Bowling For Soup

Tab Editor and self-confessed Bowling For Soup fanboy JONNY SINGER reports back on his childhood heroes.

Bowling For Soup Gig Jaret Reddick Jonny Singer Patent Pending pop-punk The Dollyrots The Junction

Not all bands can be musical visionaries. As Bowling For Soup’s frontman Jaret Reddick tells us “we’re not even that good”. The great thing is, it doesn’t matter.

Sure, there are better songwriters than Jaret, better bassists than Erik, and more mobile guitarists than Chris (although Gary does seem like a pretty awesome drummer). But when it comes down to it, few bands are capable of delivering this much fun.

Some people will have you believe that happy isn’t cool. That may be true. But who needs to be cool when you can have this good a time?

From the moment the band come onstage, the crowd is just one sweaty, bouncing mass. ‘My Hometown’ gets us going before the band immediately launch into ‘High School Never Ends’, one of their major hits.

Looking around the venue, I can’t help but feel a wave of reality hit me. About half the people around me weren’t even born when the band formed, but the other half (me included) started listening when they were at school, and tonight it feels like we haven’t really moved on at all.

You know what, that’s just fine too. Tomorrow I’ll return to music with a little bit of meaning and complexity about it, but tonight, crass jokes (‘My Weiner’) and idiotically simple riffs (um, just about all of them) won out over cleverness.

The back-catalogue of favourites is pulled out, and we’re treated to some straight-up quality pop-punk joy. The guys know how to work the room, unleashing the big guns to really get everyone moving, throwing in some of the better new material (which sounds pretty much like the old stuff anyway), and even a great couple of “Baby one more time”.

A word also needs to be spared for the support acts. The Dollyrots were far from their self-proclaimed levels of “awesome”, but the lead singer did join me down in front during the headline act, which was pretty cool. Patent Pending, on the other hand, were as good a support as you could hope to see. Full of energy, they were just like a younger, punkier version of their co-performers, and when they came on to take over a couple of times during the headline set, it was hard not to see them as Bowling For Soup’s worthy heirs.

There were some downsides – for starters, the show wasn’t quite as polished as it might have been. BFS are always quite chatty, but no-one seems to have explained that using the words ‘pub’ and ‘shag’ 100 times doesn’t make you British.

The band members are also (as you’d expect) looking a lot older. Chris, with his greying goatee, is beginning to resemble Santa more than a guitarist. The energy here wasn’t as great as when they toured here at the peak of their powers in 2007 (yes I saw them then, and yes, I am a bit of a fan-boy). Not that that seemed to matter very much.

If you don’t like pop-punk, then this would probably have been a nightmare. But what these guys do, they do better than anyone else out there. Every single person I saw leaving the Junction had a great big smile on their face. Job done.