Words: Garion Hayman

It has been a while since I last saw Bowling for Soup and if I remember correctly I was proudly sporting a baggy t-shirt, baggy shorts and a very worn out pair of vans. I was one of the many indulging in pop-punk at the turn of the century and I realise this will show my age but like Bowling for Soup, I couldn’t care less.  As you may have gathered Bowling for Soup are back again, this time in support for Steel Panther at Wembley SSE Arena. It is clear from the onset that, like the pop-punk they play, Bowling for Soup are here to stay, but let’s be honest, they never really went away.

Buckcherry kick off the night, with Steel Panther closing the evening, but I will be focusing on Bowling for Soup (that is why I am here, after all).  The band opens with ‘Girl All the Bad Guys Want’ an obvious choice but one which sits well with the crowd (yay! A cliché!).  They then continue to rip through ‘High School Never Ends’, ‘Ohio’ and ‘Almost’ and yes this is looking very much like a mixtape from 2004 (now I am starting to feel old!)

The band spent more time telling jokes and taking impromptu photo opportunities than cramming a 30-minute set list with 3-minute songs but that was what made the evening so enjoyable. Bowling for Soup do not care what you think. They are here to hang out, have a beer and maybe get a nap along the way. Bowling for Soup know that their music is not groundbreaking. As a result, they enjoy the night and bring the audience along for the ride (my highlight of the evening being the hordes of hair metal throwbacks singing along to ‘Ohio’; a fabulous juxtaposition – out of place and out of time).

So did I enjoy myself? Yes! Did I feel like a teenager again? Yes! (But sadly lacking a very worn out pair of vans) and now it is time to head back to reality.  Tonight was a much-needed break from responsibility and remembering the fact that Santa Claus hates you all.

Photo: Tom Rose