Bowling For Soup | 05.01.12

bowlingforsoup sqThe first time I saw Bowling For Soup was at the Jacksonville, Fl. 2004 Warped Tour. It was the big election year, and the year of “Rock Against Bush!” so lead singer and guitarist Jaret Reddick made an announcement. “Everybody has a cause this year,” Jaret said, “so ours is to stop chafing!”

 

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Eight years later (and 17 into their career), the pop-punk quartet from Texas has not lost their light-hearted, humorous edge. Though the bandmembers may have been old enough to have sired half the audience, Bowling For Soup was the perfect cap to a very late 90s/early 2000-style night.

The entire show was full of band camaraderie, technical difficulties, ripping on the Old Rock House’s balcony-seated audience and covers. Everything started normal with Sandlot Heroes kicking off the night as a somewhat dubious audience milled about (until they covered Australian singer Gotye’s hit “Somebody That I Used To Know,” a good portion of the crowd warmed up after that).

Freshman 15 came up second, with their fast pop-punk riffs but surprisingly pretty vocals. Their small but dedicated fanbase dominated a portion of the main floor for a mosh pit that would flip from jovial to intense as drummer Leo Teran threw a couple choice blast beats into the mix.  At the end of the set, however, vocalist Davey Fortner’s guitar was decommissioned mid-song, and for their final number, Rob Felicetti from Patent Pending jumped on stage with his guitar to play along.

Felicetti and the rest of Patent Pending took the stage shortly afterward, and the crowd went ballistic. The Old Rock House turned into every a scene from ever movie and music video featuring a “rock show” – arms flailing, people pogoing, lights flashing, the band bouncing all over the stage (frontman Joe Ragosta did two stage dives onto the crowd), everybody sweating and pushing on everybody and the fans screaming their hearts out.

It’s usually odd when the room is more subdued for the headliner than one of the supporting acts, but as the ever-observant (and endlessly witty) Reddick mused, “It’s great because they tire you guys out and we can just stand here. We’re old, one of us might break a hip.”

And though they may not have been going crazy on stage, that didn’t stop Bowling For Soup from being incredibly entertaining. Cracking jokes, flinging guitar picks at the air and each other, and of course, playing all the songs the crowd could ask for – “Almost,” “1985,” “Punk Rock 101,” “High School Never Ends,” “The Bitch Song,” “Ohio” and “Girl All The Bad Guys Want.” They also covered Fountains Of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom” (“Because the world has been giving us credit for it for like eight years,” Reddick said) and “Hit Me Baby One More Time” by Brittany Spears.

Patent Pending re-took the stage (and Bowling For Soup’s instruments) while the band took a drink break. Ragosta returned to the stage later and posed with Bowling For Soup on the left, right and center of the stage for a “once in a lifetime photo opportunity” in the middle of their set. 

After roughly one and a half hours of drinking, joking and jamming on stage, Bowling For Soup returned for a one-song encore, “My Hometown,” before exiting the venue for the night. | Eva Connors

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