Bowling For Soup – Manchester Academy

By paul

I know I’ve prattled on about this before, but am I too old at 22 to be going to a Bowling For Soup show? I mean looking at the crowd there are more 13-year-olds than you can shake the proverbial stick at it. And not only that, but said kids are wearing a variety of black (as if any other colour would be right) hoodies, ranging from Slipknot and Staind, to Linkin Park and Sum 41. And of course there is a smattering of the obligatory BFS tour t-shirts, of which it has to be said there are about 10 different designs on offer – quite remarkable for a band that have only had one UK hit song and are virtual unknowns in the US of A. As well as the myriad of small children you get the parents, some of whom it appeared had come straight from work in the shirt and tie…

Anyway, on with the show as they say. Myself and my buddy Ste came armed with three more tickets than we had bodies, and so ended up getting shafted by the touts outside, shifting all three for just ΒΆΕ“7. Still, a sold-out show of 2,100 people makes this gig the biggest of the whole tour. We arrive in the venue to catch my buddies in UNCLE BRIAN hit the stage, dressed impeccably in a matching white shirt/black tie combo. But that is definitely where the comparisons to The Hives end. Coming across like any good pop-punk/ska band should do, my favourite Uncles hog the big stage like they were born to play the larger shows. With vocalists Dan and Ben trading jokes with the crowd and drummer John complete in Spiderman attire, the kids time and time again go off to a mix of old and new tracks. Their cover of ‘We’re Going To Ibiza’ goes down better than ever and the new songs show enough promise to prove that Uncle Brian are certainly back with a bang and are well worthy of your attention if they come near your town. On the downside the vocals were quite low in the mix and drummer John admitted that the monitors were ‘a bit shit’, but hey, you sounded good guys… (7)

I don’t really care for JESSE JAMES. Recently signed to Golf Records (alongside another 4562835 UK bands who signed for the label at the same time), only ‘Shoes’ is a song that stands out among an average set of tunes that I feel the band possess. I saw them supporting Lit earlier in the year and was not impressed at all, and tonight the band are equally dull. There’s nothing new or interesting on offer and what Jesse James do, they do without much flair. It certainly does not grab my attention at all, so I spend my time laughing at Uncles John and Dan get mugged by the aforementioned 12-year-old girls. Dan is even asked to sign somebody’s birth certificate! Their new found fame is completely deserved and they prove so popular that they don’t have any t-shirts left in large at all… But wait, isn’t this supposed to be a Jesse James review? Yep…sorry I got bored of speaking about them…(5)

You don’t go to a BOWLING FOR SOUP show to see the most technical of pop-punk bands. You go to be entertained, and boy, do BFS put on a fantastic live show. The songs are either fantastic (see ‘Suckerpunch’ as a fine example) or rather dull and generic, but for a band that haven’t really been in the limelight all that long they have perfected the art of having fun and getting the crowd all hot and bothered. Songs like new single ‘Emily’ and ‘Surf Colorado’ start mayhem in the pit, and ‘Suckerpunch’ and ‘Out The Window’ are fantastic slices of pop-punk perfection. The rather ‘portly’ Chris and Erik are the perfect foil for lead singer Jaret, who admittedly does sound fantastic tonight, dispelling any myths that the band are far from perfect in the live department. The humour flows all night, especially of the toilet variety, and numerous references to having sex with mums is mentioned – but then would you really expect anything different from this lot? A pop medley, featuring the likes of Avril Lavigne, Nelly, Shaggy, Eminem and Nelly Furtado is a masterstroke and the cover of the Ramones anthem ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ is fantastic, even if it probably does go above the heads of many of the younger members of the audience. Winding up with ‘Running From Your Dad’ and the anthemic ‘Bitch Song’, the kids maintain their energy, copying the bands on-stage presence and making for one sweaty night. The presence of a couple of ‘young’ girls demonstrating their breasts was also enjoyed by the band and pre-pubescent boys alike, but c’mon, underage girls are wrong… Last single ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’ goes down as you would expect it to and the night ends with a rampant version of the Bryan Adams tune ‘Summer Of ’69’. (8)

Bowling For Soup will never be the greatest band on Planet Punk, but what they lack in quality songs, they make up for in entertainment. Their newest album may well be no more than average, but their live show is well worth checking out – if only for Jaret’s comical Avril Lavigne and Shaggy impressions. How far the band go in this country depends on how well they maintain this momentum that they have built up. I suspect that in a years time BFS may well be old news – but let’s enjoy it now while its here. Hop aboard and enjoy the BFS ride.