The Bouncing Souls + The Bronx + Swingin’ Utters @ Foufs – 9th August 2019

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The Bouncing Souls

2 weeks to the day after a stellar 3rd edition of ’77, we are in the kind of place where all of the bands at that festival would have started out: the iconic Les Foufounes Electriques.  And with a line-up that wouldn’t look out of place at ’77, come to mention it!  This place feels absolutely ageless; once inside, it looks exactly like it did the first time you came here, regardless of how many years ago that was (2007, in my case).  On the subject of timelessness, I saw tonight’s headliners The Bouncing Souls in this very room almost exactly 10 years ago, and they were selling the exact same shirt design then as they are tonight, so I don’t look like a total dork for wearing that shirt to the show tonight either!  Jackpot.  And don’t even get me started on how great it is to be able to buy a beer at a show for $3.50…

Swingin’ Utters

After fresh-faced UK 6-piece, The Bar Stool Preachers kick of the night in ska-punk fashion, it’s over to old school Santa Cruz punks Swingin’ Utters.  Frontman Johnny “Peebucks” Bonnel is the last founding member of the band, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to the rest of the band, who make the songs sound way slicker than you remember from the records.  Pills And Smoke and Kick It Over start the set in remarkably melodic manner, before Peebucks declares “thanks for coming out early, we appreciate it very much!”  Things then take a much rawer old-school punk direction, with a few on the floor busting out into skank and the set alternates between pop-punk and old-school-punk throughout.  The pit gets crazier as the set goes on, as do Johnny’s spasmodic jerky dance moves, leading him to gush towards the end of the set “we didn’t expect this great response, you’re giving me chills!”  The 35-minute set wraps up with the wonderful Glad, from the 2003 Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass, and Bones record.

The Bronx

Whether or not you are a fan of The Bronx from a musical perspective or not, there’s no question that their live show has always been a sight to behold for any music fan…and still is, 17 years into their existence as a band.  Frontman Matt Caughthran plays every set as if it was his last ever, sounding and looking vicious right off the bat, and he sounds genuinely emotional when he says “there’s nothing better than loud guitars, pounding drums, thundering bass…music is a beautiful thing man!” 

He jumps down into the floor section during 4th song Heart Attack, and remains there for the duration of the set, roaming from person to person, snarling into his mic while the circle pit stampede whirls around him as if he was the eye of the storm.  Things get even more intense during Two Birds and Knifeman; in response to Matt’s demand “to see the whole room moving,” the entire floor section bounces with him.  He looks genuinely disappointed for a moment when the rest of the band on stage hold up their index fingers to indicate they only have time for 1 more song, but that quickly dissipates once set-closer Around The Horn explodes to life.  After vocal duties are done, he hands off his mic to the roadie and joins the circle pit to close out an incendiary 35 minutes.  What a set, what a band!

New Jersey’s The Bouncing Souls have been on the scene for 30 years now, and in the words of frontman Greg Attonito tonight, “we’re spending the year patting ourselves on the back about it!”  The sold-out Foufs crowd erupts into life with the wonderful Hopeless Romantic, before Greg then busts out some seriously old-man dance moves on Sing Along Forever.  Here We Go seems the floor go even crazier than it did for The Bronx, which I didn’t think was going to be possible. 

Lean On Sheena gets the biggest singalong of the night so far, especially loud at the start and again at the breakdown when Greg holds the mic out to the crowd.  Greg gushes afterwards: “it’s so good to back here, it feels like home!”  It’s not surprising either – they’ve played this room a few times over the years!

The strength of the band’s discography really shines through over the course of the blistering 70-minute set too, as I lose track of the number of “OH YEAH, THIS ONE!!!” moments I have.  The epic Late Bloomer is soon followed by Kids And Heroes and Anchors Aweigh before they throw it out to the crowd to choose the next one.  After debating between requests for The Toilet Song and Coat Check Girl, they finally elect to go with a song called The Mark (I think? I didn’t recognize that name, and neither does Google, so that could be wrong…).  The set concludes in grandiose fashion, with Gone morphing into a wall of distortion, until a rumbling bass emerges from that humdrum to detonate a thunderous Manthem.

After a short break, the band return to finish off the crowd for good with a 4-song encore, the highlights of which are undoubtedly the anthemic True Believers, which sets the floor off yet again, and Night On Earth, which finishes up with Greg shaking hands and bumping fists with the hardy survivors of the front row, before leaving the stage during the outro to leave the rest of the band to wrap up the colossal set.  30 years on, and it seems like The Bouncing Souls are only just getting started!

Setlist

  • 1.       Hopeless Romantic
  • 2.       Sing Along Forever
  • 3.       Kate Is Great
  • 4.       The Gold Song
  • 5.       Here We Go
  • 6.       The Ballad Of Johnny X
  • 7.       The Something Special
  • 8.       Lean On Sheena (Avoid One Thing cover)
  • 9.       Favorite Everything
  • 10.   That Song
  • 11.   East Coast! F*** You!
  • 12.   Late Bloomer
  • 13.   Kids and Heroes
  • 14.   Anchors Aweigh
  • 15.   The Mark (?)
  • 16.   Shark Attack
  • 17.   Private Radio
  • 18.   1989
  • 19.   Gone
  • 20.   Manthem
  • Encore
  • 21.   Crucial Moments
  • 22.   True Believers
  • 23.   The Freaks, Nerds, & Romantics
  • 24.   Night on Earth

Review- Simon Williams
Photos – Steve Gerrard

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