REVIEW: Kerrang! Tour 2016, Newcastle University

Sum 41 headlined the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford
Sum 41 headlined the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

At the turn of the 'noughties', when Sum 41 were one of the hottest pop-punk acts on the planet, you wouldn't have got a ticket for this gig for love nor money.

And when it was announced they were returning to retread past glories, there was a touch of the 'should they have bothered?' about their headlining slot on this year's Kerrang! Tour.

Sum 41 headlined the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

Sum 41 headlined the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

Now in its 11th year, the jaunt generally showcases up and coming acts, with an established rock, punk or metal band headlining.

The Canadian pop-punks were due to headline back in 2012, but were forced to pull out after frontman Deryck Whibley injured his back and was unable to perform.

He's since had treatment for an alcohol problem, which he thankfully seems to have conquered, so we should be grateful for the fact the band they here at all, with long-term guitarist Dave Baksh back on board after a nine-year absence.

After a three-year hiatus, they belatedly took up the top-of-the-bill slot, and even though their heyday was a decade and a half ago, the whole tour sold out.

Sum 41 headlined the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

Sum 41 headlined the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

They hit the stage to Over My Head (Better Off Dead), one of the best tracks on their 2002 album Does This Look Infected?

Their main set, just over an hour long, plucked tracks from all five of their studio albums, from 2001 full-length debut All Killer, No Filler to 2011's Screaming Bloody Murder.

Nearly half the set comprised old favourites from the first two records, and Motivation, Summer, The Hell Song and Handle This were greeted like the old friends they are.

There was a bit of a mid-set lull when they played newer, less familiar material, but as they entered the home straight, a cover of Queen's We Will Rock You got the crowded pumped up for the finale.

Sum 41 headlined the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

Sum 41 headlined the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

They ended with another crowd favourite, In Too Deep, which left the fans wanting more, and after the obligatory brief exit, they returned to the stage deliver what they wanted.

Their two-song encore began with a cover of Rancid's Ruby Soho and ended on a high note, with their best-loved song, Fat Lip, prompting a huge singalong and sending everyone home happy.

Sum 41 showed there's life in the old pop-punks yet, as evidenced by the fact that they're busy recording a comeback album, with the help of a PledgeMusic campaign.

Also on the bill were Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, the new hardcore band fronted by the former Gallows singer, and there was a danger they might steal the show.

Sum 41 headlined the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

Sum 41 headlined the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

They duly turned in a blistering 35-minute set, perhaps a little less intense than their stunning show at The Cluny last October, but impressive all the same.

Carter crowd-surfed off the stage and into the crowd during their second song, ending up on the bar at the back of the room, and though his assertion that "we're your favourite new band" might be a little off the mark for now, there's no doubt they'll have won some converts.

With songs of the calibre of Trouble, the swaggering Devil Inside Me, Juggernaut and I Hate You, it won't be long before they're a real force to be reckoned with on the punk scene.

The opening act, Biters, are a four-piece from Atlanta, Georgia, and if I tell you their riff-laden sound is influenced by the likes of Motley Crue and Alice Cooper, and they trot out every rock cliche in the book, that's all you need to know.

They were followed by ROAM, a young pop-punk band from Eastbourne who have just released their debut album, Backbone.

While they showed plenty of energy, and certainly got the crowd jumping, you got the feeling that while they might have made it big back in 2000, when the genre was blossoming, they showed little to make them stand out in today's rapidly-changing scene.

Sum 41 headlined the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

Sum 41 headlined the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes threatened to steal the show at the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes threatened to steal the show at the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes threatened to steal the show at the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes threatened to steal the show at the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

ROAM were second on the bill on the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

ROAM were second on the bill on the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

Biters opened the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford

Biters opened the Kerrang! Tour 2016 at Newcastle University. Pics: Gary Welford