Fifteen years have passed since The Bouncing Souls formed from a group of high school kids in New Jersey. Much has changed for The Bouncing Souls over these years. Going from squatter punks living out of futon shops and putting out everything D.I.Y. to getting signed to premier punk label: Epitaph records. From Shal Kichi behind the drums to Michael McDermott of Mephiskapheles and Murphy's Law holding the beats down, and from downtimes to some of the happeist and most together times of their lives and as a band, The Bouncing Souls have been through a wild ride. Following on the release of their award-winning 2-disc dvd, The Bouncing Souls returned to Long Island for the first time in a year to play some rock n' roll.
No guardrails, no security, no super high stage, just the way a nice punk rock n' roll show should be, the band and the fans unified as one. Worthless United started off the night with some straight up punk rock. They blasted through their set extremely quick, and it was nice to hear a cover of The Clash's "Tommy Gun" to close out the set.
Roger Miret And The Disasters were up next. For those unfamiliar, Roger Miret is the singer of New York Hardcore legends, Agnostic Front. However, his other band, The Disasters, is very much different. They play a nice catchy type of street punk that is very similar to Rancid, which may explain their signing to Hell-Cat Records. Songs like "Give 'Em Boot" got the kids on the dance floor moving, and that was just the beginning of things to come. The Disasters also decided to play one from The Clash's catalouge as well, as Miret dedicated "Career Opportunities" to the memory of Joe Strummer, the Clash frontman who died last year. The Disasters music was fast, catchy, and fun, and got the kids all worked up for the remainder of the show.
The sounds of sirens bought NYC punk band The Casualties to the stage. Judging from the comparison of the band's hair and the kid's hair, it was easy to tell that The Casualties have a very dedicated fan base, although it's very hard to beleive that such generic, bland music could have such a dedicated following. It was hard to make out a difference between any of the songs they played, and this continued on for 45 minutes until The Casualties finally took their leave, as well as did many kids who came out just for The Casualties.
After about 15 minutes of stage setup time, the lights at Sports Plus went out, the common whistle of an Old West shootout movie blared over the loudspeaker, and Greg, Bryan, Pete, and Mike hopped up onto the stage. Greg gave the crowd a little smile, and the Souls shot into "Hopeless Romantic", sending the crowd into a frenzy. The energy was intense and the crowd's energy and the Soul's energy just fed off each other the entire time. Without a moment in between, "That Song" and "Say Anything" came next, and the energy factor followed suit. Two new songs were played, entitled "Kids and Heroes" and "Born Free", and judging from the sound, it may be possible that the upcoming Bouncing Souls album, "Anchors Away", may very well be their best. Songs that rarely find their way onto setlists nowadays were played such as "Gone" and "Kid." A few older tracks such as "I Like Your Mom" and "The Ballad Of Johnny X" were also played as well, which generated just as great a crowd response as any of their stuff. The Bouncing Souls announced "Private Radio" as their last song, but it was only a matter of about 30 seconds before they ran back on stage to give the kids two older favorites, "Here We Go" and "Argyle", as well as the set-closer "Manthem" which had everyone on stage chanting and singing along.
If you were to look around you after the show, you would see nothing but smiling faces, which is something The Bouncing Souls bring to Long Island every time they play here. An excellent show full of positive, emotional, and physical energy is something that should characteristic of any band trying to make a connection with the people. Here's to another 15 years of The Bouncing Souls.