Written by Samuel Barker
Apr 04, 2003 at 08:00 PM
ImageIn a time as crazy as these days, sometimes you want to get away from the problems and see some entertainment. On this night, Sum 41 was the band to come to town and try to distract all the pre-teens and high schoolers who enjoy their brand of low-brow pop punk.However, the talk amongst the other half of the audience, the parents, who were there to chapparone their kids, was of war and the words spoken by musicians such as Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. Being from the middle ground, I was hoping one of these bands would take a stand and say something, anything, about the situation and represent the youth who enjoy their music. But, for this night, no feathers were ruffled.

There is a reason parents love to let their kids listen to this new style of poppy “punk” music. It’s easily digestible, never provokes thought and is very safe. Even edgier veterans, No Use for a Name, seemed to not hit as hard in this situation.

Besides not taking a stand, Sum 41 disappointed because they didn’t even seem to be as light-hearted as normal. They failed to converse with the audience as much, gone were there never-ending array of jokes, in it’s place were four men who seemed lost in this children’s genre.

ImageReally being lost in all this was No Use for a Name. Between the parents and the children in the audience is where NUFAN’s core audience can be found.

Unfortunately, these people did not want to wade through the adolescents to see their band. Even the band itself had a “what the hell?” kind of feel to their set. It took less than 30 minutes for them to beat out their songs and retreat to the refuge of their bus.

Sum 41 tore through 21 songs in a little over 75-minutes and kept their intensity high, but lost a lot of their pre-teen audience along the way. Reaching back for some of their metal-esque tracks like Grab The Devil by the Horns added some fun and flair to the set, but still came up short.

Opening the show was The Starting Line. One could close their eyes, listen to the music and envision Blink-182 jumping around on stage making an ass of themselves. The Starting Line does not seem to be as mindless as Blink-182, their energy and continuous bouncing made their set entertaining.

When things seemed to be going well, vocalist/bassist Ken Vasoli dedicated A Goodnight’s Sleep to his “slut of an ex-girlfriend,” and you could see just how meaningless all this is in the real world and just wanted to walk away.

And by the middle of Sum 41’s set, many had walked away.