Silly, Surreal and Spectacularly Stupid: Bowling For Soup LIVE

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Southampton Guildhall, 11th October

Writing, I haven’t yet gone to what I imagine to be an unrestrained evening of cheesy pop-punk fun. In a few phrases, my expectations of such an event can be summed up: I expect a thoroughly insane, silly and energetic performance from the main band themselves. Previous experience has given hugely entertaining sets rife with much on-stage drinking and pratting-around.

Anyway, that’s the theory.

Bowling For Soup bounded onto the stage to the expected cheering and started off on a slightly embarrassing note when the song they opened with was apparently mistaken for ‘High School Never Ends’ by a good portion of the crowd, causing some confusion from Jaret. Soon enough though, the quartet where in their stride launching into fast paced renditions of everything from the recent ‘No Hablo Inglés’ to the classic ‘The Bitch Song’. About the only hit they missed out was Drunk Enough to Dance’s ‘Emily’: which was something of a shame especially when some more obscure titles were being performed, but detracted little from the entertainment. Perhaps the most unexpected rendition of the night was a cover of ‘That’s Not My Name’, which Jaret helpfully pointed out they didn’t write.

There were plenty of other silly moments too. One of the roadies ended up wearing a bra which made its way onto the stage, there was some interesting discussion about the Queen and Eric’s opinion of the British, an English-accent competition (no winners) and in one particularly touching moment, a hastily improvised funeral for an inflatable seagull. Said bird had made its way onto the stage, but somewhere along the journey had its wing ripped off and deflated. The seagull was lovingly wrapped in a towel to a moving rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ by the band and the crowd. This sort of surreal humour, along with plenty of filthy jokes, is really what defines BFS gigs. People might initially find it jarring to hear a song interrupted mid-flow by a bizarre exchange between the band members but it was all extremely silly and funny and generally made the whole occasion a huge amount of fun.

One major criticism was the utterly strange way in which the evening drew to a close. After the obligatory hasty departure and subsequent encore, the band finished up playing a more obscure track off their latest album, ‘A Really Cool Dance Song’. Whilst this is a very upbeat and lively finale, it was still a bit disappointing not to hear a classic at the end. Worst of all was that whilst it was hilarious watching the band dance their way off the stage, their instruments ended up in the hands of some extras; meaning the last thing we had to remember was three random guys mashing away on the instruments before a quick cheer and the end of the show. Like a fly in an otherwise perfect cake, this left an odd taste in the mouth as if you’ve been cheated from a fittingly exciting ending to an exciting experience.

All in all, these minor problems all become irrelevant for the simple reason that the entire event was fun. Hilarious, politically incorrect, unashamed, fun. I can’t think of a better reason to go to a show.

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