LIVE REVIEW: BOWLING FOR SOUP @ O2 ACADEMY BIRMINGHAM – 13.02.18

Texan punk-rockers Bowling For Soup take a trip around the UK for their ‘Get Happy’ tour, playing their coveted ‘Drunk Enough To Dance’ album in its entirety. The O2 Academy in Birmingham was bursting at the seams with fans, getting the chance to embrace a night of nostalgia with classic Bowling For Soup tracks alongside the band’s witty American humour.

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Photo: Stephanie Evans Photography

Support came in the form of The Aquabats!, the comedic five-piece famous for their kids TV show. The members appeared on stage in full gear, adorning their signature costumes and head pieces. The Aquabats’s set was manic, energetic and fun-filled. Each member was darting around the stage and joking around, front man ‘MC Bat Commander’ running up and down barrier, adding to the hilarious display. Their somewhat gimmicky act left the audience both bemused, yet highly entertained. The stage crew were involved in the madness by bringing out plenty of props; inflatable pizza slices, sharks and beach balls just to name a few were flying through the crowd throughout. The Aquabats had one die-hard fan at the barrier, wearing her own outfit to match the band. ‘MC Bat Commander’ spotted said fan and got her on stage to to crowd surf on one of the inflatable pizza slices. The set was high energy from start to finish, their act was certainly outlandish yet you couldn’t wait to see what they did next.

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Photo: Stephanie Evans Photography

The stage for Bowling For Soup came with all guns blazing – TV screens, a rotating drum-kit and appropriately, a replica bar was set up ready for the band’s extensive two hour set. There were an abundance of fans standing at the back of the stage, the lucky VIP members got to watch the set inches away from their idols. The band initiated a count-down to ‘1985’, keeping an eye on the timer to the set’s finale as the set went on, subtly hinting to the audience that this was the last track of the night.

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Photo: Stephanie Evans Photography

Bowling For Soup’s set was packed with fun and entertainment. Co2 jets lined the front of the stage, front-man Jaret Reddick charming the crowd with entertaining anecdotes and guitarist Chris Burney thrusting and dancing around as they jammed out each track. From ‘Drunk Enough To Dance’ tracks ‘Emily’, ‘Girl All The Bad Guys’, ‘Life After Lisa’ and ‘Punk Rock 101’ went down a treat with the audience, the choice to play this album in full was certainly a good move on the band’s part. Their set also included material from the band’s other albums, ‘Ohio (Come Back To Texas)’ and big-hits such as ‘Almost’ and ‘Bitch Song’ had the music videos playing simultaneously in the background.

Bowling For Soup certainly know how to captivate the crowd with witty humour, each member bouncing off one another in a nonsensical, comedic exchange during their marked out set breaks. During the night, a member of the crowd initiated an ‘oogie oogie oogie, oi oi oi’ which saw the entire audience join in with the classic British chant. The members of Bowling For Soup were utterly captivated and amused by this, the members shouting out incoherent words in an attempt to mimic the crowd.  One of the highlights was Bowling For Soup’s famous Phineas and Ferb TV show theme song, the crowd signing along louder than the band. The countdown eventually ticked down to ‘1985’ and the set concluded with a bang. Bowling For Soup smashed their set and their two hour set definitely gave the crowd their money’s worth.

Review by Stephanie Evans

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