Bowling For Soup Live at the Roundhouse Review: The Party In Your Pants Tour 2009
Bowling For Soup are in my opinion, one of the best live acts going today, bar none. Their mixture of enthusiasm, energy, good songs and comedy makes for a fantastic live experience every time they tour, so when the "Party in Your Pants Tour 2009" was announced, tickets were snapped up very quickly by yours truly. They also happen to be one of my lovely wife's favourite bands, so the fact I could spring this as a surprise on her was a nice bonus.
Tonight's show was at The Roundhouse in Camden, one of the few London venues left that I had never visited, until now that is. I was most impressed with both the layout and the sound quality in the venue, the shape of the building produces very good accoustics. The only somewhat annoying thing about the venue is that being a grade II listed building, there were only certain things they could do when the building was recently refurbished, removing the 24 tall polls around the main ring of the arena area was not one of them. As a result, from our otherwise excellent view in the seats upstairs, the view of just to the left of the centre of the stage was obscured by a bloody great post. This was a minor detail though and didn't lessen the experience in any way.
We got there too late to see opening act The Leftovers, so after getting drinks we got seated just in time for the appearance of MC Lars and his band (who I think were called either fastlane or fasttrack, apologies if I've cocked that up completely). Neither of us knew anything about MC Lars other than the fact I read on Wikipedia he is signed to Crappy Records, owned by one Jaret Reddick of Bowling For Soup. MC Lars put on a very good show (with some absolutely hilarious backdrops and videos on the big screen behind the band) and everyone went nuts for a guest appearance by none other than Jaret from BFS. It's hard to see how you could fail to like an act with personality like MC Lars and song titles such as Download This Song, and (something about hyper killer space robots).
Zebrahead were the main support, we had seen them 2 years ago previously supporting Bowling For Soup on the Get Happy Tour at Brixton Academy. This time in the main support slot they were given about 50 minutes to strut their stuff, and they had the crowd fully involved from the start, getting everyone to sit down and then bounce up (They've obviously been watching Slipknot Videos). One of the highlights was a punk heavy version of Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend, complete with a guest appearance from "Avril" (A dude with a beer gut in a dress and ponytail wig), and the band played really well and went down a storm, despite the fact that Matt the Guitarist had to run offstage to "throw up in the trash can on the left" as pointed out by X the singer. We were both very impressed with Zebrahead, as neither of us thought they were very good at Brixton, but a longer set, a new album and better sound and they really stepped up.
Main event time and before Jaret, Gary, Chris and Erik appeared there was a 5 minute pre-recorded video from Jaret and Gary from when they were back home in Texas which was (typically) hilarious and set the tone very well for the evening. Bowling For Soup then emerged and launched into old favourite The Bitch Song before discussing at the end whether it was last time they were in London they sang "The fish song" before Chris remembered "one time it was The C**t song" (from the last time they were here, the amazing show they had at the Electric Ballroom in July 2008). They then rolled out the always popular I'm Gay (remember, "Its perfectly fine to be a happy individual") before everyone downstairs bounced their way through Almost. New single My Wena then got an airing, accompanied by a video on the screen behind that was just absolutely brilliant (well for anyone with a juvenile sense of humour like myself).
Bowling For Soup: Clearly not sorry for partyin
It is a well known fact amongst BFS fans that the band never write a fixed setlist and make it up as they go along based on a very loose framework (like on this tour they always opened with The Bitch Song and always finished with 1985) but they always get a great flow to their shows. New songs like No Hablo Ingles fit very well alongside old established favourites like Ohio (Come Back To Texas) and Girl All The Bad Guys Want. Biggest responses of the night were probably for High School Never Ends and for the opener off new album Sorry For Partyin, A Really Cool Dance Song (which sounds epic and prompted all the other bands, stage crew and some random people to engage in a massive danceathon onstage).
Theres something very infectious about Bowling For Soup, with lyrics in abundance that are just designed to make you smile ("I hope this song finds you well, and I hope that you're doing f**kin swell" from My Hometown being a great case in point). They constantly poke fun at everyone including each other (discussing the finer points of whether Big Chris should start "batting for the other team" to which he replies "I'd get so much penis" before Jaret chimes in with "nah, so much ass") but regularly remind the audience how much fun they are having (Jaret makes up 2 songs on the spot at different points in the evening about how "London is awesome").
In amongst all the banter and asking people if they had enjoyed themselves, the band let slip a few very useful bits of information: They're headed back to the UK in "the Spring", will be hitting the european summer festival circuit and then returning to the UK for another headlining tour in the Autumn.
BFS: Enjoy their official photo opportunities
After clearing the stage from their dancefest and milking the audience, Bowling For Soup re-appear for their encore with Belgium played in the heavier style rather than the accoustic version before finishing off a cracking performance with 1985. A fantastic time was certainly had by all. To sum it up, if you like things that are fun, and you like good rock music, go and see Bowling For Soup live. You cannot fail to be disappointed.
Bowling For Soup's setlist was:
- The Bitch Song
- I'm Gay
- My Wena
- My Hometown
- Ohio (Come Back To Texas)
- No Hablo Inglés
- Life After Lisa
- High School Never Ends
- If Only
- The Last Rock Show
- Punk Rock 101
- Hot 'N' Cold (Katy Perry cover)
- Hooray For Beer
- When We Die
- Girl All The Bad Guys Want
- A Really Cool Dance Song