By Justin Trudell
It’s not that we love music; we need music. It brings us joy, it helps us cope with a broken heart, it reminds us of an incredible time in our lives, it makes us dance, but most of all, it connects us with each other. We share a common emotional bond tied together with guitar strings and soaring vocals. That’s why St. Andrew’s Hall was sold out for Sum 41 on Wednesday night. After five years of silence from the guys, they were coming back to Detroit. We weren’t going to miss this show…we needed it.
There was an obvious nostalgia throughout the night; most of the crowd was ready to rage to the aforementioned classic tracks. But, that undermined the new material Sum 41 had just released. The new album, 13 Voices, came out earlier this month and debuted at #9 on the Billboard Top Albums Chart. 13 Voices, as you would imagine, is a bit more relaxed than classic Sum 41. You get older and mellow out a bit. “There Will Be Blood” is a fantastic track off the new album, and it was amazing live. It doesn’t make you want to rip your shirt off or punch someone, but it’s a good track nonetheless. Unfortunately, as soon as Deryck Whibley uttered the words “…off our new album” you could see the unmistakable flow of bathroom breakers. Whatever, their loss.
Sum 41 had their hey-day over a decade ago. The alternative punk band ruled MTV back in the Carson Daly TRL days. Songs like “Fat Lip,” “In Too Deep,” and “Still Waiting” evoke a grin when mentioned to someone 24-40 years old. They were the soundtracks of high school punks everywhere that had trouble fitting in. They spoke for the silent weirdos, gave a voice to the outcasts, and most of all, they made it easy for the socially awkward kids to connect to each other. We needed Sum 41 to speak for us.
Sum 41 knew most of us were there to hear the classic tracks, and they obliged. Whibley shared his appreciation for the crowd as he told us about his personal struggle before performing, “Motivation”.
“This next song is called ‘Motivation’,” he said. “And after struggling to even still be alive, I realized this was my motivation, this right here.”
Whibley had struggled with alcoholism only two years ago. His rough road back made this moment all the more special for all of us. During their cover of “We Will Rock You,” he said to the crowd, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I need you. Do you need me? I love you, do you love me?”
It’s easy to think the bands we love don’t really love us back. I mean, how could they? They play to thousands of people every night, how can they really care that much? Deryck Whibley proved music is a two-way street. We need this music to give us a voice, they need us to give them an ear, and we all need it to connect to one another.