Live Review: Sum 41 Played Starland Ballroom w/ As It Is & Senses Fail

Josh Hershkovitz November 14, 2016 Live, Reviews No Comments

Once again I found myself in front of the stage at Starland Ballroom, prepping to watch one of my favorite bands perform songs I grew up listening to. Sum 41 has had more influence on my life than practically any other source. In middle school, listening to Dave Brownsound’s legendary guitar riffs had me begging my mom for a guitar so I could sound just like him. The amount of energy on albums such as ‘All Killer, No Filler’ and ‘Does This Look Infected?’ is something I look to match in my own music.

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The opening band wasn’t one I’ve heard of before, but they definitely took me by surprise. As It Is is a British pop punk band (heavy on the pop) that I couldn’t help but enjoy. Catchy hooks and a high-strung singer showed that this night’s energy wasn’t reserved just for the headliner. The style isn’t my usual preference, but their music has officially been added to my main playlist in the car. They seemed to have a great crowd response, with crowd surfers and plenty of people singing along to every lyric. These guys from across the pond are definitely welcome in Jersey.

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I was actually yelled at during last night’s show for admitting I’ve never listened to Senses Fail. After seeing their performance, I can see why. I’m not a big metal fan by any means, but these guys know how to put on a show. Between posing in the stereotypical ‘dad pose above the mantle’ and doing little flips on stage, front-man Buddy Nielsen keeps the crowd on their toes. Overall great musicians, high energy performance and a band that I’m going to have to catch again sometime.

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SUM 41! SUM 41! SUM 41!

The chants began 10 minutes before they hit the stage and I don’t think they stopped the entire time. The crowd was all ages – kids that grew up listening to them during their prime years as well as the new generation of concert-goers (yeah, that makes me sound old…). The lights dimmed, some Metallica played, and there they were – original lineup Deryck Wibbley, Dave Brownsound and Cone McCaslin joined by newer members Tom Thacker and Frank Zummo. I saw them open up for Mötley Crüe back in 2005 and they sound just as tight 11 years later. Plenty of nostalgia when we heard the opening chords of their old songs, but the excitement in the room wasn’t diminished for the new tracks.

Their newest album, ’13 Voices’ was released last week and it seems like a majority of the room had already memorized most of the tracks. Guitar solos, piano-led ballads, metal breakdowns and singalongs made this performance a night to remember. I hope these guys are loving every minute of their comeback tour and I am crossing my fingers that this isn’t the last time they visit Starland Ballroom.

’13 Voices’ landed at #9 on the Billboard Top Albums chart. In addition, 13 Voices secured the #5 spot for LP Vinyl Albums, #6 for Alternative Albums, #7 for both Rock Albums and Top Internet, and landed at #22 on the Billboard Top 200! Please include links to the album if possible in your coverage.

Physical – Target exclusive CD with 4 bonus tracks: http://smarturl.it/13VoicesTarget

Digital – iTunes: smarturl.it/13voices

Streaming – Spotify: smarturl.it/13VoicesSpotify

Sum 41

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About The Author

Josh is the singer and guitarist of NJ-based ska band Backyard Superheroes. He spends his free time at local shows and concerts, taking photos and contributing to websites such as Fake Famous Photography and Speak Into My Good Eye.

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