It seems like just yesterday that we were all following along with Deryck Whibley and Avril Lavigne’s punk-rock romance and hoping she could get him on the straight-and-narrow. (“Everybody’s got their problems,” amiright?) But that ended almost 10 years ago, which means that yes, we are old. Whibley and his Sum 41 bandmates have been pretty busy in the years since.
Fresh off a nationwide tour celebrating last year's 15th anniversary of Does This Look Infected, the guys jumped back into the studio to work on their first new music since 2016. Earlier this week we got the first taste with the release of single “Out For Blood,” and it’s the Sum 41 we know and love, amplified. The full-length album, Order in Decline, is set to drop this July via Hopeless Records. Sum 41 promised that it will be the heaviest and most aggressive album yet, and if the first single is any indication, they've delivered.
The punk-rock icons take to the road for another nationwide tour this week, ahead of the album release. They’re hitting up smaller venues and clubs, rather than the large amphitheaters Sum 41 has typically filled since the early aughts, to give fans an intimate experience. The tour is aptly called “No Personal Space.”
There’s something truly special about cramming into a too-small space to jump around and get sweaty with a few hundred other enthusiast concertgoers. That’s exactly what happened Wednesday night at the Cambridge Room, the walk-in-closet-sized, poorly ventilated space on the second floor of House of Blues.
California-based outfit Assuming We Survive kicked off the night with a fun, high-energy set. They’ve been around since 2007 and have somehow never signed on to a record label, opting instead to grow their fan base by word of mouth and touring smaller venues. (Their last trip to Dallas was last October when they played at Deep Ellum’s Prophet Bar.)
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Assuming We Survive straddles the wide line between pop-punk and hardcore, but their energy and sincerity are infectious. Toward the end of their set, vocalist Adrian Estrella made sure to let us know that they saw 13 crowd surfers the previous night in San Antonio. Fans eagerly accepted this challenge — and raised them a circle pit.
Somehow the Cambridge Room became even more cramped during the 20 or so minutes between sets. The claustrophobic atmosphere was exactly what Sum 41 was looking forward to about this tour, but one couldn’t help but wonder if management forgot to switch the A/C on prior to the show.
“This is just like the old days!” Whibley told the crowd after plowing through their first few songs, his signature bleach-blond spiked hair visible above even the tallest audience members. They touched all six albums in their discography but reserved all their biggest hits for the end of the set. They served up “In Too Deep,” “Still Waiting” and “The Hell Song” back to back to back, and fans could not get enough. It was rowdy, and there was nowhere to go to escape the circle pit, crowd surfers or masses of jumping, sweat-drenched people. But no one complained, and we could tell the band members were also getting a kick out of it.
This is the way rock shows are supposed to be, and we’re delighted that Sum 41 had the chance to come out and reconnect with their fans. The only people who likely didn’t enjoy themselves were the security staff – sorry guys.