After knocking touring on the head a few years ago Bowling For Soup have gone from strength to strength with headline tours, support tours, headlining a stage at Slam Dunk and just generally being as much fun as they can be.
This Birmingham show came 9 months after their Slam Dunk set, less than 18 months after their support slot with Steel Panther and two years after their last tour of the UK and sales in Birmingham showed. Last time they toured, the Academy’s main room was bulging at the sides, this time it was a little less full, though for context it would still have sold the Academy 2 four times over at least.
With Bowling For Soup you’re guaranteed two things, awkward banter and a photo opportunity, and both of those were delivered in abundance. After opening with ‘I Don’t Wanna Rock’ and ‘Emily’ it seemed like the show was going from strength to strength and when Jaret addressed the crowd for the first time it was evident for the most part this was going to be the case.
Just three songs in and ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’ drops. Cue pandemonium. From the front to pretty close to the back everyone was bouncing and singing like they were in the shower…and after all the talk of Jaret and Chris’ sweaty ass cracks most of us were probably wishing we were.
One of the issues of focusing on one album is that…well…hits are hits for a reason. During some of the bands lesser known track from the Drunk Enough To Dance album it was evident that people were there for the big bouncy tracks and the catchy singalongs. Tracks like ‘Life After Lisa’ and ‘Out The Window’ were met with cheers from some of the crowd and background chatter from the rest.
When you’re seeing Bowling For Soup though you don’t focus on these bits. It’s things like the heckling from the crowd and how that’s received, usually by a declaration that a castle needs storming and it’s (for the first time in my gig going career) the chants of Oggy Oggy Oggy which were met with astonishment by the band. It’s good to know after all these years we can still surprise a tour hardened band like this.
‘High School Never Ends’ and ‘1985’ were the massive and unsurprising highlights of part two of the set with an all new feature being a countdown to the set closing SR-71 cover. This gives the band yet another opportunity to interact with the crowd, not that any excuse is ever needed.
Overall, this show was Bowling For Soup doing what they do. It wasn’t overly spectacular. The addition of a giant screen was pleasant and added a new dynamic with some interesting effects. These Texans know what they’re doing on stage and self-deprecation will always go down well with us Brits. Keep it up BFS. We will always want more.