Bowling For Soup
Manchester Academy 20/10/12 w/ Patent Pending and The Dollyrots
Texan pop punk veterans Bowling for Soup have come to the UK again – their 30th visit in 18 years – and this time they’re here with fellow bands and friends, The Dollyrots and Patent Pending, to promote their new album, ‘One Big Happy’. A collaborative record in all respects, the album features each band covering one song of each of the other bands, plus a new song of their own. The track is rounded off nicely with a duet between Jaret Reddick of Bowling for Soup and Kelly Ogden of The Dollyrots. But I’m not here to talk about the album (which, if you’re wondering, is definitely worth a purchase); I’m here to talk about their recent gig at Manchester Academy.
The show started off with Patent Pending, an American five piece consisting of Joe, Rob (the infamous drummer that got attacked by The Ataris’ Kris Roe on stage recently – you tube it if you must), Corey, Marc and Anthony, a band who in the words of Bowling for Soup’s Erik Chandler, are “us, ten years ago.” The comparison is pretty much on the money: Patent Pending are an upcoming pop punk band with all the energy and enthusiasm that we’ve come to expect from our favourite soup bowlers. Their onstage antics, humour and likeability all come together to form what could be the next big thing, following in the wake of other bands who have previously supported BFS on tour – Simple Plan being the main one springing to mind.
If you’ve never heard any of Patent Pending’s tracks, you’ll probably get the gist if I give you the title of one of their most popular singles: ‘Douchebag’. The crowd took the cheeky American anthem and ran with it; arm waving and choruses of ‘Dude, I’m not your bro,’ ringing out over the packed Academy. The perfect start to a gig that would be filled from start to finish with catchy songs, immature, but entertaining, humour, and whole-crowd sing-a-longs.
Up next were three piece The Dollyrots, consisting of full-time band members and childhood friends, Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas, and their current drummer James, borrowed from the band Images for this UK tour. Kelly is the perfect front woman: she has the punk rock look, the punk rock voice, and an upbeat, energetic attitude that filters through into all of their songs. Stand out tracks included ‘Jackie Chan’, ‘Hyperactive’, and their covers, ‘I’ve Got a Brand New Pair of Rollerskates’ and The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’.
The Dollyrots were perfectly placed in this line up, adding a hint of female flair to an otherwise extremely male-dominated show full of songs about Douchebags and endless jokes about male reproductive organs. It was also nice to have a musical interlude that was focused primarily on the music before the legends that are Bowling for Soup took to the stage with their music-comedy-entertainment mix.
BFS are Jaret Reddick, Chris Burney, Erik Chandler and Gary Wiseman, and together they are ‘Bowling for Soup: The Band You Can Wave To.’ That’s the tagline they seem to have gone with for this tour, and the crowd loved it. There aren’t many bands that will stand there waving to you politely during their songs, and in the words of front man Jaret: “Snoop Dogg or James Hetfield would never do any of this waving shit.”
A band that has been going for 18 years always faces the same dilemma when they do live shows: just how exactly do they pick which songs they play? Some decide to ignore all of their old music, focusing on their current and perhaps last one or two records, but no Bowling for Soup fan went away disappointed after this show. Years of albums were paid homage to during their set, including the tracks: ‘My Hometown’, ‘Life After Lisa’, ‘Almost’, ‘The Last Rock Show’, ‘Punk Rock 101’, ‘Turbulence’, ‘Friends O’ Mine’, ‘Emily’, ‘When We Die’, ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’, ‘Shut up and Smile’, ‘1985’, and more. Covers were also featured heavily: ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’, ‘…Baby One More Time’ and ‘Stacey’s Mum’, all of which generated huge cheers. Their ‘One Big Happy’ album was promoted as well, with the guys pumping out the British drinking anthem, their new single, ‘Let’s Go To The Pub’, and with the support bands appearing back on stage to help out their mentors on a couple of the tracks: Patent Pending joined in with ‘Ohio’ while The Dollyrots’ Kelly Ogden closed the show by giving Jaret a run for his money with ‘The Bitch Song.’
The highlight of the show for many was a spur-of-the-moment offering, showing just how much Bowling for Soup’s fans love them, and how much they love their fans. Having spied Dan the Super Fan and his impressive BFS tattoo before the show, they invited him onstage to show off his ink and enjoy a drink from the Bowling for Soup bar (the ‘One Big Happy Tour’ has its own tour brew for all of the bands to enjoy – if you’re in a band and ever get a chance to tour with BFS, take it!). When asked what his favourite BFS song was, Dan replied with ‘Suckerpunch’ off their ‘Let’s Do It For Johnny!’ album. Groaning at the fact that they hadn’t played the song for years, and that he couldn’t even remember the words, Jaret asked Dan to supply him with the opening line. Figuring Dan could probably do a better job at singing the track than himself, Jaret made the song a duet between the two of them. It was brilliant to hear what for many fans was an old favourite, and I’m guessing it probably made Dan’s night, as he not only got all the words right, but was actually a pretty good singer (not always the case with these spontaneous fan duets).
As usual, the band’s songs were punctuated with their own special brand of humour, providing many comic relief moments in between the music, including a slanging match with a fan on the phone, posing for photographs in the middle of a song in pink cowboy hats they’d stolen from some girls in the crowd, and much encouragement of waving at every opportunity. Not to mention the penis jokes – no BFS gig is complete without copious amounts of penis jokes. Just go with it.
Overall, the gig was an exercise in being happy, proving that their most recent album and tour have been named well. No one can come to a Bowling for Soup gig without leaving with a massive smile on their face, regardless of their age. The band still appeals to teenagers and young adults, as well as the older fans, who have been with them since their humble beginnings all those years ago. The band may be getting older, but you wouldn’t know it: I’m sure they have many years of touring left in them yet, and the UK will always be glad to welcome them back, with one big happy smile. And a wave or two.
The One Big Happy Tour continues until October 28th, and Bowling for Soup will be back in London on November 10th for The Warped Tour at Alexandra Palace. You can find out more about the bands at their websites: www.bowlingforsoup.com, www.patentpendingmusic.com and www.dollyrots.com and you can read our interviews with Erik Chandler from BFS here and Kelly, Luis and James from The Dollyrots here.
Rating out of 10