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When I heard Simple Plan and State Champs were teaming up for a tour together, I got super hyped.  I saw both on the final run of the Vans Warped Tour in 2018 and each had phenomenal performances.  The pop-punk run that is happening today within the music scene is fantastic and I am all for it.  The crisp Dallas evening was shaping up nicely and fans lined up around the block were in for some good tunes and nostalgia with heavy hitters Simple Plan headlining the show.  I was ready for this party to get started.

The first act to take the stage was a band called Northbound and they did not disappoint.  Started by Jonathon Fraser in 2012, Northbound began making waves in the pop-punk genre and I think they were a great fit for this tour and the bands accompanying them.  Their sound was crisp and I loved the energy they brought to the stage.  In their seven song set, they played some of their bigger hits such as, “Hurt Today”, “Actor”, and “Fade to Black”.  Northbound also just released their latest album, Soul Kiss, and you should definitely check it out - it's killer!

Next up were the Florida natives, We The Kings.  In 2007, they released their biggest hit, “Check Yes, Juliet” and it has been off to the races ever since.  They have built up a huge fan-base over the years and continue to kill every time they tour.  Lead by vocal and guitarist, Travis Clark, We The Kings had a super fun set due to the wide range of songs they were able to play from their catalog.   Of the nine songs they performed, you know they wouldn’t leave out “Sad Song” and “Say You Like me”.  They even slowed things down for their other guitarist, Coley O’Toole, to sing Queen's classic  “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Celine Dion's “My Heart Will Go On”.  And if you didn’t think it could get any better, the intro to “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World came on and they went full blast with it.  We The Kings closed out their set with “Check Yes, Juliet” and the crowd went wild.  Incredible.

After a brief intermission, State Champs hit the stage and they came out roaring.  Derek Discanio did not let up once during their set of fourteen classics and was on point the whole time.   Starting with “Mine Is Gold” off their latest album, Living Proof, it was a perfect way to get the crowd off their feet (and that it did).  Playing songs from their entire catalog took fans back in time and there wasn’t a single person not singing the words to every song.  It was awesome to see such high energy on stage throughout their entire set as well - these guys delivered!  They played some good jams such as “Prepare To Be Noticed” from The Finer Things album, as well as “Criminal”, “Remedy”, and “Elevated”.  You can tell they took their time deciding which songs to play on the tour because they delivered a wild set.  State Champs ended their performance with “Secrets” off their Around The World And Back album, and “Dead And Gone” off Living Proof.  Could the evening get any better?

Last (but certainly not least), Simple Plan was on deck and getting ready to bring down the house.  Lights dimmed, smoke began to arise from stage area, and finally we were off to the races as they finally took the HOB stage.  One by one, they all started to fill the stage as the lights came up with the intro to “I’d Do Anything”.  It was killer to see fans immediately start yelling the lyrics at the top of their lungs as the show got underway, and was definitely a signal of good things here in Dallas.  A few songs went by and then they began to play “Welcome To My Life”, with the crowd joining in and chanting the chorus line like they were back in middle school again.  Pierre has a talent for keeping that sound in his voice that we all can remember, and it was brought to life again on Sunday night in Dallas. 

Simple Plan stopped the show for a minute to talk about the cool opportunity they got to be written into a show and then proceeded to play the “What’s New Scooby Doo” song and everyone definitely enjoyed that.  They then made the joke that they were the band who used to use a specific word on the radio “way to much” and then proceeded to play “Addicted”.  This one killed!  Simple Plan continued on with a number of great songs leading up to "Where I Belong", where We The Kings and State Champs joined them on stage for a bad ass collab.   Simple Plan's encore was nothing short of amazing with “Shut Up”, “I’m Just a Kid”, and then finally the one we were all waiting for, “Perfect”.  It was a night full of great music and everyone should try to make it out to this tour when it comes to their city.  It's one I won't soon forget.


James Coffman

Photojournalist - Dallas

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