After announcing in April of 2013 that their last tour of the UK would take place in October of the same year, Bowling For Soup bring their 2016 “How About Another Round?” tour back to the UK with Glasgow as the first stop.
Opening the show is Californian rapper, MC Lars. Also on host duties for the evening, he peppered his own brand of self described “post punk laptop rap” between the other support acts. Admittedly, before seeing him perform I found him a strange addition to the line up. Although not what I’d usually choose to listen to, his delivery is both humorous, clever, and served to warm up the O2 Academy nicely. At one point he was in collaboration with the crowd in the form of “When I say ‘lap’, you say ‘top’…” – need I say more?!
Next up are Nottingham alt-rockers, Lacey. With choppy guitars, thundering beats and more hooks than a pirate convention, the quartet blasted their way through a set which wouldn’t sound at all out of place at the likes of Reading & Leeds festival’s main stage. A dream I bet, in comparison to the “venues that smell like piss”, which vocalist Graz Turner describes playing in in Lacey’s early years. Having played a good mix of songs from their latest release, their 2013 EP and also an original cover of Blink 182’s “Dammit”, they left the stage leaving the crowd well satisfied.
Their debut album Under The Brightest Lights (which I’ve had on more than a couple of times since it’s release…), is 11 tracks of confident, infectious rock which makes you sit up and listen. I predict that we will be seeing and hearing A LOT more from this bunch in 2016.
We are treated to one more set before the headliner, which comes in the form of The Dollyrots – an American punk group consisting of Kelly Ogden on vocals/bass, Luis Cabezas on guitar/backing vocals and touring drummer, Rikki Styxx. For a good half hour they gave us head banging verses, ridiculously catchy choruses and heaps of attitude. What I liked most about watching these guys, having only ever listened to their CD is you can tell that they’re having fun and enjoying playing their music, which in turn makes watching and listening much more enjoyable.
Kelly explains that some of their gear has been lost in transit on the way over from America and is therefore borrowing a bass from one of the other bands on the bill. This was after a mis-hap mid-song which had just left her without a bass strap attached. Impressively, her quick thinking meant she still didn’t miss a note while knelt down with techs trying to duct tape her back together…phew! Before the last song we we introduced to the littlest Dollyrot, River (son of Kelly and Luis) who muttered a few baby words into the mic much to the amusement of the crowd. What a cutie.
And finally around 9.30pm, Texas’ fav pop-punkers marched on to the stage as if they’d never left, frontman Jaret Reddick taking to the mic to proclaim “We’re back, motherf*ckers! Let’s kick this off with the song that started it all for us.” – The Bitch Song. It took me straight back to being 13 again and instantly whipped the crowd up into a frenzy. Even after 20 years, these guys have absolutely still got it. And still got their sense of humour as well, it would seem! They shared the jokes, banter and laughs in between songs that we’ve grown to love.
Jaret drew our attention to the “bar” setup on stage and invited up one fella who had “won a competition” to drink on stage with the band. This however was a clever cover story which was the result of the said fella convincing Jaret to let him and his girlfriend up on stage so he could get down on one knee and pop the question! Congratulations to the happy couple!
We also had a live debut of new song, “Love Ya, Love Ya, Love Ya” which featured The Dollyrots’ Kelly. Luis filled in on guitar duties to allow Jaret and Kelly to re-enact a very Grease-esque duet which was rude, hilarious and a little bit strange all at once. Perfect. As well as the new song, we heard a bunch of old classics such as “Emily”, “Punk Rock 101” and “High School Never Ends”, well received covers of “1985” and “Stacey’s Mom” AND a very well received pop-punk medley featuring songs from Blink 182, Green Day, New Found Glory and more. All in all, a really great mix of songs which showcased the best of Bowling For Soup’s discography.
Finishing up the show with their most popular tune, “Girl All The Bad Guys Want”, the band left the stage leaving the crowd smiling, sweaty and all punk rocked out. Signs of a great night. Welcome back, motherf*ckers!
Photos by Lara Fullerton. Full gallery can be seen here.