Touring in support of their upcoming album, Order in Decline, Canadian rockers Sum 41 have spent the past month making their way across the United States playing in intimate venues on the No Personal Space Tour. Set for release on July 19th, Order in Decline will be the band’s most aggressive, most dynamic, and most personal album to date, so it was only fitting that this tour reflected that vibe. Sum 41 is comprised of musicians Deryck Whibley, Dave “Brownsound” Baksh, Tom Thacker, Jason “Cone” McCaslin, and Frank Zummo. On May 22nd, they spent their night performing a sold-out show in Boston, MA with support from fellow punk-rockers Assuming We Survive.
Originating from California’s Inland Empire, Assuming We Survive (also known as AWS) consists of lead vocalist Adrian Estrella, guitarists Phil Adams and Johnny Silva, and drummer Kris Pasos. The band’s dedication to their fans and their desire to connect with the audience and break down that “performer vs. fan” barrier is palpable, as Estrella “checks in” with the crowd throughout the set. Their energy is contagious - between Estrella’s raw, punchy vocals and sprightly stage presence, Adams’ and Silva’s dynamic riffs and electrifying solos, and Pasos’ heart-thumping drum lines, AWS set the bar high for supporting acts. Their set consisted of tracks from their 2018 Chapters EP, such as “Just So You Know,” “Make It Out Alive,” and “Tear Me,” as well as tracks from their 2016 full-length album All Roads Lead Home, including “Exit At The Door,” “Home Is Where The Heart Is,” “Open Water,” and “No Fairy Tale.” By the end of their set, the crowd was roaring and ready to go - there could not have been a better support act for this tour than Assuming We Survive.
Once it was time for Sum 41 to hit the stage, the lights dimmed and the crowd fell silent. Frank Zummo made his way on stage and took a seat on his throne, to the roaring applause of the sold-out venue. He started out the set with a few perfectly-timed, invigorating heavy hits on the drums and was soon joined by the rest of the band in a seamless transition to their 2002 hit, “Motivation.”
Throughout the night, Sum 41 performed a diverse selection of tracks spanning nearly two decades of discography. After “Motivation” came “The Hell Song” from the band’s sophomore album Does This Look Infected? followed by “King of Contradiction” and “Walking Disaster” from their fourth studio album, Underclass Hero. Fans were then treated to an older track, “Summer,” from the EP Half Hour of Power, released in the year 2000. It was at this point in the set where Whibley took a moment to thank the audience for being so supportive and joining them on this tour, recognizing the fact that many fans in the audience have been Sum 41 fans for many years and have seen the trials and tribulations of Whibley’s personal life - which was the main inspiration behind many of the songs on their most recent studio album, 13 Voices, released in 2016.
Following this short intermission, the quintet wasted no time moving onto the next track, and what better song to pump up the audience than “Out For Blood,” their first single off of Order In Decline? It took no time at all for the crowd to go wild, as the heavy-hitting bass lines, screaming guitar riffs, and angsty-but-catchy melodies combine to make this song one that is almost better experienced live than it is through your speakers.
Sum 41 kept the crowd on a constant adrenaline rush for the rest of the night, playing a handful of older tracks such as “Jessica Kill” off of Screaming Bloody Murder (2011), “Some Say,” “Moron,” and “No Reason” off of Chuck (2004), and “Over My Head (Better Off Dead)” off of Does This Look Infected? (2002). They also treated the audience to a second single off Order In Decline, titled “The People Vs…” which did not disappoint. For those who enjoy the heavier Sum 41 tracks, this song is right up your alley, and a good predictor of what’s to come with the next album - heavier, more aggressive vibes reminiscent of old-school metal.
Amidst the heart-thumping rhythms, stimulating guitar solos, and grungy vocals was one acoustic track - “With Me” off of Underclass Hero. The band took it down a notch to perform stripped-down and personal for just a few minutes, giving the audience time to really take in Whibley’s incredible vocal abilities and recognize his talent with words.
The night ended with a bang, as the band traveled back to the early 2000’s to dig up some of their most iconic hits. “In Too Deep,” and “Still Waiting” were amongst the closing tracks. “Fat Lip” was revealed as the encore, and every single fan in the venue had their feet off the ground. The fact that these incredibly talented musicians are still gaining followers via hits that they made nearly twenty years ago, as well as via music that they released just this year (and will be releasing in the future) is a testament to their hard work, resilience, ingenuity, and dedication to their craft. If you are looking to attend a concert with cushy seating, relaxing vibes, and a chill atmosphere, a Sum 41 show is not for you. If you are looking to attend a concert that will get your adrenaline pumping, in a place where all are welcome and all are heard, where you can feel the energy deep in your bones, then there is no question about it... you need to see Sum 41 on tour, right now.
Words and photos by Lisa Eggleston.