From the sublime to the ridiculous… this time it’s a 4-band tour, commissioned and headlined by Texan cartoon punksters Bowling For Soup, whose last set we’d ignored in favour of hob-nobbing with their support, our friends American Hi-Fi. So, no Hi-Fi this time – it’s payback time!
So on a cold evening we set off in our recently misbehaving car, parking up and meeting uber-Soup fan Rich and lady Amanda in the Hatchet Inn. Got grub while the Big Man sorted tix for himself and Amanda thanks to his connections! Chatted until 8.30 which meant missing the horrible queue, but also the first 2 bands on this "Get Happy" tour, Army Of Freshmen and Wheatus. No great loss really!
The place however was utterly heaving for this sell-out show, and with the Soup’s predominantly teen audience, decibel levels were approaching hockey international status, the high-pitched squeals sending neighbourhood dogs running for shelter! Got a spot on the bar stage left while support Son Of Dork were playing the type of identikit shiny Emo/ Orange County "punk" that All American Rejects do far better. One of them was apparently in boy band Busted – possibly the dorky Ben Kweller lookalike singer!
Rich headed for the mosh for the Soup, while we took advantage of a kindly steward lady who (thanks to Rach’s pregnancy!) let us stand on the steps, stage left, with an unimpeded aerial view. Result!
BFS kept us waiting but eventually appeared to the "Rocky" theme tune and a rapturous reception, all wearing quickly divested black tracksuits and performing an elaborate warm-up! Pure showbiz hokum, but what do you expect from this lot of raffish entertainers? Kicking off with "Almost", this was a "best of" run-through of their eminently catchy, hooky and melodic poppy punk rock, and also an object lesson in how to entertain. The in-between song banter was as scatological as ever, varying from big Chris talking about having 3 fingers up Jaret’s ass (!) to Jaret wanting to recruit backing singers with the reward of showering with the band! During-song breaks were also aplenty, for reasons varying from the boys telling the audience how pretty we all were, to a planned (and sound-tracked) mid-song drink break! Add in the usual pick-juggling and chanting, and the Soup had this young audience eating out of their hands.
Us oldies too! "1985" and "Girl All The Bad Guys Want" were our highlights – that is, until the encore, when an incredible "Into Your Arms" (yup, the Lemonheads song!) topped the lot, despite the crowd totally ignoring it! We didn’t, a point duly made to drummer Gary, who acknowledged us from onstage with a rock hand.
Quick out and home too afterwards; back at 12 after a totally entertaining set from Bowling For Soup!