Bouncing Souls / 7 Seconds / Street Dogs - live in Los Angeles (Cover Artwork)

Bouncing Souls / 7 Seconds / Street Dogs

live in Los Angeles (2005)

live show

What a great lineup. The Loved Ones, Street Dogs, 7 Seconds and My Chemical Romance…um, I mean Bouncing Souls. Or at least, that's what the lead singer from the Loved Ones was saying just as I entered the sold out show at the El Rey Theatre. I had been looking forward to this lineup for months. I was a little surprised tickets were still available a few days before the show, but nonetheless, I was expecting a good one. And there's nothing better than when all the bands deliver on those expectations. Onto the review.

The Loved Ones are a band I'm just getting into, so I was planning on catching their set, but I got there late and only caught the last 2 songs. And the Philadelphia three-piece was rocking out, drenched in sweat while having a blast on stage. Playing tight and melodic punk rock'n'roll, they were solid openers and got a good reaction from the crowd. Before finishing, they proceeded to thank all the bands on the bill (soon to be a theme for the night). I'll be sure to catch these guys again soon.

After a short 15-minute wait, the Street Dogs were next. The band had added a second guitarist and was now a five-piece. The band, sans lead singer Mike McColgan, walked out on stage and started playing "In Defense of Dorchester." Seemingly out of nowhere, Mike jumped out and leaped right into the song. Skinheads in the pit started going crazy. Right off the bat I busted my lip open, but that didn't stop me from enjoying their energetic 30-minute set. Seeing the band for the first time, I was impressed with Mike's commanding stage presence. Whether it was talking proudly about his hometown back east, dedicating a song to some Belgium skinheads (trapped here for the cancelled Wasted festival) or continuously shoving the mic in kids' faces, the guy knows how to put on a show. The good vibes between the bands continued as Mike individually thanked all the bands for such a great lineup. The rest of the band was playing their hearts out and the crowd responded accordingly. The dedication to Joe Strummer in "Fighter" was one of my favorites. About halfway through their set, Mike tells us since this was the last stop on their tour with the Bouncing Souls, we would get to choose which cover they would play -- the Ramones, the Clash or Black Flag. Naturally, being in L.A., the crowd picked Black Flag. The opening beats and riffs to "Rise Above" had the whole floor flipping out (myself included) as the band ripped through the song with Mike doing a damn good Henry Rollins up front with the kids. The band finished off their set with their cover of Sham 69's "Borstal Breakout."

With the Sex Pistols blaring in the background, the next 15-minute set change may as well have been an hour, at least for me. Reno/Sacramento hardcore legends 7 Seconds were next and I've been waiting to see this band for years. Troy, Steve, Bobby and Kevin (proudly wearing a Street Dogs shirt) walked onto the stage. The band quickly dove into their first few songs. I don't know if it was just me or where I was standing, but the crowd reaction seemed a bit lukewarm at first, possibly because the band was playing mostly new songs or maybe there were just a bunch of kids who weren't too familiar with the band? Whatever the reason, this prompted Kevin to ask the crowd if they were tired, which just left a shitty taste in my mouth. With an emphatic "No!," the crowd started going crazy as the guys broke into their cover of Sham 69's "If the Kids Are United." The steady stream of hardcore classics, one after another, were amazing to hear and even better to sing along to. I gotta say for guys who've been playing since the early `80s, they could still school a lot of younger bands. Troy was an animal on the drums, and Steve and Bobby were killing it on bass and guitar, respectively. Kevin was great charging through every song. The night of positive vibes continued as Kevin thanked all the great bands on the lineup. The classic "Walk Together, Rock Together" was without a doubt the highlight of the set for me. And with an extended version of "99 Red Balloons" having the whole floor shredding their throats in "whoa-whoas!," the set was over before I knew it. It looks like Kevin and the guys still live by the motto "I'm gonna stay young, until I die" and it was great to see.

Set list:

  • The Crew
  • Definite Choice
  • Sooner or Later
  • Young Till I Die
  • Panic Attack
  • Remains to Be Seen
  • Regress No Way
  • One Big Guessing Game
  • Your Parents' Hardcore
  • If the Kids Are United
  • Here's Your Warning
  • You Lose
  • Walk Together, Rock Together
  • 99 Red Balloons
It isn't a Bouncing Souls show unless you've got the crowd chanting "OLÉ OLÉ OLÉ!" at the top of their lungs before the band takes the stage. And without a doubt, this was a Bouncing Souls crowd. The Loved Ones were appreciated, the Street Dogs and 7 Seconds got huge chunks of the crowd going off, but it was the Bouncing Souls the overwhelming majority of the crowd was here to see. You couldn't move the floor was so packed. As for the band, what more can be said about these guys that hasn't already been said before? Just genuine guys playing music they love and still going strong after 15+ years. As usual, the crowd was relentless during their set. It was hard to hear Greg singing half the time as the crowd was doing it for him. The set seemed to lean a bit more toward Anchors Aweigh and How I Spent My Summer Vacation material, but they also played a bunch of older songs as well. Brian took some time to thank all the bands but especially his heroes, 7 Seconds, to which appropriately "Kids and Heroes" was dedicated to. They pulled out the instrumental "Moon Over Asbury," which was a surprise but also gave the crowd a welcome breather. The highlight for many I'm sure was an unbelievable version of "True Believers." It brought out the Street Dogs, one of the guys from Flogging Molly, and Timmy Chunks on stage. And that was when you could really sense the feeling of unity and respect amongst the bands. And this seemed to translate to the crowd as well. All night, there was no fighting, no assholes in the pit, people helping each other out when someone fell down, and everybody singing along. The guys finished with "Night on Earth," but by that time, I was exhausted, so I left early and called it a night.

Set list:
  • Apartment 5F
  • Born Free
  • Anchors Aweigh
  • Hopeless Romantic
  • Cracked
  • Kids and Heroes
  • The Something Special
  • Say Anything
  • Moon Over Asbury
  • Kate is Great
  • True Believers
  • East Coast Fuck You
  • That Song
  • Private Radio
  • The Guest
  • Quick Check Girl
  • Ballad of Johnny X
  • Night on Earth
A few gripes about the show: The sound was just off for chunks of the night, especially with the bass and vocals for the Souls set. For my first time at the El Rey, I've never seen so much wasted space at a venue. The security seemed to be guarding the walkway around the dance floor with their lives. And for a huge club, the dance floor is too small and cramped, especially with the steps leading down to it. Can't win 'em all I guess. Waiting for the bus home, I was deaf, had a busted lip, covered in sweat, and could barely stand. But in the end, it was all worth it.