Last October Bowling For Soup played the Corn Exchange in what seems to have become an almost annual event – from their constant touring, they must be up there with Status Quo as one of the hardest working bands.
This time it was just Jaret and Erik who have flown to the UK with an assortment of acoustic guitars and friends including Linus of Hollywood and Ryan Hamilton. The evening (and banter) kicks off at 7:20 – shortly after the doors have opened with Erik’s 20 minute set, this is followed by Jaret’s 20 minute set (People on Vacation) and then the set from Linus of Hollywood which for a song features Jaret. For the first hour and a half we have amusing banter and acoustic music from BFS and friends – not knowing their material in advance, with no breaks between the different pairings on stage (and having a couple of beers) it all merges into one display of great musicianship, like mates jamming acoustically – we even get Wonderwall on audience request, or at least the first couple of lines. With added American pronunciations of the swear words called out by the crowd, and a lot of between-songs jesting, not to mention a lot of songs that seem to revolve around breaking up, everyone is in good spirits. Linus will be pleased if you buy his track from iTunes – here’s the link –http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/a-girl-that-i-like-single/id428046710
Jaret wearing a Dollyrots hoodie throughout this opening set – that puts one word in my mind – “awesome”, since their support slot of BFS winter tour last year their Because I’m Awesome CD. There’s a band I’d like to see again.
You’d think that would be a enough work for one evening from a couple of guys that sounds like they’d only just landed in the UK. Come 9 o’clock we get another two hours of Jaret and Erik bashing out BFS material on their acoustics. I don’t think I’d ever get tired of BFS – they keep churning out albums of classic happy songs and their electric gigs are some of the most entertaining you’ll ever see. We’d seen them before do a brief acoustic set as part of a VIP experience at the Corn Exchange, but tonight we get the full acoustic show, and a lengthy one.
But acoustic pop punk: surely that can’t work, can it? Their music takes on a slightly different dimension acoustically and their talent really shines. Classic songs are converted live on stage – Ohio, Almost, 1985, High School Never Ends and a lot of numbers that I didn’t recognise and has made me now go back to some of the earlier albums. Great lyrics and great tunes a plenty.
Audience members are invited to the stage to hold a kazoo or to sing with them – one chap is pulled on stage to complete the job after he sings a few bars of Journey’s Small Town Girl from the crowd. There’s probably a few hundred people here tonight but BFS create a vibe as if they have just turned up with their guitars and are playing in your own living room.
If there was one song I didn’t expect to hear tonight it would be Dance Song, and we get that second from last tonight before finishing with Girl All the Bad Guys Want. Fantastic, what a show. Let’s hope Cambridge is included on their October tour.
Bowling for Soup – http://www.bowlingforsoup.com/main.php
Linus of Hollywood: http://www.linusofhollywood.com/