The Bouncing Souls @ Mr. Smalls Theatre, Millvale, PA

Live Reviews | By on Oct 29th, 2006

Opening Bands: Street Dogs, Whole Wheat Bread, World Inferno Friendship
Date: October 16th 2006
Venue: Mr. Smalls Theatre, Millvale, PA

Ah, it that that time again, time for the yearly Bouncing Souls concert. There aren’t many bands that seem to tour every year and who come to Pittsburgh every time they tour. The Bouncing Souls are one of those bands. This was the first time that they had played at Mr. Smalls since they would play Club Laga all the time and Laga is no longer with us. (RIP)

This would be my second trip to Pittsburgh in four days for a show but I was really looking forward to seeing the Bouncing Souls again, who for some reason, seemed more energized than usual when they played the Warped Tour this year. In fact, this would be the second time seeing the Souls, the Street Dogs and Whole Wheat Bread since the beginning of summer. World Inferno Friendship Society I had heard of, but never listened to. So I managed to drag one of my friends and one of his friends with me to this show. We made good time and made it to the show with plenty of time to spare and lots of time for them to kill by drinking alcoholic beverages.

The first band up was World Inferno Friendship Society. I really wish we had been late for the show because I could have done without listening to them ever in my lifetime. There were around eight or nine members of the band with some sax players and a couple of drummers and it really sounded like there were eight people playing eight different things at the same time, in other words they sounded like a punk jam band. Yeah…it was that terrible. I really had no idea what the hell was going on with that band and neither did most people in the crowd. After what seemed like an eternity of fingernails scraping a chalkboard, it was finally over. Now it was time to listen to some actual music. Whole Wheat Bread was up next.

Whole Wheat Bread or the NWA/thug/punks, as I like to call them, had a new bassist since the original one landed in prison since the last time I saw them. It really didn’t seem to make much of a difference because the new bassist sounded just as good if not better. As with the Aquabats show, most people in the crowd seemed to have no idea what to expect but that was a fleeting feeling after about the first thirty seconds. WWB played harder and faster than last time and even through in a cover of Rancid’s “Maxwell Murder” for good measure. Talk about an exploding mosh pit. They got a pretty good reaction from the crowd who carried on some chants of “Whole Wheat Bread” after their set.

The Street Dogs were up next. They were the headlining act for the CBGB’s show that I caught a couple of months ago and they sounded ten times better this time around. A lot of people seemed familiar with their stuff so the crowd was really into them. Then they let loose with an old Dropkick Murphy’s cover that had just about everyone in attendance shouting along with. They ripped through some older hardcore songs as well as a couple of tracks off of their newest album. “Tobe’s Got A Drinking Problem” is probably my favorite song of theirs. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed that the lead singer looks an awful lot like Dicky Barrett of Bosstones fame? Maybe it’s just me.

Finally it was time for the band of the night, the featured presentation, the Bouncing Souls. I was anxious to hear some of their newer songs off of “The Gold Record” after getting a taste of a few at Warped. They did not disappoint and played quite a few newer songs like the cover of “Lean On Sheena”, “The Gold Song”, “Sounds Of The City” and “The Pizza Song”. “The Pizza Song” didn’t really sound the same without the accordion and the trumpet but I’ve read that they have been looking for people in the cities that they tour in who can play those parts and they play to bring them up on stage to play them. Of course, the Souls played many of their classics such as “Hopeless Romantic”, “The Something Special”, “Gone”, “Ballad Of Johnny X”, “True Believers” and the every popular crowd favorite, “East Coast! Fuck You!”. They like to consider us East Coast even though we’re about 300 miles away from the closest coastline. I wonder if they play that song on the West Coast or if they change the lyrics to “West Coast! Fuck You!”? Anyway, the Bouncing Souls seemed even more energized than at the Warped Tour. What’s got into them lately? They really seemed to feed of the crowd and vice versa. It was probably one of the most exciting shows in recent memory. It was also a pretty good set list with something from just about every album making an appearance. Still no “Ole” though. Can someone please tell me why they don’t play this song live? As many times as I have seen them, and it’s been quite a few times, they have never once played this song live. Is it like Radiohead syndrome where they don’t play the one song that seems to be the most popular with the fans or do they just hate that song, period? If anyone knows, please comment below. Thanks.

Other than having to listen to the World Inferno Friendship Society for thirty minutes, the rest of the show kicked my ass and rocked my face so hard that I think a tooth came loose. I was very pleased with this show and felt that the money was well spent and the trip was worth the drive and lack of sleep that I would get that night. To me, the Bouncing Souls are back on their place as one of the top punk bands in music today. I felt that they faltered a little bit with “Anchors Aweigh” but “The Gold Record” seems to have revitalized both the band and their popularity with their fans. This show proved to me that the Bouncing Souls don’t plan to fade away into the night anytime soon. I look forward to seeing them again next year.

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