Simple Plan and supports live at O2 Academy, Bristol

Simple Plan put on a fantastic show in Bristol with support from Mayday Parade, State Champs and AIR YEL who were all also brilliant.

It was a very wet Tuesday evening in Bristol but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the almost 2,000 people queuing to see Simple Plan at their sold-out show at the O2 Academy.

The venue is one I’m personally not a fan of as it always seems to be over sold but I managed to get a good balcony spot in time for AIR YEL, who was opening as a relatively unknown solo act – with her foot in an air cast after injuring herself earlier in the run.

I loved AIR YEL’s sound and her vocals as well as her ability to easily switch from a more relaxed acoustic sound to a full-on energetic full track. I loved HELLGIRL and so did the crowd, who also received her covers of Still Into You and Yellow by Paramore and Coldplay respectively. At times I was reminded of Phem with her sound and that added an extra element for me.

It must be daunting performing as a solo artist but AIR YEL was great at interacting with the crowd and seemed perfectly at home on the stage.

Up next was one of my favourite bands in State Champs. Now this line up was definitely a dream one for me, with Champs, Mayday Parade and Simple Plan being three of my top bands, so of course I was excited.

State Champs were unsurprisingly fantastic and gave the crowd one hell of a set with a mix of old (hello Elevated) and new songs, including fan favourites such as All You Are is History, Frozen, Fake It and Secrets. It was full of energy and a great set, which is actually not surprising at all from the New Yorkers.

Mayday Parade soon took to the stage where they performed a quick-fire selection of tracks from their back catalogue including the likes of Oh Well, Oh Well, Piece of Your Heart and the hits Jersey, Black Cat and Jamie All Over as well as recent single More Like a Crash. It was another unsurprisingly great set full of energy.

Finally, it was time for Simple Plan. Now this is a band I’ve liked since the early 2000s (which when thinking about it, makes me feel extremely old!) but have never had the chance to see live due to various circumstances. Opening with the Star Wars theme, the crowd were already excited and you could tell it was going to be a show full of fun and energy.

And it was. They wasted no time jumping into hit song I’d Do Anything, which was then followed immediately by Shut Up! The crowd were absolutely loving it.

Throughout the set there was a lot of love between the band and crowd and you could see that – despite spending two decades making music – the band are still fully passionate about what they do.

There were a range of hits played including Addicted, Welcome to My Life and Summer Paradise as well as some of my personal favourites including Astronaut and Your Love is a Lie.

Pierre also made sure to wish the crowd a Happy Valentine’s Day as the show took place the day before, but of course he had to sing it and dedicate it to the single people who were ‘miserable’ which gave the crowd a laugh.

One thing I love about bands is their interactions with the fans and there was a lot of talk about balls after the giant beach balls were let loose during Summer Paradise as well as the nice touch of having Scooby Doos run about the stage for the band’s hit What’s New Scooby Doo – the theme for the popular TV show of the same name.

Throughout the set, Simple Plan made use of the screens with some fantastic imagery which really helped to enhance the songs (and also gave those who may not know all the lyrics a helping hand to sing along at times).

Despite being full of hits themselves, the band took some time to highlight some other artists with a medley of covers of All Star, Sk8r Boi (a nice nod as the band are supporting Avril on her July UK shows) and Mr Brightside.

Where I Belong featured both Derek’s – DiScanio of State Champs fame and Sanderson of Mayday Parade – making guest appearances, with AIR YEL joining during the opening encore song Jet Lag.

There was a lot more fun in the encore after Pierre made a speech about how I’m Just a Kid – arguably the band’s biggest hit – was released 22 years ago and it was stretched out to allow for maximum fun as the band pulled up some fans on stage for a crowd photo – including one dressed as Scooby Doo – before Chuck wanted to leave the drum kit and become a frontman for a bit. So he switched with Pierre but rather than sing, he jumped into the crowd to high five everyone, allowing State Champs’ Ryan Scott Graham to take the reins for the end of I’m Just a Kid as Pierre took over on drums.

It was an incredible evening of fantastic music and honestly, is already up there for one of the best shows I’ve seen.

I also have to give huge props to those handling the sound for the show. It was absolutely incredible. It’s been a while since I was able to fully enjoy every aspect of a live show due to various issues with tech, but the mix was perfect for each band, giving the audience a very well rounded show that just enhanced the performances on stage.

Elizabeth Birt

February 21, 2024

Band management assistant. Goth princess and lover of all things music and sport.


View all author posts