OH MY GOD. This was a tour I had been looking forward to since I heard about it. The two bands I had come to see were both talented int their respective parts of the scene. Obviously, the Bouncing Souls are the most hyped part of this show, but...there's a reason why. THEY'RE THE BOUNCING SOULS.
I'd seen the Bouncing Souls once before on the 2002 Plea for Peace Tour, only having heard Summer Vacation, and some of their old hits, including Argyle.
I'd seen Tsunami Bomb twice, once at the Metro, opening up for Plain White T's and Hot Rod Circuit, (that was my first review, and I realize it sucked now. Sorry.) and the other on Warped. Both times they had torn it up, the guys (and girl) had been special, but not great, as if they just had one more hurdle to jump before they could really KILL.
I hadn't heard of Strike Anywhere.
Upon entering my first thought was "This is going to be trouble. " Meathead frat boys, oi! boys, street punx, 8 year olds, older brothers and comparatively normal people were all crammed into the Metro. There's gonna be a fight. Someone's gonna make a stupid comment, and the whole place will clear out. The police won't even have to shut it down. I waited in vain the entire night.
STRIKE ANYWHERE came on first (ok, I was late) and I felt like Mark Prior had just thrown a pebble at my head. A short, sharp shock, prompted me to stare in awe at the stage for half an hour straight. I'm sure I'm not the first that has said this, nor will I be the last, STRIKE ANYWHERE should be much bigger, very soon. Live, they're fireworks. The lead singer reminded me of three seminal bands, LESS THAN JAKE, since he did his hair kinda like Rog's, 7 SECONDS, just by the attitude lyrically, and RISE AGAINST, musically.
They're a little faster than Rise, but just as good. Come to think of it, that would be a rad tour. Energetically, they're GREAT, but eclipsed by Tsunami Bomb and the BOUNCING SOULS.
That's something I can't emphasize enough, STRIKE ANYWHERE was really, really good, but the other two bands were just better. This is like getting beaten in basketball by Kobe Bryant. Regardless, STRIKE ANYWHERE set the bar very high, at a level that few bands can meet, let alone match.
Next comes TSUNAMI BOMB, fresh off their hiatus from the Warped Tour, and getting little practice in with their new bassist before the Anchors Aweigh tour. It shows. M pranced around the stage, occasionally dancing, but generally looking great. Otherwise, the drums were crisp, the guitar sounded huge and....the bassist fit just like Dom, perhaps a little better. There's still something that doesn't feel quite right as a fan, but Matt is an incredible capable replacement, put simply.
There's been oodles upon oodles of stuff written on the Bouncing Souls, on how they make the entire venue go off, how Greg while, not getting quite as into it as Bryan or Pete puts in more than his fair share. It's energetic, honest and true as few bands can pull it off. It's the Bouncing Souls. If you are thinking about not going to see this tour, I would heartily urge you to reconsider. You don't know what you're missing. Your friends who already have seen them do.
For those interested in a setlist, here's what I can remember:
Fight To Live
Ballad of Johnny X
Say Anything (?)
Sing Along Forever
Freaks, Neds and Romantics
Night on Earth
As I walked away from the pit, lights turned back on, roadies packing up, Anchors Aweigh and DVD intact, I saw Greg, Pete and Bryan coming out again, only the bass was missing and only Pete had his guitar. A thought came into my head. No. It couldn't be. It was.
With only a guitar, Greg, Pete and Bryan did Night Train, without a doubt the most haunting song they've ever recorded. Its times like those I wished devoutly for a tape recorder. They just stood there, Pete on guitar, Bryan singing, Greg backing him up. Looking behind them, only for a moment, you could see the roadies packing up, or listening behind them. The song is melodic, haunting, and made me cry the first time I heard it. This version live, ruined it for me. Live, this thing was a whole new beast, and blows the recorded one out of the water, the same way Process of Belief blasted the Sum 41s, Good Charlottes, and Starting Lines out of the water. Live, its simply majestic.
To review: This is one of the truly 5 star concerts on this site, since about 4/5 seem to be 5 stars. If you get a chance to see this tour, take it. Grab it.
Other: I saw Tim, Todd and Juan from RISE AGAINST there. Also, the BOUNCING SOULS need to have less cool merch. Almost every hoodie, shirt or pin is cool. Seriously, bring lots of money.