SUM 41 Live At South Side Ballroom!! – Dallas, TX 5/4/18

If you’re reading this, more than likely you’re like me and turn to music to help ease the pain of life. For everyone there’s a golden age of music, a special time when every song you listened to on the radio resonated with you and made you feel less alone. Usually this is around the time that puberty is settling in for the long haul and you slam doors more often than you actually talk with your parents.

For me, the 2002 release of SUM 41’S Does This Look Infected? album hit right in that sweet spot of teen angst. To think that it has been 15 years since the initial assault on MTV and VH-1 (btw kids, music videos haven’t always just been for YouTube likes….Shit was wild back then), gives me a sinking feeling in my stomach akin to never getting ID’d anymore..At least give me the courtesy of pulling it out before you wave me off… That sounded wrong… I digress.

I have been trying to catch a SUM 41 show the entirety of my adulthood, so you can imagine the unearthly, boy-band maniac level excitement that I felt leading up to Friday, May 4, 2018. The Force was strong that night (seriously… if you don’t get that reference, you’re a total nerfherder), and I found an amazing parking spot at the Southside Ballroom in Dallas, TX. The marquee set my heart to flutter, showcasing SUM 41, Seaway, and SuperWhatevr on the 2018 Does This Look Infected Tour. After getting inside, I made a beeline for the photo pit. Knowing I’d be shooting pop punk bands, with song length of around 2.5 to 3 minutes long, I wanted to be ready.

Tour support band SuperWhatevr was nothing I expected and everything I needed them to be. I have never heard their music before that night and let me tell you…if it isn’t a genre now, “super chill powerhouse badassery” will be very soon. “Bloomfield” and “Good Luck” were standout tracks, but the group of chicks at the railing sang every song thrown at the crowd. There’s a real heart to their music, even when tackling negative subjects like depression and suicide.These guys are talented and I’m all too excited to see how far they go.

Second up was Seaway, who I’ve heard now and then on algorithm curated playlists but it was really great to see these guys live. I have a whole new respect for their music. “Something Wonderful”, “Shy Guys” and “Airhead” were solid songs. Their feel is certainly eclectic, but is familiar enough to harken back to sleepovers and listening to your walkman far too loud.

Honestly, writing about SUM 41’S performance feels like cheating. There are no words I can use that would do Friday night any justice, but I will certainly try. They opened their set with a volley of fire from the confetti cannon and by bringing up a few people on stage to rock out to “The Hell Song”. Obviously this is an album anniversary tour, but they were kind enough to treat the audience to a full range of their music library, including “Fake My Own Death” from their most recent album 13 Voices, which hit #9 on the billboard Top Albums chart, “Walking Disaster” from Underclass Hero, and closing out the show with “Fat Lip” off All Killer, No Filler.

Dave Baksh (lead guitar) started off an amusing medley of covers from BLACK SABBATH’S “Paranoid” and “War Pigs”, QUEEN’S “We Will Rock You” and a heartfelt LINKIN PARK tribute during Frank Zummo’s ball-busting drum solo to “Another Brick in the Wall” by PINK FLOYD. That doesn’t even touch the number of songs they played of their own, including “Still Waiting”, “A.N.I.C”, “Hooch” and so many others that I admittedly lost track while having such a great time. Also, Dave pointed at me while I was in the pit and we shared a collective “Fuck yes!” moment. I don’t think it matters to anyone but me, but SQUEE!

It’s been many years since I’ve been to a show where people are more concerned with what’s going on with the band than taking selfies or getting video that no one will ever watch again. There were so few cameras up, it was a breath of fresh air. Everyone was jumping, singing, high fiving and making friends with their neighbors like the good old days, myself included.

They are in the early stages of their tour, so please do your inner high school kid and your current day self one hell of a favor, and get out to see them. They’re currently in the process of writing/recording a new album, so if you miss out this summer, you’ll get your chance next year, but why would you want to wait?


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