Tuesday night in the Sphere Entertainment Complex.
As the digital tuner on my car radio grazes the myriad Canadian frequencies on its way from the Lake down to NPR, it often pauses, inexplicably, on a Sum 41 song.
Often, along with this strange electrical occurrence, I feel my lips part to mouth the words to one of the band's insidiously catchy singles -- completely against my will, of course.
No wonder the band bills itself as "everyone's guiltiest of guilty pleasures."
Tuesday night, as the fearless foursome of miscreants from outside Toronto brought their unique brand of suburbanized Canadian punk rock to the Sphere, any lingering guilt was overcome by pleasure -- if only the fleeting sort.
Though Sum 41 isn't exactly pioneering the much-tread-upon genre of pop punk, there's something inherently interesting about a group of self-proclaimed "lower middle-class brats" who still sing unpretentiously about the tribulations of life in 'burbs. Though their latest release "Chuck" finds the band in a rather cute state of political awareness, its music still appeals to the defiantteenager as effectively as its sophomore (and sophomoric) release "All Killer No Filler."
Rolling Stone rightly pegged Sum 41's music as "ADD rock for the vaguely unsatisfied," so anything more than a half-hour of unencumbered rapid-fire melodies begins to sound and feel like channel surfing among MTV, MuchMusic and the surgery channel.
Tuesday night being the first official stop on the band's latest North American tour, the four were in top form. Lead singer Deryck Whibley, exuberant and energetic -- a contrast from his more static performances on late night television -- sang with a voice as clear as on any of his studio cuts, and the band's execution and technique were flawless.
Whibley's slightly nasal voice strikes a perfect balance between defiance and sweetness. It's probably the band's greatest asset, and what provides its innocent, perpetually teenaged, undeniably Canadian charm.The band rounded out the hour-and-a-half-long set with hits like "Makes No Difference," "Pieces" and their latest single "We're All to Blame," a Green Day-ish reflection on American imperialism.