Simple Plan + Kings: HMV Ritz Manchester, 02/05/2012

I have to start with a confession. Never before have I been to a concert where the supporting band was as enjoyable as the main act. I didn’t know all that much about We the Kings before the concert, but the crowd was full of dedicated fans and I was mind-blown. This show could just as well have been a dual headlining show. Their performance was professional and their contact with the crowd was a great bonus, not to mention the sweet tunes which kept coming like one knock-out after the other. The only downside with their set simply was that it wasn’t long enough. I am confident we’ll see more of these guys.

After having been warmed up so nicely by the kings, the room was filled with such a good atmosphere that Simple Plan’s first chords were like an emotional explosion. Starting off with their 2005 single Shut Up, I was instantly brought back to my late teens and the first time I saw them in 2008.

The set mixed all their greatest hits including a medley of the most popular songs off their debut album “No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls” and the current single Summer Paradise, which was highly appreciated by the crowd. For the new fans in the house it was a display of their development as a band, and for the old fans it was a trip down memory lane. Their mix of styles, from traditional pop-punk to clean rock ballads and mainstream pop-rock, is an ultimate proof of how the boys who would never grow up have at least grown as musicians.

The performance was energized all the way through and the semi acoustic double encore was absolutely no exception. What makes Simple Plan’s music so striking is that it’s written for the fans – everyone can see themselves in what they sing about, in one way or another. This becomes particularly obvious at their shows where the music flows from the stage into each and every heart, breaking all the barricades. I have to admit that I was moved when I heard everyone sing a long in This Song Saved My Life, which was inspired by stories of neglect and ill-treatment. All in all this was an exhilarating and mind-blowing show worth remembering.

Josefina Klang