Bouncing Souls / Lifetime / The Ergs! - live in Philadelphia (Cover Artwork)

Bouncing Souls / Lifetime / The Ergs!

live in Philadelphia (2007)

live show

I blew it. Big time. I was all ready to set my alarm for some ridiculous time to get tickets for what might have been the show of the year (for New Jerseyians, anyway): the Bouncing Souls and Lifetime in New Brunswick. But apparently the link/time to get the 100-ish tickets let out to the public was in a Bouncing Souls MySpace bulletin. C'mon guys, I go on MySpace for music news the same way I used to come here for anonymous comments. So I had to downgrade to a 2,000 capacity gig in Philly.

And the downgrade was immediately apparent when I walked onto the middle of the floor while the Ergs! were setting up. Water was falling on my head. Immediately I thought it was some kind of light sprinkler system to cool down the dancers (I call a patent on that if it doesn't exist), but I looked up and noticed there was indeed a leak. Then I looked on stage...and there was a waterfall on stage right. Luckily for all of us it stopped raining and the venue did some clutch cargo water sopping-up on the stage and the Ergs! went on without a hitch.

Immediately an Ergs! virgin would notice their lead singer, Mikey Erg, is their drummer. Automatically this should take a little away from their live presence, but their songs are so catchy and, frankly, better than most pop-punk bands, the songs themselves take center stage. The crowd was noticeably into it but wasn't moving for the first few songs, but when they dove into "Introducing Morrissey," a kid in a Weezer shirt and thick-rimmed glasses (ah, living stereotypes) opened up the pit and several kids joined in. Joey Erg did his best in between songs to amuse the crowd, and I believe when a punk bassist use their fingers rather than a pick it adds an extra dynamic to their sound. Oh, and two cool points for Mikey for wearing a "Weird Al" Yankovic shirt. The set ended with arguably their most known song, "Everything Falls Apart and More," and left the crowd amped for Lifetime.

While this show was going on, a mere ten minutes away was the first day of This Is Hardcore, a show our reviews editor Brian was at. One would assume a few audience members would bleed over to this show, and one would be correct. As Lifetime set up, more guys in wifebeaters, backwards Phillies caps and camo shorts became prevalent. Lifetime came out together with no pretension, and proceeded to stand on stage with their instruments for a minute seemingly confused as to what they should be doing.

They launched into "Airport Monday Morning" and it was pretty apparent that Lifetime are less comfortable when there's a barricade. Ari diving into a crowd of 400 gives off a lot more energy for the band than the automatic sterilization that is a five-foot space between the front row. They performed admirably, and their general lack of tenacity didn't rub off on the crowd, who by all accounts were flipping shit for all 35 minutes (even though there was a noticeable groan when Ari announced a new song). "Daneurysm," "The Boys No Good" and "Young, Loud and Scotty" were set highlights for maximum crowd participation. So although they were a great opening band, we all know Lifetime isn't opening band material, and is best appreciated at their own show.

Set list:

  1. Airport Monday Morning
  2. Turnpike Gates
  3. The Boys No Good
  4. Rodeo Clown
  5. Just a Quiet Evening
  6. Daneurysm
  7. Haircuts & T-Shirts
  8. Hey Catrine
  9. Young, Loud and Scotty
  10. Irony Is for Suckers
  11. (The Gym Is) Neutral Territory
  12. Northbound Breakdown
  13. Knives, Bats, New Tats
  14. Ostrichsized
  15. 25 Cent Giraffes
The lights dimmed and I had a huge smile on my face before the Bouncing Souls even came out. Why? Because they only took 20 minutes to set up and start playing. Too many punk bands try to be rock stars and make you wait upwards of 40 minutes (looking at you, Rancid). No, it doesn't make the crowd anticipate you more, it makes them annoyed. Anywho, I could have sworn they'd come out with "The Gold Song," but they threw a curveball (eh, maybe a cut fastball) and started with "Hopeless Romantic." The good vibe that radiates through most Bouncing Souls fans was helped out by the Souls' energy. I was almost surprised to see how crazy Greg was getting, and the normally dormant Pete was even bopping around the whole stage instead of just by his mic stand.

It was cute they played "Lifetime," which was the first time I ever heard it live, and "Cracked" was one I haven't heard for a while, which always gives the floor-punchers a sense of entitlement. My only complaint was them erroneously playing "That Song" too fast for its own good; its melody took a backseat to the ferocious drumming making the whole band look confused.

When the Souls came back for the encore, the emotional connection with the crowd was at its peak, with a certain stillness taking over not normally seen in punk rock during "Anchors Aweigh." Afterward they did their guitarmageddon schtick during "True Believers" with none other than Dan Yemin and a visibly intoxicated Dave Hause (it is Philly, after all). They ended with their most underrated song, "Night on Earth," and all was said and done. I'd like for them to change up their set list from show to show a little more, but any 24 Bouncing Souls songs would make a fine set list.

Set list:
  1. Hopeless Romantic
  2. Say Anything
  3. That Song
  4. Cracked
  5. Joe Lies (When He Cries)
  6. The Gold Song
  7. Private Radio
  8. Quick Check Girl
  9. The Something Special
  10. Lifetime
  11. Here We Go
  12. No Security
  13. Born Free
  14. ExCxFxUx
  15. Lean on Sheena
  16. Kids & Heroes
  17. Kate Is Great
  18. Midnight Mile
  19. Fight to Live
  20. Gone
  21. For All the Unheard
  22. Encore:
  23. Anchors Aweigh
  24. True Believers
  25. Night on Earth