Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall, February 4, 2005

Bowling For Soup is one of those enigmas in the music world that most critics just cannot seem to understand. This is a Texas band that plays some of the sappiest diet punk around and has found their panel in a woven quilt of lousy rock and terrible punk. And sure, their panel of quilt is used to tuck in pre-teens before 11pm, but does that make Bowling For Soup a bunch of bad guys? In some eyes, definitely, but for those that stayed up well past their bedtime to catch the entire Bowling For Soup set, no way.

 

After years of struggling to find their way in an industry flooded with their genre of music and hailing from a state known for country music or off-beaten alternative with the SXSW Festival and Austin City Limits, Bowling For Soup found a song written by the singer of SR-71 and turned it into a major radio success. 1985 has all the ingredients to make a great family dinner. It has the taste that kids can pallet and the nutrition that adults want. With the 2000 rock beats and the lyrics that moms want to reminisce about, Bowling For Soup have saturated the airwaves on every Top 40 station across the nation. But in reality, Bowling For Soup is nothing like that song.

 

For over a decade, BFS has been playing crappy clubs, driving in crappier vans and playing with even crappier bands to make their way to Newport, but most fans (and even a lot of critics) want to think this is a band that was driven by Jive records (home of Britney and Justin) to make it big. And maybe the label did have something to do with it, but after all, isn’t that what a major label is supposed to do?

 

The more appropriate question is how the crowd at the Newport reacted, and after a few hours of waiting for the ears to stop ringing from the pre-pubescent girlish squeals, it can definitely be said the band did okay. There is no doubt that BFS is not a critically acclaimed favorite of music journalists, but somehow it is easy to think that BFS is okay with that. This is a band that just wants to have fun with their music and their band. These are not artists looking to change the world with their songs, but rather have a good time and to make a living at doing what they love. And that energy is definitely available for anyone who wants it during their live show as guitarist Chris Burney spends as much time throwing his pick in the air and sticking his tongue out as actually strumming his strings (but maybe he still has all that caffeine in his system from his coffee shop). But singer/guitarist Jaret Reddick keeps enough poise to still give this band enough credibility to get by and a Grammy nomination from 2003 cannot hurt that credibility, either.

 

But maybe Reddick summed up the band best in their biography by saying, It was never like 'let's start a band and be real musicians,’" remembers Reddick. "We got together in '94 because we discovered beer. Beer is really fun! And what better way to get free beer than being in a band? You'll notice that's been a recurring theme for the band over the years." Which I sure is okay for the clubs since they cannot sell any of that beer at their shows since no one can eve vote, let alone drink!

Chris Burney
Jaret Reddick
Jaret Reddick
Chris Burney
Jaret Reddick
Erik Chandler