Bouncing Souls / The Loved Ones - live in Farmingdale (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Bouncing Souls / The Loved Ones

live in Farmingdale (2007)

live show

Static Radio NJ began this solid, generally punk rock show, and it's actually the second of three treks with the Souls that are lined up for the band. There's really no beating around the bush with them -- if you like melodic hardcore, you'll probably like Static Radio. Halfway through the set, one crowd member yelled a request for "'Pits + Poisoned Apples'!" to which the singer responded, "'Pits + Poisoned Apples'? Yeah, I don't like them...just kidding!" It was a pretty humorous bit of self-deprecation in the face of five million (but no less positive) reviews in which Static Radio find themselves being compared to Kid Dynamite. Although they also contributed several tracks to a previously released three-way split and played some new material that night, it was impressive that the band managed a 25-minute set considering their One for the Good Guys EP doesn't even eclipse 10 minutes. The songs might have been generally similar, and their style seemingly went over the head of many in the audience, but they were definitely enjoyable. Keep an eye out for a review of that EP soon.

I found I Am the Avalanche's self-titled debut enjoyable if not a little tepid, but it probably didn't help that my expectations were a little outrageous considering frontman Vinnie Caruana's main previous endeavor. But live, the band is definitely on, playing invariably tight and just energetic enough, likely thanks in addition to the experience of members like ex-Further Seems Forever's Brandon Swanson and ex-Scraps and Heart Attacks' Kellen Robson. They played the best material from said album, and threw in two new songs. The first of these was incredible -- it definitely showed off a healthy Lifetime influence, but just to hear Caruana's voice in front of fast, poppy tempos again is an indescribable feeling. The other reared it back to a mid-tempo frame and a simple, catchy chorus ("whatever happened to the Brooklyn Dodgers? / whatever happened to me?"), not unlike much of I Am the Avalanche, but more creative, with guitars that switched from brief, cathartic cuts to being wandering and atmospheric. ("Polar Beast" is the other "new" song that wasn't played that night, a Glassjaw-ish tune the band has previously played live often in recent months.) With new material like this, I Am the Avalanche's forthcoming (which is fully written, but yet to be recorded) could be the best work Caruana's been involved in since This Time Next Year. Lastly, the band nailed a cover of Weezer's "Tired of Sex," whose response was terribly underwhelming. Overall, a great set that I enjoyed way more than I'd figured.

Set list (5:59-6:29):

  1. I Took a Beating
  2. This Is Dungeon Music
  3. -----
  4. untitled new song
  5. -----
  6. The Brooklyn Dodgers [new song]
  7. -----
  8. New Disaster
  9. My Second Restraining Order
  10. -----
  11. Tired of Sex [Weezer cover]
  12. -----
  13. Dead and Gone
The Loved Ones have gradually grown on me since the release of their middling, self-titled EP in 2005, but it's still an ongoing process. I'll vouch for their live show, though -- it's decent enough. I'll even go so far as to say that while one will obviously miss the presence of "Spider" Cottman, the band are far more entertaining as a quartet than a trio, even though you could say the same for most bands. Granted, it was a little creepy when the stage right guitarist asked a girl in front, "How old are you?", heard her response of "16" and jokingly responded, "Me too!", but you'll have that. They opened with what's likely to always be my favorite output of theirs, "100K," and played a number off Keep Your Heart from there. Dave Hause really got the crowd involved, and with a barricade that really felt driven to create the divide between fan and band, that was key. Interesting note of the set: He also took a shot at the venue's overzealous bouncers and encouraged the little guys in the audience to stand up for themselves.

Set list (6:48-7:21):
  1. 100K
  2. Suture Self
  3. Breathe In
  4. -----
  5. Player Hater Anthem
  6. Hurry Up and Wait
  7. Sickening
  8. -----
  9. Benson and Hedges
  10. Arsenic
  11. -----
  12. Jane
  13. Living Will (Get You Dead)
The greatness of a Souls live performance always seems to rest on the shoulders of that candid, candor-filled frontman Greg Attonito. He'll either stand around looking bored and apathetic or, true to the band's moniker, bouncing around like he'd regressed ten years in age. Tonight he was somewhere in between, but fortunately it usually seemed to lean toward the latter. That made the energetic, standout songs from How I Spent My Summer Vacation all the more enjoyable, while they delivered rousing cuts of newer stuff like "The Gold Song" and the fantastic Avoid One Thing cover (still confuses me) "Lean on Sheena." The crowd, while surprisingly young up front, was into it all though. The super old tunes like "Joe Lies" and "The Ballad of Johnny X" had a slightly less enthusiastic reception, but there were definitely those in the audience that chose to show off their nostalgia-soaked affectations in the form of passionately singing along.

Overall, the Souls were at their endearing usual, playing some favorites, some obscure ones, and always pulling entertaining moves (Attonito donning a graduation cap that'd been thrown at him, borrowing some white hipster sunglasses from one person, etc.) that added funny little nuances to the set. The Souls can definitely be a hit or miss act, but tonight was definitely a hit.

Set list (7:50-8:42):
  1. The Gold Song
  2. Private Radio
  3. That Song
  4. Hopeless Romantic
  5. -----
  6. Lean on Sheena
  7. The Something Special
  8. -----
  9. East Coast! Fuck You!
  10. Kid
  11. -----
  12. Better Things
  13. K8 Is Great
  14. True Believers
  15. -----
  16. The Ballad of Johnny X
  17. Sing Along Forever
  18. -----
  19. Joe Lies (When He Cries)
  20. Midnight Mile
  21. -----
  22. Highway Kings
  23. -----
  24. Gone
  25. Encore (8:43-8:55):
  26. Say Anything [Greg solo acoustic]
  27. -----
  28. Kids and Heroes
  29. -----
  30. For All the Unheard