Bouncing Souls - live in Asbury Park [3 nights] (Cover Artwork)

Bouncing Souls

live in Asbury Park [3 nights] (2007)

live show

When I first heard about the Souls' three-night holiday extravaganza in my beloved Asbury Park, NJ, I only planned on going to one night, maybe two. However, once news came out of the 60+ song marathon, I immediately got tickets for all three glorious nights. I'll break it down, night by night.

Night 1!

Opening night one was Philly's the Low Budgets. I figured with the Dead Milkmen's frontman leading this outfit, you couldn't go wrong. Their keyboard-driven punk was pretty enjoyable, but I don't really dig 'em enough to buy a record. You should still check them out regardless, maybe you'll have a different opinion. They put on a good show, and had a few fans in the audience rocking out, but most of the crowd seemed to be unmoved.

Next up was World/Inferno Friendship Society, a band I've only recently got into (why I waited so long, l'll never know), and have been dying to see live. They clearly had a substantial number of fans in the audience, and the second they busted into "Tattoos Fade," the entire place was moving. Although their set list was weighted heavily with songs from their past two albums, they still busted out a couple older tracks. The band fulfilled my expectations as a spectacular live band, and I can't wait to experience it again soon. Jack's commentary between songs was great, often referencing the venue's frequent demand to not crowd surf or hang from the pipes on the ceiling. (Jack warned of killer squirrels on the roof and the pipes being greased up with tube paste.) Four nights later, I've forgotten a couple songs they played and the order, but here is a near-complete set list:

  • Tattoos Fade
  • And Embarked on a Life of Poverty
  • Brother of the Mayor of Bridgewater
  • Addicted to Bad Ideas
  • Jerusalem Boys
  • Ich Erinnere Mich An Die Weimarer Republik
  • Thumb Cinema
  • Fiend in Wein
  • Only Anarchists Are Pretty
Soon the Souls took the stage to "Born to Run" playing and Christmas lights overhead and went straight into "The Freaks, Nerds and Romantics." I was very interested in what songs they would be playing tonight, as it was basically going to be a grab-bag of songs not in their "Top 40." They continued on with great energy with both older and/or rarely played tracks like "No Security" and "These Are Quotes from Our Favorite 80s Movies." Despite not being in the fan-voted top 40, most of the songs played were great in their own right, and probably should have been in the top 40 (cough "Kate Is Great" cough). A great surprise was the extremely old song "PMRC," as well as closing with a cover of Cock Sparrer's "We're Coming Back." Overall the night was fun, but I anticipated the next two nights' sets far more.

Set list (the middle is out of order, and I forgot 1 or 2 songs):
  • The Freaks Nerds and Romantics
  • These Are Quotes from Our Favorite 80s Movies
  • No Security
  • Sounds of the City
  • The Guest
  • No Rules
  • All of This and Nothing
  • That Something Special
  • The BMX Song
  • Highway Kings
  • Streetlight Serenade
  • Single Successful Guy
  • Lifetime
  • '87
  • Lay Em Down and Smack Em, Yack Em
  • Late Bloomer
  • PMRC
  • Kate Is Great
  • Ole!
  • We're Coming Back
Night 2!

I got to the Pony during the middle of opener Tom Brunett's set. I had no idea who he was prior to the show, and kinda hoped they just spelled Strike Anywhere's frontman's name wrong. What we got instead was pretty good country-tinged rock (complete with Johnny Cash cover). Although it would seem out of place at a punk show, the inclusion of Tim Barry on the bill made it seem more likely.

Up next was Jersey's pop-punk darlings the Ergs!, who provided a great show despite not exciting the crowd too much, which is odd considering they are from Jersey. I, along with many of the younger fans, enjoyed their set thoroughly, which was a mix of new and old, and included two covers (a Peanuts instrumental and Fear's "Fuck Christmas"!) I was really hoping they were going to play "We're Going to Have a Devo Christmas," but the Fear cover was good enough for me.

Tim Barry then took the stage with a second guitarist and his younger sister on violin, greeting fans who had come up from Richmond to see him play. I managed to get stuck amongst them all, and they were all very, very loud and drunk. Despite that annoyance, Tim played a great set, frequently talking to the audience, and overall had great energy and charisma on stage.

Again the Souls strolled out on the stage to "Born to Run" and started the countdown with the appropriate "Holiday Cocktail Lounge." Adding to the fun of the night was a friend of the band holding a posterboard with the number of the countdown behind the bass stacks, often having a tongue-in-cheek phrase and/ or funny illustration indicating the song (Shark drawing, Pete Hearts Your Mom, drawing of an ear with an x over it, etc.). The set was an eclectic one, though not as much as the first night. "Shark Attack" was played for the first time ever, and the band employed friends to do the speaking parts. The band also brought out a member of the Slackers to play accordion on "The Pizza Song" (along with some kid on trombone). Although ending the night's countdown with "Fight to Live" (#21), the band came back for an encore of "Moon Over Asbury," "Argyle" (hooray!), and a Sick of It All cover with Lou himself.

Set list:

40. Holiday Cocktail Lounge
39. Here We Go
38. Better Things
37. So Jersey
36. Apartment 5F
35. Serenity
34. Shark Attack
33. Born Free
32. For All the Unheard
31. Cracked
30. Private Radio
29. I Like Your Mom
28. The Pizza Song
27. Midnight Mile
26. East Side Mags
25. That Song
24. Neurotic
23. Bryan's Lament
22. East Coast! Fuck You!
21. Fight to Live
Moon Over Asbury
Sick of It All cover

Night 3!

Despite being thoroughly exhausted from the previous two nights, I eagerly awaited the third and final set, comprised of their top 20 songs. I got to the show at the beginning of Static Radio NJ's great set, and was again treated to their blazing Kid Dynamite-esque hardcore punk. They got a great response from the crowd, too. I highly recommend everyone pick up their EP, One for the Good Guys.

Next up was the much-loved Loved Ones. I was never really able to get into these guys on record, but they usually are pretty good live. They had a lot of fans in the crowd tonight, so dancing and singing along were all over. However, tonight I found myself pretty bored throughout their set.

Once more, Greg and company were brought on stage to "Born to Run," and started the countdown again with "Old School." They continued by blazing through the great set with "Born to Lose," "Johnny X," and "Lamar Vannoy." They then brought up some girl (I didn't catch who she was, exactly -- Greg's daughter maybe?) for the humorous duet "Wish Me Well." The band was in top form tonight, and both they and the fans were feeding off of each other's energy. Clearly these were the Souls' best songs, and I couldn't be happier that "True Believers" was #1. Leaving the stage for a brief moment, the band came back on, jesting that although the previous songs were pretty good, the next two were clearly their best. The crowd was then treated to "Inspection Station" and "The Toilet Song." They ended the night on an odd note, with a cover of "Folsom Prison Blues." Greg commented on how the song was probably supposed to be longer, and then left the stage.

20. Old School
19. Born to Lose
18. Ballad of Johnny X
17. Lamar Vannoy
16. Wish Me Well
15. Kid
14. Night on Earth
13. Sing Along Forever
12. Punks in Vegas
11. The Gold Song
10. Joe Lies
9. Anchors Aweigh
8. Say Anything
7. Lean on Sheena
6. Kids and Heroes
5. Gone
4. Quick Check Girl
3. Hopeless Romantic
2. Manthem
1. True Believers
Inspection Station
The Toilet Song
Folsom Prison Blues Despite the anticlimactic ending, I couldn't be happier with the past three nights. I was physically exhausted, sweaty, and had no voice. The Souls had played a fantastic bunch of songs, played with a fantastic bunch of bands, and are just goddamn fantastic in general. If you didn't go to even one of these shows, you missed out.

Some highlights:
  • The cards handed out at the end of the shows featuring the band in tacky holiday apparel
  • holiday-colored Bouncing Souls buttons thrown into the crowd every chance the band got
  • Jack Terricloth
  • "Shark Attack"
  • Being forced to hear "Born to Run" three nights in a row