‘The emotional aspect is more important in live music’ – Brian Eno
Who: Bowling for Soup – How About Another Round tour
When: Tuesday 2nd February 2016
Where: O2 Academy, Newcastle
Bowling for Soup are my absolute favourite band*. I was obsessed with Girl All the Bad Guys Want when it was released in 2002 and the subsequent album it came from Drunk Enough to Dance. They’ve had mediocre success in the UK since then, some of you may remember the 2006 single High School Never Ends, but other than that they haven’t worried the UK charts too much.
The punk pop wave they were part of didn’t last very long and interest in them and similar bands like Sum 41, Good Charlotte, Less Than Jake etc didn’t seem to fit in the more polished landscape of the mid 00’s that Razorlight and The Killers were holding up. But those in the know knew that BFS were still releasing albums, and great albums at that.
This marked the 4th time I’ve seen them live, having previously been to the Get Happy (2008), Annual Acoustic (2010) and The Farewell UK (2013) tours so I already knew they were fantastic live. We didn’t catch the support acts unfortunately (Lacey & The Dollyrots) because, well we were too busy trying out the toon’s latest Micro Pub The Split Chimp round the corner, which was so good time ran away with us a little bit.
But we did catch a few songs of MC Lars, who I thought was really good – very 80’s in his rapping style, and his references to my favourite poem in the world (The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe) was inspired.
When the boys hit the stage they hit the stage with a bang. The fact there were still tickets available on the door worried me but as usual the venue was packed and from the first note of the first song the crowd were bouncing. Despite the fact that lead singer Jaret Reddick has put on a bit on timber (something he references himself in the show) his voice still sounds amazing – the best I’ve personally heard it to be honest. The banter between the band and the crowd was on form, they’ve always had a great rapport with the audience and it really makes it feel like a much more intimate gig than it is, just me and 2000 of my closest friends!
They had the crowd eating out the palm of their hands pretty much all night. The best moment of the night or me came when they sang ballad Turbulence. It’s a favourite of mine anyway as the lyrics have helped me a lot with my recent bout of anxiety, but it also made me think of 15 year old me. I would go to gigs and see girls there with their boyfriends or husbands and they would always have a cuddle during the slowies. Here I was seeing my favourite band, singing one of my favourite songs, and hubby puts his arms around me and we have a little bit of a sway. That couple of minutes right there were just perfect, I must admit I shed a little tear. 15 year old me would have been so happy for me.
They truly went all out punkpop in this show. They thrashed out hit after hit, the way they were supposed to be played. Fast and loud rather than the slower, watered down, radio friendly versions you hear on the CD. Plenty of opportunity for the crowd, which was a good mix of young EMO kids and late 20s/early 30 year olds, to pogo around, or indeed nod appreciatively at the side. Can you guess which ones we were?! They managed to keep this energy from start to finish, which was impressive, and shows the infectiousness of both their on stage personas and their music
My only criticism of the night was the set list. They played a lot of their earlier punkier stuff and fan favouites, which, considering they don’t have an album out at the moment to promote is understandable. But lots of my personal favouites; A Really Cool Dance Song, Life After Lisa, Love Sick Stomach Ache & And I Think You Like Me Too were all absent. They also played an homage to their punk-pop mates with a medley of Blink182/Green Day/Good Charlotte/Less Than Jake in the middle. The crowd went crazy, they loved it. I could have done without it. They have such an amazing back catalogue, they could have used that time to sing something of their own, that’s just my personal opinion though.
I’m splitting hairs here of course, with a discography as extensive as theirs you’re probably never going to hear your personal dream setlist. I’m sure of all the people in the room, it will have been someones dream setlist. I’ll just have to make sure I keep going to see them until they get it right ;-). Here’s to the next tour!
The Bitch Song
Ohio (Come Back to Texas)
The Last Rock Show
Punk Rock 101
Friends o’ Mine
All The Small Things / Basket Case / Girls and Boys / My Friends Over You / The Middle
Love Ya, Love Ya, Love Ya
Since We Broke Up
High School Never Ends
Shut-Up and Smile
Girl All the Bad Guys Want
Thanks to Michael for letting my use his brilliant picture from the show!
*After the Backstreet Boys