Corn Exchange, Cambridge, and the Party in your pants Tour featuring Texas pop-punkers Bowling for Soup, with The Leftovers, MC Lars and Zebrahead supporting rolls into town.
In an ironic twist the first serving was in-fact The Leftovers. A professional performance delivered with a good power-pop / rock’n'roll vibe; The Ramones with a hint of the Beach Boys. The Leftovers are signed to Crappy Records, Bowling for Soup front man Jaret Reddick’s own record label. Being first on the bill is always a challenge, but singer / bassist Kurt Baker got the crowd on side and set things of well.
Andrew Robert Nielsen aka MC Lars arrives on stage with a nice bold build up. Failsafe were in support to help him deliver his post-punk laptop rock rap stylings, serving up a good change of pace from The Leftovers. The early part of the set felt organic, fresh and well developed. The latter half was a little too ‘Fred Durst’ in places for my taste. Also now with Crappy Records, MC Lars was joined on stage by Jaret to perform their joint track “Download This Song” featuring samples from Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger”. I have to admit, I kinda felt a little sorry for Iggy.
Orange County, California based Zebrahead take to the stage, with the clear intent of taking things up a notch with there edgy hip-hop-pop-rock. Front man Ali Tabatabaee and Rhythm guitarist / vocalist Matty Lewis got people moving with some feverish waving of ‘party hands’, not to mention other hand based ‘lady bit’ shapes. There was even a Slipknot style sit down and jump up that was more successful that I would have expected. Some good guitar work from Greg Bergdor thoughout, and a good performance by all. There was an odd cover of Avril Lavigne ‘Girlfriend’, which I don’t’ think they did justice… I have a soft spot for Avril, so leave off guys. The Surfers started to flood across and Zebrahead left having definitely done their job. Listening in to post gig conversation there was a real good vibe about Zebrahead’s reception.
Bowling for Soup
The main event, and the crowd was 40/60 male female split, and mostly young teens. This ‘Wii Fit’ Generation has some serious energy, and the lads they are here to see, by their own admission aren’t in the best of shape. Undaunted, the charismatic quartet of Gary Wiseman, Erik Chandler, Chris Burney and front man Jaret Reddick take to the stage, and keep crowd bopping an moshing according on taste non-stop for the rest of the night.
Crowd pleasers like ‘High School Never Ends’ and ‘Punk Rock 101′ went down predictably well. Occasional breaks for videos to play out on the screen, specifically the ‘Three Amigo’ video into broke the pace a little, but mostly things were was kept to a high. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this gig was that there were no real surprises, it all seemed to run on rails, not to say that it was void of genuine fun, but nothing out of the ordinary. This wasn’t Bowling for Soup at the top of their game but, they delivered a constant performance throughout.
A metal fueled dance techno finale made sure that no one had any energy when they walked out, and just in case they did, a single encore of ’1985′, topped it off perfectly, well ended on a high. Bowling for Soup delivered their brand of fun pop-punk-rock with ease, with no small amount of bouncing plectrums off guitars, and mid-song crowd banter.