Words by Natalie Blacklock
Photography by Erin Taylor – Full Gallery HERE
Summer Festival season is well and truly underway and luckily for us, Good Things Festival have delivered, pulling together a slew of punk, pop, rock and hardcore acts including international icons A Day To Remember, Bad Religion, Enter Shikari as well as local legends Parkway Drive, Karnivool and Violent Soho for their 2nd annual East-Coast run. However, if standing in a sweaty moshpit, drinking overpriced beers and running from stage to stage to catch your favourite acts isn’t your idea of fun, the next best thing is the much anticipated ‘sideshows’ of some of the Festival’s biggest names and for those 20-somethings among us, Canadian pop-punk legends Simple Plan, need no introduction. Formed in 1999 in Montreal, the 5-piece were a staple in the soundtrack of most emo-kid upbringings (including mine) after appearing in teen-girl flick, New York Minute, alongside Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and releasing their breakthrough sophomore album ‘Still Not Getting Any…’ in 2004. As part of their appearances at Good Things Festival, Simple Plan were slated play two sideshows (Gold Coast and Adelaide) as presented by Destroy All Lines.
The choice of venue for the Gold Coast sideshow, CBD Live, is relatively new in the landscape of Gold Coast live music venues. In recent years, the Gold Coast has moved away from the traditional nightspots in the ‘Glitter Strip’ and have become synonymous with using unconventional venues like RSL’s for punk and hardcore shows across the city. CBD Live, part of the RSL Club Southport complex, has a proud heritage on the Gold Coast, coming a long way since The School of Arts was first erected on the site in 1882. The approximately 1300-capacity venue is perfect for an intimate weeknight sideshow, and contrasts the huge crowd at Simple Plan’s set at Good Things in Brisbane over the weekend.
Opening up the evening are Brisbane-based locals, Waxflower. Taking influence from a bunch of 2000’s Australian punk, rock and hardcore bands including; Stealing O’Neal, Faker and The Mission In Motion, Waxflower have endeavoured to bring a genuine and unique perspective on alternative rock, writing hard-hitting songs with genuine lyrics and catchy choruses that resonate even from the first listen. The band; Tristan Higginson (Vocals / Bass), Jordan Beard (Guitar / Vocals), Nick Hargans (Guitar) and Daniel Seymour (Drums) – who you might recognise from fellow Brissie outfit, Columbus, have had a huge 2019, touring with the likes of Sly Withers, Between You & Me and The Dead Love and were signed to Select Music earlier this week. Opening their set with new single, Together, the band offered a tight sound straight off the bat with vocal harmonies of Higginson and Beard almost reminiscent of Kisschasy.
As they launched into their debut single, Cut Your Teeth, the pop-punk vibes emerged with catchy-as-hell lyricism and strong instrumentation providing a strong basis for the track. When I see a band, I long for the moment they do something totally unexpected and Waxflower did just that. Their as-yet-unreleased track, 16 Floors, was a literally jaw-dropping (yes, this really happened), intense and hard-hitting track that delivered in spades, echoing the angsty sounds of The Used from the mid-2000s. Closing their set with the upbeat and poppy Back To Back, Waxflower really owned the stage, delivering an impressive opening slot, pointing to a very promising 2020 and beyond for Waxflower.
Brisbane locals, Stateside, were up next. Formed in 2014, the band; Erin Reus (Vocals), Ethan Laenen (Guitar), Jackson Lehane (Bass) and Hamish Maguire (Drums), have been busy crafting their own brand of energetic, heart-on-the-sleeve Pop-Punk with the support of Troy Brady (ex-The Amity Affliction), in between supporting international acts such as The Wonder Years and Knuckle Puck. Their set was sharp, as they kicked off with Neon, Livingstone Road and Jaded taken from 2017 EP ‘Naïve’, which tackles the issues of toxic relationships and emotional turmoil head-on.
Frontwoman Erin Reus spoke candidly of the weekend’s outing at Good Things Festival, where she appeared on stage with headliners, Simple Plan, before leading the 4-piece in a cover of American punkers Paramore’s Ain’t it Fun. Reus again commanded the audience’s attention as she delivered an impassioned speech about the importance of Mental Health, checking in on your mates and looking out for yourself, before getting stuck into This Is War, which saw Laenen and Lehane fall to their knees in time with Reus’ delivery of the corresponding lyrics. Rounding out the set, Stateside powered through newer track Low as well as 2017 single The Way We Were. With a few unexpected minutes left on the clock, Reus and Guitarist Ethan Laenen remained on stage and performed a stripped back version of Hard To Love, which quickly silenced the room as the raw outpouring of emotion stole the show. Stateside have certainly billed themselves as a solid support act over the years, and it will be exciting to see where they go next.
Simple Plan are one of ‘those’ bands. Whether you’ve seen them a dozen times or it’s your first time, one thing is for sure – a Simple Plan live show is full of sing-your-heart-out, holy-shit-I’m-not-alone moments. I still remember my first time… an excitable 13-year-old, after months of begging my parents to let me go, I saw Simple Plan at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre supported by The All-American Rejects and Kisschasy. That night was not only the start of a love affair with punk, rock and hardcore music but also an affinity with the Canadian 5-piece that I’ve revisited a whole bunch of times since. As the clock hit 10pm, Simple Plan bounded onto the stage and ripped straight into I’d Do Anything, the first track from 2002’s ‘No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls’. Frontman Pierre Bouvier addressed the crowd, asking how many punters saw them at Good Things over the weekend and if they were ready for more Simple Plan, before getting into older cut, Jump, followed by Jet Lag from 2011 record‘Get Your Heart On!’ which saw Erin Reus from Stateside returning for co-Vocal duties with Bouvier.
Welcome To My Life got the crowd swaying with their hands in the air, while the heavier Your Love Is A Lie channelled fellow Canadians Billy Talent in a big way, seeing Chuck Comeau perch himself on his Drum stool, orchestrating the crowd clap-a-long. Keeping with the heavy theme, the angsty Me Against The World had fists pumping before our collective hearts exploded for the cute and catchy Boom. Sticking with the ever-cheeky approach to stage banter, the boys made a point citing their rise to popularity came because they weren’t shy in saying “dick” on the radio before unleashing an energetic performance of Addicted, with Bassist David Desrosiers shining on backing Vocals. Can’t Keep My Hands Off You, which originally features Rivers Cuomo from American rockers, Weezer and You Suck At Love kept the energy up,alongside the ever-quirky SP-style rendition of the Warner Bros. Animations What’s New, Scooby Doo theme song was an unexpected hit with the masses.
Summer Paradise was the perfect track for a warm summer’s night, considering how close to the beach we were, as the band’s signature Beach Balls made their way out into the crowd, onto the stage and back again. Thank You kicked up the punk to 11, with Drummer Chuck Comeau going so hard, he lost a drumstick. A change of pace was felt with Crazy, as Frontman Pierre Bouvier made his way to the Sound Desk for the final chorus, pausing to chat with the crowd about being together as a band for almost 20 years with his 4 best mates. Upon returning to the stage, the band spoke about new music slated for release in 2020 saying “it’s fucking great” before giving the adoring crowd a taste with Where I Belong – the band’s latest single and collaboration with State Champs and We The Kings.
It was all hands on deck as a bunch of dedicated fans, VIPs and muso mates including Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low and Simple Creatures, who were also on the Good Things Festival line-up, were invited onto the stage for a sneaky photo before Simple Plan launched into the last song of the main set, I’m Just A Kid. In a bit of a change of pace, Bouvier jumped behind the kit, leaving Chuck Comeau to front the band and head out for a bit of crowdsurf. As they departed the stage, the crowd made plenty of noise to encourage an encore and it did not disappoint.
Going back to 2004’s ‘Still Not Getting Any…’, the crowd were treated a 3-in-a-row package of the fast-paced Shut Up!, the anthemic Perfect World and the hard-hitting, tear-inducing Untitled (How Could This Happen To Me). The moving track (and its haunting video, which I still remember watching on ABC’s Rage) was the result of the band’s loss of a High School classmate in a car accident and has been used in a number of Road Safety campaigns since. Lightening the mood, Bouvier led a singalong of the Oasis classic Wonderwall, before trying out his best Australian accent to thank the audience once more. For the last song, he asked the crowd to light the room with their mobile phones for the band’s 2002 breakthrough hit, Perfect, which almost reads as an apology letter from a teenager to their parents about not living up to their expectations.
With one final perfectly synchronised ‘punk jump’ and a raucous applause from the crowd, Simple Plan’s set had come to a close. Their set was full plenty of jump-up-and-down moments but by far, what makes a Simple Plan show special is that feeling of walking away with a smile on your face and a stack of good memories in tow. Simple Plan’s fan base may have grown up over the years, but everyone’s inner angst-ridden 13-year-old still needs a night out occasionally, right?
Be sure to catch Simple Plan at their last show of their Australian tour as part of their appearances at Good Things Festival. For dates, locations, and ticket information click HERE.
Remaining Tour Dates:
Thursday 12 December – HQ | Adelaide (18+)