Sum 41 + Hunter Valentine + Hollerado @ The Intersection

"My name is Deryck, and I'm an alcoholic."

This is how Sum 41's set began, and I didn't need him to say it to realize it. This is my third time seeing the Canadian quartet, and although it's been close to a decade, I didn't expect such a drastic difference. It's obvious something has taken a toll on lead singer Deryck Whibley's life, be it his divorce from Avril Lavigne, or the less than stellar reviews of the band's latest album. His face is swollen, his eyes are wonky, and he looks like... an alcoholic.

I wish I could stop there, but 2 minutes into the first song, I realized I didn't want to be there anymore. Whibley's voice sounded less than stellar, and I understand that touring nonstop can be exhausting, but if you can't handle it, don't do it. On the flipside, the band sounded great. One thing I've always loved about Sum 41 is their energy, and that hasn't changed. Even though the heavy crowd interaction may be a bit of a mask for Whibley's shaky vocals, it's fun.

Overall, Sum 41's set left me less than impressed. Is the tenth anniversary tour of Does this Look Infected a sign of the band's demise? We shall see,  but for the love of rock 'n roll, I hope their frontman gets it together.

On the other hand, the two opening acts completely blew me away.

Hunter Valentine:

led by the beautiful (and equally badass) Kiyomi McCloskey, this Canadian all-girl group was a delightful surprise. These grrrls look cute, but there's nothing soft about their sound. Decked out in all leather, Kiyomi commanded my attention the second I laid my eyes on her. Not only does she have stage presence, she's also got the guts to back it up. Both her vocals and guitar were top-notch. Let's not forget about the woman behind the kit, Laura Petracca (apparently the only drummer with size F breasts), keyboardist/guitarist Aimee Bessada, and bassist Veronica Sanchez.

Hollerado:

a delightful powerpop band drawing obvious influence from both folk and punk rock, these gentlemen (also hailing from Canada) have a purely unique sound and energy through the roof. Inciting both a dance party and a mosh pit simultaneously is a skill few acts have, and they all should strive for. I hadn't heard a single Hollerado song before seeing them live, but many of the songs stuck in my head for days. Menno Versteeg is the lead singer and guitarist, accompanied by Nixon Boyd on guitar, Jake Boyd on drums, and Dean Baxter on bass (they all sing too, which is awesome - and sexy). These guys have amazing stage chemistry and seem to have a genuine love for their craft.