It’s a Wednesday night in Manchester and the Ritz is packed with fans of all-ages looking for a dose of pop-punk fun to brighten up this damp evening. That being the case, they couldn’t have picked a finer host for proceedings than Canadian quintet Simple Plan who are in town as part of a short European tour promoting their recently released album Taking One For The Team.

The thing about Simple Plan is that while the earlier material in the career couldn’t fit more into the pop-punk pigeonhole if it tried, as they’ve grown through their fifteen year career, the Canadian band have blossomed into a truly class act. Opening up with “Opinion Overload” from their aforementioned new album, Simple Plan deliver plenty of fun and plenty of smiles over the course of their nineteen song, career-spanning set. Full of crowd pleasers, the likes of “Jet Lag”, “Can’t Keep My Hands Off You” and “Welcome To My Life” fill the quota of required pop-punk bounciness while the mid-set medley of covers, offers an entertaining, if slightly pointless, bit of fun.

In fact, for the most part, FUN seems to be the only option on the menu with Simple Plan dishing up a couple of gems in the form of “I’m Just A Kid” and “Shut Up” whereas the band wind up the night with the double-pairing of “This Song Saved My Life” and “Perfect” when they really show themselves to be a class apart and bring the night to a glorious end.

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.