There are only a few punk rock bands that can take over The Troubadour for four nights in a row and sell out the run. But as part of their “For All The Unheard” international tour, upbeat New Brunswick quartet Bouncing Souls did just that. Even better, they performed almost every song they ever wrote — eight albums worth; two records a night, in chronological order.
Quintessential '80s L.A. punk band, Youth Brigade opened, and damn near stole the show. Their fast and raw songs led to sing alongs and unmerciful moshing. Sure, original singer and drummer Shawn and Mark Stern are pretty old but that still didn't stop them from getting down. They plowed through hits like “Violence” as fast and powerfully as they in all those documentary videos I've seen, and ended with their epic, “Sink with Kalifonija.”
Nonetheless, everyone was there for the Souls. “Eye of the Tiger” kicked off the next part of the show, along with a pre-recorded soundtrack voice of a guy announcing the show as if it were a boxing match — “fighting for the world championship punk rock belt!”
For this show last night they did their first two albums, The Good, The Bad & The Argyle and Maniacal Laughter. The first set was their whole first album. Singer Greg Attonito began, of course, with the album's cult opener “I Like your Mom.”
Everyone seemed to sing along to every single song, and their backdrop kept changing, ranging from fuzzy videos of a Betty Page striptease to buildings getting burnt down and, of course, a black and white silhouette of a broken heart.
As soon as they finished their first album, the band disappeared from the stage and “Eye of the Tiger” came back on again. This time though, a scandalously clad punk rock ring girl (below) walked on stage holding up a sign bearing the title of their second album, Maniacal Laughter.
This work is the one where the Bouncing Souls stabilized their uniquely positive punk rock-y beats. The crowd got really happy, really fast. Stage dives increased tenfold and the pit sucked in everyone as it it were a black hole. Especially energizing was their two minute long cover of the FIFA anthem, “Here We Go.” My swollen lip, meanwhile, is still getting better from their performance of “Born To Lose.”
Performing two complete albums at a show isn't so bad, especially for a punk band, as few of their songs clocked in at more than three or four minutes. The show was fairly short, and there was very little dialogue at all in between songs.
It didn't look like there would be an encore, but after about seven minutes of chanting and cheering, Attonito showed up. “The reasons we aren't coming back on stage is because we are just playing the records! But since you guys will not leave…” He then did quick acoustic performance of a song from his solo album, “Natural Disasters.”
The Bouncing Souls will be performing the rest of their six albums at The Troubadour tonight (Thursday), Friday and Saturday. All shows are sold out, but just get the tickets off a scalper or some guy on Craigslist. Trust me that it is worth it if you are a fan of good quality, positive punk rock.
The crowd: Mostly young white pop punk kids, a couple of middle aged bros and hipsters with hats and gelatinized mustaches. Elvis Cortez, singer of local punk rock band Left Alone was there too!
Random notebook dump: Dammit, I forgot my earplugs!
Set list below
I Like Your Mom
These Are The Quotes From Our Favorite 80's Movies
Joe Lies (When He Cries)
Some Kind Of Wonderful
Lay 'Em Down And Smack 'Em, Yack 'Em
I Know What Boys Like
The Freaks, Nerds, and Romantics
All of This and Nothing
The BMX Song
Quick Chek Girl
Here We Go
Born to Lose”
Moon Over Asbury
The Ballad of Johnny X
I'm Drinking Again