracks?
After playing their first set, the band left the stage, and the crowd immediately asked for more. Sum 41 came back soon after, and played a few more songs. Among them were Fat Lip, which was one of the most anticipated songs that night. The crowd gave their all while Sum 41 played Fat Lip, knowing that the concert would soon come to an end.
Hopefully, when (or if) Sum 41 ever returns for another concert in Malaysia, the boys would make it a truly Sum 41 concert, minus the covers. Their die-hard fans would certainly appreciate that.