It’s all about Punk Rock in Birmingham tonight as The Eastpak Antidote Tour hits town. Headlined by Canadian Punk Rockers Sum 41 and joined by The Black Pacific, The Riverboat Gamblers and Veara it has the makings of a great night.
Pop-punkers Veara are up first and playing Birmingham for the very first time and their upbeat catchy tunes are the perfect way to kick off the night. The set is full of songs off their great new album What We Left Behind which go down well with the crowd who for the most part seem unfamiliar with material but it doesn’t stop them joining in. Drummer Brittany Harrell is on form putting a lot of male drummers to shame and bassist Bryan Kerr is a ball of energy, running all over the stage brandishing his bass like a weapon. We Have A Body Count is energetic and when Bradley asks the crowd if they’re having fun yet it’s a resounding yes. Veara definitely have won over a few friends this evening and close the set with My B Side Life. The only gripe with the performance is the shocking sound that seems to be the case for pretty much every gig at the academy.
The Riverboat Gamblers are up next and apart from a few down the front and a ridiculous pit that has opened up in the middle the crowd are motionless and very quiet which is a shame as front man Mike Weibe is giving it his all on stage. It’s a good performance and Dissdissdisskisskisskiss sounds terrific.
The Black Pacific fronted by former Pennywise vocalist Jim Linberg offer up some loud and fast Punk Rock. They hold X-factor tryouts for the crowd getting both sides of the crowd to beat each in a sing off. Jim asks if there are any Slipknot fans in the house that gets a big cheer, turns out they don’t know any! He then jokingly asks if there are any Take That fans which gets a few cheers and a big laugh. It’s an enjoyable performance and with a cover of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box thrown into the mix when Marc Orrell is asked ‘to played some cool shit on the guitar.’
The chanting of Sum 41 from the crowd is incredibly loud; the band walks on stage and head straight into Hell Song. Deryck introduces themselves as The Sums, an in-joke from their video Still Waiting. He seems to be in a jovial mood this evening as they are barely 2 songs in and he asking the crowd if anyone wants to join them on stage, stupid question! Sum 41 throw in two covers, Master of Puppets and Paint It Black. It’s nicely varied set-list covering all albums plus a new song Scumfuk that sounds great. Stevo gets to show off his talents as he beats the skins for an awesome drum solo and Deryck throws in a couple of riffs from Smoke On The Water and Seven Nation Army in their own Fat Lip mixing things up a bit.
The encore goes down a storm; Pieces slows things down a bit and in Too Deep is sung back word for word the crowd drowning out the band. The inclusion of Pain for Pleasure is the icing on the cake as Stevo gets out from behind the kit and takes over vocal duties for their tongue in cheek hairmetalesque song.
Review – Hannah Sebestjanowicz
Photos – Shaz R