In spite of the pouring rain earlier in the day, eight thousand people hit Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl to catch the first Sounds Of The City show, featuring two of Canada’s best alternative rock acts.


Opening the show was pop rock solo artist PHEM, who got a decent reception from those who had arrived early, particularly on her final song and on a cover of Wheatus’ ‘Teenage Dirtbag‘.


Bringing their brand of early 2000’s pop punk, Simple Plan hit the stage next, playing an excellent set similar to their UK headline shows earlier this year. Walking out to the Star Wars theme, they opened with the summer classic ‘I’d Do Anything‘, quickly getting the crowd moving as frontman Pierre Bouvier ran back and forth across the stage. They following this up with a couple of songs that had the crowd bouncing along (‘Shut Up’ and ‘Jump‘) before getting a little melancholy with ‘Welcome To My Life‘ – which featured Pierre removing his jacket to reveal his now signature sleeveless ‘I’m Just An Adult’ shirt!

Summer Paradise‘ followed, with Simple Plan launching several giant beach balls into the crowd throughout, before playing their strange medley of Smash Mouth’s ‘Allstar’ and The Killers ‘Mr. Brightside‘ (the latter of which sadly got Simple Plan their biggest response), plus their own Scooby-Doo theme featuring several people in Scooby costume running about the stage!

To close their set, Pierre lamented about how none of us are kids anymore and that ‘I’m Just A Kid‘ is now twenty two years old before launching into a fantastic rendition of said song. They then finished strong, getting the whole crowd to sing along to pop punk ballad ‘Perfect‘.


AVRIL LAVIGNE (Kayleigh Nickson/Northern Exposure)

Avril Lavigne has now been around for over two decades with her current tour all about celebrating her greatest hits and in that respect she did not disappoint! Following an opening video montage showcasing her career, she hit the stage to ‘Girlfriend‘ and the crowd went wild when pink and black streamers were launched into the sky! Next up was ‘What The Hell‘, featuring an early sing-a-long as Avril got half of the crowd to sing the “La la la la-la la laa’s” and the other half to respond with the “Woah! Woah“!

Avril then took a little time to talk about her career before an excellent rendition of her very first single, ‘Complicated‘, which was quickly followed up by ‘Smile‘, ‘Here’s To Never Growing Upand ‘Hot‘. Another video montage was then played, this time in a callback to the Let Go era (the album she played most songs from tonight) with the next batch of songs including ‘He Wasn’t‘ and ‘Losing Grip‘.

After face timing Simple Plan, the pop punks returned to the stage to perform their own song, ‘Addicted‘, with Avril, which was one of the highlights of the show! Inviting several fans up on stage for the end of the song, who were gifted with skateboards, Avril and Pierre knocked it out of the park, including a back and forth on “How long will I be waiting? Until the end of time” / “I don’t know why I’m still waiting, I can’t make you mine”.

AVRIL LAVIGNE (Kayleigh Nickson/Northern Exposure)

Not one to ignore her newer music, Avril then proceeded to perform two songs from latest album Love Sux in ‘Bite Me‘ and ‘Love It When You Hate Me‘, the former including pink beach balls launched into the crowd and the latter with more streamers (yellow and black this time). She then finished the first part of the show with the pop punk classic ‘Sk8er Boi‘, the crowd going wild as confetti and flames accompanied the song.

After a short interlude (with another video montage), Avril took a leaf out of Simple Plan’s book and finished the night on a more melancholy note. Returning to the stage for the encore with ‘Head Above Water‘ and ‘When You’re Gone‘, she finished with ‘I’m With You‘, getting the entire crowd singing along under the darkening sky.

Given the longevity of both bands, the crowd was a mix of young and old, with many people in attendance who were teenagers when Let Go released in 2002 visiting with their own teenagers! But one thing was for sure, everyone left happy after such a great show.

Avril has now wrapped up her UK stint of tour dates but can be seen across the globe over the summer – dates which can be found HERE!

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