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Bouncing Souls / Gaslight Anthem: live in Asbury Parklive in Asbury Park (2008)
Reviewer Rating: 4
Contributed by: TorgoTorgo
(others by this writer | submit your own)
When it was announced that the Bouncing Souls’ annual Home for the Holidays was being moved down the street to The Grande Arcade at the Asbury Park Convention Hall, I wasn’t worried. However, I had no idea what The Grande Arcade was. Upon entering the building, it became quite evident The Grande Arcade was a nice way of saying the Convention Hall’s hallway. While it wasn’t a real venue, the sound quality didn’t take the dive I expected it to, and it opened the floodgates for 100 tickets at the door for the formerly sold out night with co-homestate heroes the Gaslight Anthem.
The Souls' energy usually depends on the size of the venue (if you can see them without a barricade, that would be ideal) and in front of 875, their intensity was a little above average for a Bouncing Souls gig. More active than at a fest date, but more sedated when compared to smaller affairs. Coincidence or not, this was possibly the tightest set I’ve seen them play in a few years, save for a few vocal or count-in fuck-ups one would expect at a punk gig. Maybe I’m a sucker for smoke and mirrors but one element that made this night special was the stage being wrapped in Christmas lights and the giant Christmas tree off to the side of venue. Compared to last year, there was more holiday flavoring here.
After a “True Believers” with Timmy Chunks and Frank Iero of My Chemical Romance, the boys gave us “Kate Is Great” and the nostalgic “Night on Earth” before the encore. During the break, a guy in an Ergs! shirt and I discussed how heartbroken we were, but before we knew it Bryan was on stage playing the bass line to “Joe Lies (When He Cries).” Followed by “Hopeless Romantic,” both songs got predictably huge crowd responses. Even though I lamented TGA ending their set slower rather than faster, the Souls ended their set in possibly the best way possible: “Night Train.” I haven’t heard them play it live since 2004, and wasn’t immediately aware of what was going to happen when Bryan put down his bass and Greg moved over from center stage. The crowd was noticeably ecstatic, and Bryan got thunderous applause when he kept upping the ante each verse with loud, impassioned vocals. They left the stage one by one, galloping into the sunset that is 2009, their 20th anniversary, with promised surprises and constant touring. According to their documentary, this is really their 22nd year, but who’s counting?
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