gig reviews

Bowling For Soup / A / Forever The Sickest Kids /

Where: 02 Academy // When: 07/10/2010

by Jodie Humphries
Photo's by Simon Lawrence

I have to admit that I was more than a little excited to get asked to review the ‘Just Can’t Get Rid Of Us’ tour. I always love getting asked to review at the Academy, but the fact that that particular night happened to feature not one, but two bands that I like was more than an added bonus. Bring on Bowling For Soup, A, Forever The Sickest Kids and The Dollyrots!

The Dollyrots by Simon Lawrence

First to grace the stage were The Dollyrots, a three-piece female-fronted pop-punk band all the way from sunny LA. Despite their music seeming quite simplistic, it grabs you and shakes you round a fair bit. The Dollyrots are a good fun all-round band that I don’t think you could possibly find it in yourself to hate. Singer Kelly Ogden possesses a young girl quality to her voice which screams innocence – you can be sure she milks this though.

Despite not getting that much movement from the audience to begin with, The Dollyrots were undeterred and carried on regardless, slowly gaining support from the crowd. The song which got the most response out of people was the one which sounded like ‘Combine Harvester’ by the Wurzels. In fact it was ‘Brand New Key’, which was originally done by Melanie, before the Wurzels did their parody. If anyone else was like me though, all they heard in their head was the lyrics to ‘Combine Harvester’.

Forever The Sickest Kids by Simon Lawrence

I think I must have been one of the only ones in the venue on Thursday who didn’t have a clue who Forever The Sickest Kids were when I saw the support acts for this tour announced. As soon as this six-piece entered the stage as their accompanying music played, the crowd went crazy – and stayed that way. Despite me finding them very monotonous and finding nothing about them unique, I fear I was one of the few. But then I did get the strong feeling that I wasn’t in the right demographic group for this band, as it was mainly the younger people in the venue who were jumping and singing along.

One thing that can be said about this six-piece is what a great rapport they had going with the audience - they were keen to make the audience part of the show, not just be spectators. Forever The Sickest Kids are very poppy, but with a slightly harder edge when it comes to there drum sound. Songs like ‘My Worst Nightmare’ show the band are capable of building a song that starts quite slowly up into a song with plenty of guitar and a good beat for people to clap to. Despite this band not being for me, I can admire their clear dedication to their fans.

A by Simon Lawrence

“Hey you fuckers!” Daniel P Carter announced stepping up to the mic as the sound of A started to vibrate and penetrate the walls of the Academy. A was always a band I wanted to see back in the early noughties but just never got there, so at last a chance to see if that ‘something’ they have on CD was really true. Now all I can say, is when can I see them live again?! A’s sound live is twice as heavy as you’d expect, extra raw and full of buckets of energy. It’s loud, a hell of a lot more synthy than I thought it would be, and layered in a way that your ears prick up as you notice something different in each song as your ears pulsate from the basslines.

Jason’s voice bellows across the music to classics such as ‘Starbucks’ and ‘I Love Lake Tahoe’. A’s distinct sound was totally in sync, full of admirable, quirky guitar, muscular drumming and throbbing bass – all of which was more apparent in the musical breakdown in ‘I Love Lake Tahoe where they were in perfect control of the direction of the song. The meatiest song of the set was the last one, ‘Nothing’ - personally one of my favourite songs ever (and I’m not just saying that). The sound was turned up as they truly rocked out to the song, which appeared to become more fast and furious as the lights flashed and smoke filled the stage; you were left breathless and gagging for more.

It may have been eight years since A were in Bristol previously, but I get a sneaky feeling another appearance may not be that far away.

Bowling For Soup

So finally we reached the main event of Bowling For Soup. I have to say that I was surprised at how young the audience were. I mean this is a band who have just celebrated their 16th anniversary and just finished recording their 11th album – an achievement which shouldn’t be overlooked – but I was kinda expecting the audience to be a bit older. Still, saying all the audience was younger is a bit unjust, as it was in all fairness a widely mixed age crowd. As the theme tune ‘Here comes Bowling For Soup’ was played out over the speakers, the audience went crazy and didn’t stop.

One thing that has to be said about Bowling For Soup is the fact they don’t just play, they entertain and put on a show – cracking jokes between songs, and a hell of a lot of dirty humour. I pity the parents who were asked about some of the jokes after the gig! What we had with Bowling For Soup was straight up fun – the audience were having fun, and so were the band. They specialise in pop punk with a rock edge, with the key element of comedy. Their performance is energetic and off-the-wall – how many bands do you get where the bass player is large in every sense of the word, but is still bouncing off the walls the same as everyone? Or a band who stop halfway through one of their most well known songs – ‘Girl All The Bad Boys Want’ - to give fans a photo opportunity as they all crowd into the middle of the stage? None that I’ve seen.

One thing can be certain, once you’ve seen Bowling For Soup live, you won’t forget them. After this show, I could see why they return year after year with more tour dates. Their set was strong and varied, with a mix of old and new material – the last song was actually the first track off their newest album. One of their songs was a cover of ‘That’s Not My Name’, to which they said: “We didn’t write that song, we just do it really awesome.” I think the word ‘awesome’ pretty much sums up the whole of Bowling For Soups’ set to be honest.

For more photo's from the gig, visit Simon's Flickr account.

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