UK says farewell to Bowling For Soup.
After nearly twenty years together, punk rock outfit Bowling For Soup have called time on touring the UK but luckily it’s not the end of the road for the Texas rockers. They have no plans to split up and are still working on new material it’s just they just won’t be touring as much. With this in mind, Bowling For Soup set out with just one support band so they could treat fans to a much longer set.
I was fortunate enough to see the penultimate show at The Plymouth Pavilions and on arrival was amazed by the length of the queue as people waited patiently in the cold, hoping to get to the front row. On entering the Pavilions, the hall was nearly full, which is unusual to see as most people don’t bother with the support band. The few that did congregate in the crowd missed something special. Spot-on time, the one and only support band, Patent Pending made their entrance and from start to finish they had the crowds full attention. They did this not just with their music but also their stage antics that saw them dance like Justin Beiber and also had frontman Joe Ragosta wearing a pair of swimming goggles as he swam across the crowd in a race with the bands bass player Corey DeVincenzo. Patent Pending seem to have it all. They have the boy band look with the talent and skills to match and if they continue to entertain the crowds this way, they are going to become a household name very soon. Their mix of punk rock and pop made them the perfect support band for BFS farewell tour and whoever choose them deserves a pat on the back.
The changeover between the bands didn’t seem to take as long as normal and before I knew it the venue lights dimmed and BFS took to the stage. Just like Patent Pending before them, BFS were non stop, song after song, joke after joke and the crowd loved every minute of it. Their classic punk rock sound filled the hall, more than likely for the very last time and the massive crowd made the best of every minute as they sang along with their hands waving in the air. Unusually, there seemed to be a mini bar at the rear left hand side of the stage and it was not long before the members of Patent Pending reappeared behind the bar. The two bands seemed to be egging each other on and gave the impression they had been touring together for years. Maybe it was due to this being the penultimate show but I got the feeling that both bands would be like this whenever you watched them.
BFS mixed the new tracks with old and threw in a classic hit every now and then which really got the crowd going. Songs like “High School Never Ends,” “Girl All The Bad Guys Want” and “1985” saw the venue erupt and showed just how good the band is live. BFS frontman Jaret Reddick wasn’t on top form vocally due to a raging sore throat but all things considered he put on one hell of a performance where many others would have canceled. If anything, his slightly more gravely voice sounded better on several songs and most people didn’t even notice. Bowling For Soup’s live show will be sorely missed and they made sure they went out with a bang, even posing for photos in a group line up, first to the left, then the right before standing in the middle. It was amazing to see the sea of camera phones held aloft.
Next, at about the halfway mark in the set, the band put a different slant on leaving the stage and returning a few moments later. They passed their instruments to the members of Patent Pending as they left the stage and Patent Pending continued the show. BFS quickly appeared at the onstage bar for a drink before they returned to center stage.
Whilst Jaret got prepared for the next song, he asked BFS bass player Erik Chandler to keep the crowd entertained and the surprised look on his face was very funny. However, it was not as funny as the impromptu jig that he did on the front edge of the stage that had the BFS members in fits of laughter along with the crowd. Bowling For Soup’s new song “Circle” was one of the highlights of the set for me and would have been a great way to end the night but these guys and the crowd were ready to party and they finished the night off with the hit “1985” during which the band took a back seat and got the crowd to sing for them. Even one of the crew members got the chance to get the crowd singing as he took the microphone and sang along. BFS then finished the song and threw items into the crowd before leaving the stage.
There was a strange feeling in the air as people left. We had witnessed something special, something many of us may never see again but we had been very lucky to be entertained by BFS at the Pavilions. As I left the venue, the members of Patent pending were outside selling their album “Brighter” and signing everything people passed to them whilst taking breaks to have their photos taken with the new fans they had just made. As I walked passed the rear entrance of the Pavilions where bands come out to sign things, there was a rather large crowd. But unfortunately, just as I was walking past, the heavens opened and some of the heaviest rain I’ve seen in a long time fell for the next twenty minutes. I very much doubt anyone stayed. This was a little disappointing as I get the impression that these guys love meeting their fans.
This was the first time I have had the pleasure of seeing Bowling For Soup live and I hate to say it but I wish I had been to see them before as I have always liked their music. Hopefully they will change their minds and tour the UK again one day and if this should happen, I will be buying tickets as soon as they go on sale to not miss out. I’m sure their loyal fans will make for another sold out tour someday in the future. To sum up the show, two bands at the top of their game, enjoying putting on the show for their fans. It was a night full of fantastic music packed with fun that everyone loved. The downside is, this may be the last time many of the crowd see these guys again but what a send off Plymouth gave them. With a little luck it will be like other bands farewell tours that seem to continue year after year.