Bowling For Soup: O2 Academy, Leeds

Bowling For Soup must absolutely love it over here. Or at the very least Jared (Guitarist/Lead vocals) and Erik Chandler (Bass/vocals). The two have toured their acoustic act extensively over the last two years and there is already another jaunt lined up early next year but this winter they’ve brought the whole band along for a tour that was always destined to be full of laughs and a few old favourites.

After missing both support acts due to the fine work of Yorkshire’s public transport system, I was more than looking forward to an evening of pop punk nostalgia and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Bands like Bowling for Soup haven’t got to be afraid of rock and roll clichés and they certainly act accordingly. 

After coming onstage to a frankly weak recorded intro, the band quickly set about showing us why we all fell in love with them when pop punk first battered the mainstream around the turn of the century. Unashamedly bouncy hits ‘High School Never Ends’ and ‘Punk Rock 101’ both get an early showing, much to the delight of the majoratively teenage crowd. For a band that have on occasion been pigeonholed as typical pop punk in music and attitude, they’re awfully talented musicians and through years and years of almost constant touring and recording they’re brilliantly in sync. Loveably rotund guitarist Chris Burney puts in a virtuoso shift full of driving punk riffs and some admittedly impressive plectrum flipping tricks, which looks a lot more impressive than it sounds on this page. 

The band have a bar set up throughout the night on stage, and after declaring themselves ‘hammered-ass drunk’ you might have forgiven them a bit of a lull mid-set, but there was never any possibility of that on a night like this. Fully embracing the ‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire’ chant which any gig goer round these parts will be more than used to, they go one better and develop their own version for the crowd’s enjoyment. Yes it’s unnecessarily long and convoluted, but it’s the thought that counts, right? That must be the case anyway because it’s repeated throughout the rest of the gig. A few cheeky cover versions keep things ticking along nicely with the band stopping their own songs to segue into Van Halen’s Jump and the timeless ’Stacy’s Mom’ which only serves to increase the nostalgia factor. It’s a quirky set and the theme continues when the band stop fan-favourite ‘Ohio’ and black out the stage. When the lights come up the band are replaced by members of first support act Patent Pending, who finish the song to somewhat bewildered applause before retreating back to the onstage bar. They remain there throughout while the big guns come back on stage to deliver a final folly of hits including a brilliantly received version of ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’ and ‘1985’, which gets one of the biggest receptions of the night, naturally.

This results in one quite excitable and inebriated young lady getting her breasts out for the band. It’s not big and it’s not clever but Jared marks the occasion by stating them ‘The first tits of the tour’. His words, not mine.

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