Live Review: Bowling For Soup – O2 Academy, Newcastle, October 18th 2009

Bowling For SoupThe Party In Your Pants Tour has just begun! After a sold-out Glasgow show, pop-punk kingpins Bowling For Soup make their way to Newcastle for more good times. In tow are Zebrahead, MC Lars and The Leftovers; that in itself is enough for anyone who loves fun to create a party in their pants right there…

Portland punk-poppers The Leftovers start off the nights proceedings to a crowd still filing into the venue. While they deliver more in terms of actual musical ability than the fun you’d expect from a Bowling For Soup support, they play extremely well. The quartet’s music gives a laid-back approach to their style of music, and an all-out goodtime vibe. Tracks like Dance With Me and Party ‘Til We Die loosen the collective audience muscles, and the band have left their mark on the public in just under half an hour, to little more than polite applause; more possibly deserved, a very strong performance.

Nerdcore-laptop-rapper MC Lars takes to the stage to some anticipation, and manages to set the mood to party. Pits open up, clap-a-longs, jumps, and all out fun starts up, and it’s seen now that Lars is obviously here to put a smile on faces. The problem is, his songs lack originality – big time. His set sounds like the same big mash up of the same song, a lot of the time it sounds like the same vocal melody is being recycled more times than Slayer’s song-names, and it grates after some time.

People do like it though, and that’s the main thing; given, Lars is quite tight live, despite the microphone sound being a tad too quiet, but said tightness is due to his brilliant backing band, UK rockers Failsafe, who play sublimely. Tetris and Super Mario retro sounds generate some yuks, and ultimately that is all there is to MC Lars. A good warm-up, but if the likes of BrokeNCYDE and Hollywood Undead get flak for what they do, why doesn’t this guy? He’s ultimately just as bad.

Orange County ska-rap-punk-pop-hip-hop-rock hybrid Zebrahead seem to have just as many fans here tonight as the headliners, and as they break out into favourite Rescue Me, the crowd lights up and there’s a sense of electricity within the ranks of the audience that sparks. Their songs sound somewhat quicker and jumpier live; rapper Ali Tabatabaee sounds sharp and fast in his vocal delivery, and the pure energy reeking from the band is massive.

Moshpits open up in all directions for songs like the brilliant and slightly more dangerous sounding Falling Apart, while Two Wrong’s Dont Make A Right and a great cover of Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend taken from new record Panty Raid spark dances left, right and centre. Nobody gets hurt, nobody gets pissed off; it’s just what Zebrahead is good at producing, nights of good hard clean fun. (Amid chants of “minge” during Playmate Of The Year – maybe not so clean, but still damn funny) Matty Lewis‘ vocals sound slightly drowned out tonight, but what is heard is picture perfect, and it’s lucky most in attendance know the words anyway, with a sea of hands, claps, and screams flooding back to the 5-piece.

HMP sees Mr. Tabatabaee don a megaphone as he conducts a massive, room-splitting wall of death, and one of the biggest circle pits the venue might of ever seen. Zebrahead play like it’s their own show, and they play it well, a fantastic, energetic performance, and it’s going to be hard to follow.

Bowling For Soup, taking a good five minute intro video to come onstage around a quarter-to-ten, are ultimately uninspiring. They sound sadly sloppy tonight, and even the most hardcore of fan realises this after just a few short songs, (the first four of which take around 20-minutes to play through, due to the vast amount of mindless chit-chat the band run their mouths with) once the jumping bean energy of the crowd dies down. There’s surprisingly no homely mosh like the bands before them – given, Zebrahead and MC Lars are no Killswitch Engage, but there was at least a vibe.

Singles like High School Never Ends still sound like the fun party band Bowling For Soup are, but there’s no special spark tonight. There’s still endless feedback from a hopeful crowd, each song new and old are chanted along with aplomb and desire. New single My Wena gets a great reaction, and obviously on record, people are enjoying the band as much as they might of five or six years ago. The problem is, for a band that are supposed to strike a fun approach to a concert, their banter really isn’t all that funny or memorable. Bands like Zebrahead can gain some chuckles, anyone who’s seen Random Hand will know you are faced with being in stitches after a dosage of their on-stage gossip, but Bowling For Soup rely on it too much and it’s grating.

When they do get back to being a band and playing songs, it seems like it’s the name they rely on most; Girl All The Bad Guys want obviously getting the biggest reaction of the night, but the 4-piece might want to think about their live show a bit more and concentrate on the music before making their way back across the pond, because this set, barely an hour-and-a-quarter, has proved to be one big disappointment.

George Cannings.

Bowling For Soup’s new album Sorry For Partyin’ is out now. Zebrahead release Panty Raid December 9th.

We’ll be posting our interviews with Bowling For Soup and Zebrahead very soon!


One Response to Live Review: Bowling For Soup – O2 Academy, Newcastle, October 18th 2009

  1. […] for Change The Record, View the full set of photographs here or Read George's review of the show here. He also did an interview with Zebrahead which can be found here as well as his interview with […]

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