LIVE: Bowling For Soup @ Roundhouse, London (11/02/2016)

Date: February 11th 2016
Venue: Roundhouse, London
Support: The Dollyrots / Lacey / MC Lars


Back in 2013, Bowling For Soup announced that they would be flying over for one very last tour of the UK. Fast forward to today, and they’re back playing 15 consecutive dates across the country, much to the joy of fans everywhere. Camden train turntable converted gig and performing arts venue the Roundhouse took little time to sell out, with London clearly not fussed by the bands U-turn and are just happy to see the hijinks and brilliant immaturity of the Texan pop-punks once again.

Long time friend of the band MC Lars [8] has the role of compère for the night and gets 10 minutes slots before each band to warm the crowd up, and has a chance to showcase some new material from his recent release, ‘The Zombie Dinosaur LP’. The room is still quiet when the post-punk laptop rapper first hits the stage and gets through ‘Hurricane Fresh’, but it’s Game Of Thrones referencing ‘Dragon Blood’ that finally squeezes some participation out of the early arrivers.

Nottingham alternative rockers Lacey [4] are up next, and it’s obvious from the start that this is going to be a very separate tone to the rest of the light hearted bands on the bill. There’s nothing wrong with ‘Tonight’ and ‘The Contender’, but compared to the fun and humour that surrounds the tour and history of the headliners, it all seems very safe and out of place. A cover of Blink-182‘s ‘Dammit’ attempts to lighten the mood, and Lacey‘s interesting take on the classic is admirable, although the excitement is drained somewhat, but at least the crowd are receptive to a familiar song.

Lars returns with some terrible jokes and oldies ‘Signing Emo’ and ‘Mr. Raven’ before US punks The Dollyrots [6] begin their set. After a ropey start, ‘Twist Me To The Left’ starts to sound better and a cover of Melanie‘s ‘Brand New Key’ certainly gets them into the swing of it, and pleading that the song isn’t really about farming machinery gets a few laughs. ‘Jackie Chan’ stands out as decent punk track by the band, who must have picked up some tips from their recent tour with the Buzzcocks. Although guilty of some choruses sounding like American kids TV themes, The Dollyrots are a good-time band and an ideal support for their headlining pals.

One more appearance comes from Lars, who impressively freestyles a rap about whatever the front row have in their pockets and closes out with his Iggy Pop sampling ‘Download This Song’. It’s not long ’til we hear the Bowling For Soup [8] vocalist Jaret Reddick as ‘Here Come Bowling For Soup’ plays over the speakers, and the concealing black curtain falls and the pub-themed stage is revealed. The pop-punk legends make way to their positions through the pub toilets door and immediately burst into ‘The Bitch Song’ followed by – cue approving screams of approval. The onstage antics are still in full flow, and Jaret is happy to make fun of his weight gain suggesting that BFS have a new singer and he’s eaten the old one. ‘Punk Rock 101’ goes down so well that the band have time to nip to the bar on stage mid-song.

“Acoustic Jaret” says that he doesn’t feel like doing the speech about what they decided to return after their so-called ‘Farewell Tour’, but briefly explains that he was depressed and his therapists recommended to cut the touring. Improvements to his mental state mean that he’s back doing what he describes as the “only therapy he needs” and treats us to ‘Turbulence’ and ‘Friends O’ Mine’. A special surprise appearance by The Lounge Kittens to assist the band with ‘1985’ is a nice touch and the medley Queens have obviously made quite the influence on our headliners as they try to prove that pop-punk isn’t dead, with their own mash-up of the likes of Jimmy Eat World and Good Charlotte before a full rendition of ‘Stacey’s Mom’.

BFS can’t help but include the ridiculous, and hosting a burping competition fills the quota this evening. Kelly Dollyrot eases to victory in time for the band to get through the last of their big hitters for the night; ‘Almost’ and ‘High School Never Ends’ complete the main set followed by an encore (or trip to the bar) that includes the eternal favourite ‘Girls All The Bad Guys Want’. The farce of the farewell tour has been completely forgotten, and it’s still unclear whether there will be another full visit on our shores from the band, but, if there is, there’s no doubt that ‘Ye Olde Soup Inn’ will be full once again.

Written by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef)