Sum 41, Not by Choiceand Simple Plan as part of the Edge 102 Electric Christmas at the Kool Haus, December 15. Tickets: $20.50. Attendance: 2,000. Rating: NN
remember those tyger dolls that jumped up and down if you pressed on their heads? Well, Kool Haus was a room full of them for a triple bill geared to punkish teens.While Simple Plan stood in the entrance signing autographs, Sum 41 leapt onstage ready to please. The second they appeared, the energy in the room increased a thousandfold. In their spiky-haired glory, the Ajax boys egged the crowd on: "It's hot in here," they cried, which was true. "Let's make it hotter! Everyone jump up and down!"
The predominantly white, middle-class suburbanite kids jumped up and down, sang along and diligently held up the Sum 41 salute -- four fingers on one hand, and the middle finger on the other.
Front dude Deryck Whibley (vocals/guitars) raced back and forth across the stage, criss-crossing in front of bassist Cone McCaslin and guitarist Dave Baksh.
For anyone over 15, the scene grew tiresome. Thirty years after it took over the world, punk rock is so mainstream it hurts. McCaslin is under the impression that he's Sid Vicious, and Whibley thinks he's Johnny Rotten. Neither is right. Whibley's big guitar solo of the evening disappointed as well. Considering that he spent five minutes just hyping the crowd, you'd think he'd offer up something better than an AC/DC riff.
Then came the really embarrassing part. Whibley asked two girls who didn't know each other to get up onstage and make out. Well, up came two girls who merely mimed making out. If you're gonna jive to that shit, then jive. Otherwise, just say no.
It was nice to be at a show where people were thoroughly enjoying the entertainment and weren't preoccupied with standing around looking cool. However, even though musically Sum 41 are talented and their songs are catchy, the occasion just shrieked "cliché."