Puerile, filthy and hugely entertaining… and that’s just the banter between the songs. Boy are we going to miss these four “Texican” reprobates, but tonight, it was time to wave one last time, as Nottingham Rock City bids a fond farewell to these four nutters; as the Bowling For Soup Farewell Tour rolls into town.
It’s an early start, so only time to shotgun a couple of pints before tonight’s support, which comes in the form of BFS best mates, Patent Pending. Hailing from New York, these guys are energetic, hugely likeable and actually pretty damn infectious. Bouncing off the back of their latest album “Brighter” these boys certainly know how to get a party started. Grabbing influences from all over the shop, this is edgy punk pop with a huge dose of caffeine. Musical elements of an effervescent Green Day, with bigger smiles and a much more likeable charm, these five New Yorkers are the perfect dancing partners for Bowling For Soup.
Front man Joe Ragosta, is an instantly loveable rogue as he connects with the crowd within minutes of taking the stage. The tracks are slick and infectious, delivered with a huge slice of tongue in cheek. “Anti-Everything”, “Let Go” and the early guest appearance of Jaret Reddick on “Classic You” do not fail to impress and ignite the rapidly growing Rock City throng; Patent Pending are very quickly winning over Nottingham. Ragosta’s connection with the punters is superb, and introducing the notion of “Crowd Swimming” as a race, is just pure genius, combine this with BFS‘ Chris Burney choreographed dance moves, and you really are on to a winner. A top opening for what is definitely looking like being a quality night. Patent Pending are heading back over here in April next year, and it’s safe to say, TINAS will be there.
So we’ve watched grown men having a swimming race across the crowd, we’ve bounced and sung along to a track about Super Mario, and we’re already as a combined venue, grinning like fat kids at the sweet shop… That’s just the aperitif, Bowling For Soup as the main dish will surely finish us off.
Well, put it this way, bands of today should take a long look at Bowling For Soup, and this particular tour. They’re not going to give us a paltry hour or hour and a half, no, they are going to give us nigh on two and a half hours of entertainment, now that, folks is value for money. Yes, these four loveable rogues have quite a large back catalogue, and this is the “Farewell” tour, but we really didn’t expect this. Jaret, Chris, Erik and Gary are collectively massively entertaining. They churn out the classics, the not so classics and the “old ones”, and of course throw in a few tracks off the rather excellent new one “Lunch. Drunk. Love”. It’s like an ad lib comedy show, with quality music thrown in. Jaret bounces off Chris and Erik, and of course off the crowd. Giggling like a schoolkid at English heckles, it’s sniggersome to the core. When the banter has drifted from Jaret‘s balls being warmed by the lights to how much semen you Dad has… you know it’s going to be a good night. It’s like all the most disgusting, childish funny bits from Superbad, Anchorman and American Pie, all rolled into one, and extra filth added for good measure… in essence, it’s classic, brilliant Bowling For Soup.
The music tonight isn’t bad either, the band, as tight as they ever have been, and considering how much booze they are gunning, it’s a real credit too them that they can play this well. They even have a bar in the corner manned by the Patent Pending boys, which of course serves well for tracks like “Let’s go to the Pub”, and “Hooray For Beer”. Reddick steers the BFS ship, and conducts proceedings, sniggering and giggling constantly, and genuinely having a laugh. We get over 30 songs with the odd bit of help from Patent Pending, and we even get Ryan Hamilton Jaret‘s partner in crime from People On Vacation to duet up for “Prettiest Girl In The World”. Jaret‘s vocals have stood the test of time, and if at any point he was struggling, the crowd are more than capable in helping out.
Chris Burney just being on stage is a commanding presence. Not known for his energetic performances, he is solid and humoursome. A gentle but funny giant, he gives as good as he gets, he is the guitar driven engine room for BFS. Erik, tonight is more of a foil for Jaret, he plays upon being drunk, he comes in at the wrong time, and offers up one of the most hilarious ad lib banter’s of all time… There’s no way he’s going to retract his use of “Fuck” and “Disney” in the same sentence! Gary, smashing the skins is the unsung hero, he works tirelessly for two and a half hours, but he does still get his moment on the mic. It’s all good stuff.
It’s not just Bowling For Soup we get tonight either, with the pre-amble about people thinking they wrote the song, the guys happily bound into “Stacey’s Mom”, acknowledging Fountains of Wayne along the way. That’s not it for the covers though, as we also get a bit of Britney, as the boys destroy “Baby One More Time”. It’s high energy fun through and through, entertaining, (and educational… if you didnt know how to spell cello), it’s puerile and filthy, and some things you cannot ‘unsee’… a grown man in a green bikini top, doing Michael Jackson moves flanked by CO2 cannons will forever be etched on my brain.
This is what Bowling For Soup do… or, now as they have bid farewell, should that be did? They entertain, they are brilliant, they came, they played, we all laughed… We’ve been grinning ever since.
If you don’t believe us… they’ve even made these shows available as a digital download, you can grab your copy from the BFS store here.
Bowling For Soup setlist:
Critically Disdained, Almost, No Hablo Ingles, Let’s Go to the Pub, Hooray for Beer, Emily, Since We Broke Up, Turbulence, High School Never Ends, Ohio (Come Back to Texas), Right About Now, A Really Cool Dance Song, I Don’t Wanna Rock, My Wena, Today Is Gonna Be a Great Day (Phineas and Ferb), Envy, Stacy’s Mom, The Last Rock Show, Punk Rock 101, Prettiest Girl in the World, My Hometown, Suckerpunch, When We Die, The Bitch Song, Shut-Up and Smile, Girl All the Bad Guys Want, Circle, Friends o’ Mine, Belgium, Baby One More Time, 1985 .
Photos taken by Sabrina Ramdoyal