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Simple Plan @ Troubadour 10/5/16. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

Earlier this year, Simple Plan released their fifth studio album, “Taking One For The Team”. Like their four prior albums, “Taking One For The Team” is imbued with their trademark “feel-good”, pop-punk sonics and melodies that have garnered them legions of loyal fans since their inception.

When I was told that they were set to play the iconic Troubadour, I did a double take. As iconic a venue as it is, it only holds about 500 concert goers. Simple Plan in a 500 person venue? A band that has sold over 7 million albums worldwide?  A band that performed at the closing ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics? A band that has headlined major music festivals around the world? At the Troubadour? Sign me up.

Insofar as the show was sold out (duh), I planned on getting to the venue before doors opened so as to score a decent spot inside to shoot. Los Angeles traffic derailed my well-laid plans, and when I arrived, the venue was already packed. Fans, both young and old, had claimed their spots, layered like sardines, up against the front of the stage. Thankfully, the opening acts (Story Untold & Hit The Lights) played equally infectious,  songs to keep the crowd entertained.

Simple Plan @ Troubadour 10/5/16. Setlist.By the time, Simple Plan took the stage, their fans were well lubricated for the crowd pleasing, pop-punk sounds that would soon be filling the room for the balance of the evening. From the get-go, with the blazing opening riffs of “Opinion Overload” pumped through the house speakers, I knew that this performance was going to be 100% energy all the way through. Pierre Bouvier (vocals), David Desrosiers (backing vocals, bass), Sebastien Lefebvre (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Jeff Stinco (lead guitar) and Chuck Comeau (drums) were all in fine form. The gents may be closing in on their 40s, but their sound and stage presence, jumping up on speakers and actively encouraging the crowd to get rowdy, rivaled those of upstart 20-something bands who lay it on the line every night to get noticed. In fact, if you closed your eyes, and just listened to them play, you could easily have been transported back to 2002 when they released “No Pad, No Helmets … Just Balls”.

It was a sonic time machine. While they obviously played select cuts from their latest album, they made sure that their long-time fans were treated to a plethora of their “classic” cuts. “I’m Just A Kid”, “I’d Do Anything”, “Perfect”, “Welcome to My Life”, “Crazy”, “Addicted”… even if you are just a casual (or even a closet) fan, you’ll know the hooks, and you’ll gladly sing along as the 500 fans in the Troubadour did all night long.

The band even seemed to be wrapped up in a bit of nostalgia themselves. On several occasions, Pierre took a moment to let the crowd know how geeked the band was to be a headliner at the Troubadour:

“This is our first real Troubadour show … ever. The last time we played here, we were opening for somebody.”

They would take beats in between songs to point out familiar faces, reminiscing about certain shows, video projects or other life events connected to those faces. They even took a moment to chat with a man in the front row who was actually there for the original gig at the Troubadour when Simple Plan was the supporting act. Talk about full circle, right? Pierre even took a moment to reflect on the fact that everyone on stage is an original member of the band, and that moments like this could only be as special as it was because everyone was still together.

The evening could have ended when they closed their set with their first single, “I’m Just A Kid”, but after several minutes off-stage, urged on by the swelling chants of “Simple Plan”, Pierre, Jeff, David, Chuck and Sébastien  came back onstage to perform four more songs as an encore. Seemingly fully aware that the evening was soon coming to an end, the voices in the audience seemed to sing louder and louder with every line of lyrics the band played. By the time they sang the final song of the evening, “Perfect”, Pierre could have sat it out, and let the audience sing for him.

Simple Plan is currently on tour through the end of the year, so check out their tour dates to see if they’re performing near you soon. Hopefully, it’ll be as kick as as it was at the Troubadour.

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