Simple Plan Lights Up Tilburg with Epic Pop-Punk Mini-Festival at 013 Venue

Legendary Night of Pop-Punk Bliss: Simple Plan's Unforgettable 013 Concert in Tilburg...

 

Words: Gabor Kleinbloesem

 

It was a normal Monday evening at the start of a new working week when I went to the city of Tilburg to attend a full-blown mini-festival all about pop-punk. I had already experienced a few days in a row of concerts, starting with IAN PAICE (founder of DEEP PURPLE) & PURPENDICULAR on Friday, followed by THE LUKA STATE on Saturday, and a few smaller concerts of local acts in my hometown. So, I was quite warmed up before the show of SIMPLE PLAN and its support acts.

In the past, concerts were usually only during the weekend, but nowadays, concerts are almost every night throughout the country. I took a train to the lovely venue of 013, where the legendary Canadian band SIMPLE PLAN gave a 3,000 capacity sold-out show. However, before they came on stage, there were three support acts that evening, making it feel like a mini-festival of classic 90s/00s pop-punk that lasted for almost 4 hours.

I missed the first act AIR YEL due to the fact that I had to work elsewhere during the day. I couldn’t make it earlier than 7 o’clock, and that’s when AIR YEL performed their live gig. When entering the stage, a band called MAYDAY PARADE started playing, and they definitely got the crowd going right from the start. It was clear that this was going to be a great night of live music in one of the finest venues in The Netherlands. The enthusiastic crowd sang along to some of the tunes, and MAYDAY PARADE was actually quite good, although vocally it was not that strong. Nevertheless, they had some very catchy tunes in the classic 90s pop-punk style, a great guitarist, and, as already mentioned, a super enthusiastic crowd. This combination made it definitely worth watching their 40-minute set.

Up next was another band I was not familiar with, STATE CHAMPS, and I have to admit that they were another great band that got the crowd once again jumping up and down. STATE CHAMPS were better than MAYDAY PARADE because their pop-punk was more diverse and had elements of other rock genres. The band’s singer, DEREK DISCANIO, has a great voice, danced and jumped around all over the stage, and the whole gig of 40 minutes passed by very quickly. These guys were listed as a support act, but it feels like they are easily able to do a full-blown gig on their own. The crowd went wild, and quite a few people came especially for STATE CHAMPS, so it was no surprise there were crowd surfers popping up here and there. Without a doubt, you could smell and feel that something magical was happening here with so much great live music going on in the 013 temple.

Between the bands, there was about 20 minutes of music being played over the speakers, mostly classic pop-punk tunes of bands like THE OFFSPRING, PAPA ROACH, GOOD CHARLOTTE, GREEN DAY, etc. The crowd certainly enjoyed hearing those songs so loud and proud in the venue because they were all sung-along by everyone in 013. Meanwhile, it seemed like even more people turned up when things started to get closer to the moment the headliner SIMPLE PLAN was about to start their gig. Every square meter of the venue was filled by people, and there was little space to move. The venue felt cramped, but it was all worth it because suddenly at 9 o’clock sharp, the Star Wars theme song started playing, and the whole venue exploded when the Canadian legends of SIMPLE PLAN started playing their first song, “I’d Do Anything.” Frontman PIERRE BOUVIER, a close friend of my favorite AOR/Melodic Rock band HAREM SCAREM’s frontman HARRY HESS, who helped the band in the past, is a Champions League frontman who owns the stage, and the whole crowd was in a trance, singing along right from the start.

There was no single weak moment during the 100 minutes that SIMPLE PLAN was on the stage. Despite the band being known as a real pop-punk band, especially during cheerful tunes such as “Jump,” “Shut Up!,” “Your Love Is a Lie,” and such, they also have songs that could be classified as pure Melodic Rock (HAREM SCAREM fans will understand what I mean) and also sort of FOO FIGHTERS kind of rock and roll moments. A song like “Addicted” even has a chorus that almost reminds me of DEF LEPPARD! So, you can smell melodic rock and rock and roll influences during their songs, yet they are all brought in a polished punk/rock and roll version or SIMPLE PLANized, so to speak. Sometimes the band also sounds like a rocking pop band, but it doesn’t actually matter what you call these legendary Canadian rockers because everything they do this evening is magic and striking gold with the crowd. “Welcome to My Life” is one of their biggest hits and therefore a real crowd sing-along tune. Nobody leaves the venue, and everyone keeps singing along to the happy cheerful music of SIMPLE PLAN. There are a lot of funny moments during the set, such as a guy running around in a Scooby-Doo suit (“What’s New Scooby Doo?”), big beach balls being passed on into the crowd (“Summer Paradise”), confetti all over the venue a few times, and all kinds of special lighting and visual effects (such as during “Astronaut”).

The crowd goes wild when the band leaves the stage, but of course, they return for an encore of a lot of extra songs, which includes “Where I Belong,” where singers of the support acts also come back on stage to sing as well. And how about a great cover mashup of classic popular tunes like “All Star,” “Sk8er Boi,” and “Mr. Brightside” that are all sung-along by the crowd as loud as possible? Although the show ends very calmly in an acoustic setting of the song “Perfect,” it was a wonderful pop-punk evening that showed that SIMPLE PLAN is a Champions League act that will last for a long time in the future!

3,000+ people went home in a happy mood, and they probably all had a great sleep afterward before the alarm clock would wake them up early next morning to another normal working day, yet with a lasting memory of great live music. And that’s what life is all about, even on a Monday evening…

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