Review: Bowling For Soup at O2 Guildhall, Southampton


Overall, a nostalgic night that may have entertained the hardcore fans but left new listeners wanting more.

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Before the show had even started on Friday 30th November, groups of lads were drunk, and couples were scattered around the O2 Guildhall, flirting and making out while they waited for the one and only Bowling For Soup to rock up. Looking around, you could tell who were fans (most likely in band merch) that grew up listening to Bowling For Soup when the music was in date, who the millennials were that had listened to them during their ‘phase’ – yep, that phase – and who had never heard of them and were simply tagging along.

Bowling For Soup are the type of band that you either know you love, or you know of them but wouldn’t pay attention to them. The show was kind of what you’d expect from a group of men aged 40+ singing about high school and drinking beer in between songs. A lot of the conversations in between performances revolved around farting, and probably wouldn’t impress you if you weren’t already a huge fan.

But, that’s why you go. They’ve been around for so long and you love what you know and grew up on. For some, they’re a comforting kind of band, to take you back to the glory days (which was what a lot of the older couples did when the band played ‘Almost’). Their music is like a throwback to the days when it was acceptable to openly listen to punk rock music, and to the days of Phineas and Ferb. There were a lot of confused faces when BFS performed the one-minute or so theme song, but the millennials went mad and absolutely loved it!

When I say I’m a BFS fan, I mean I love the five songs that everyone knows, and I bopped along to the songs I didn’t know pretending that I was a true fan. Like the absolutely wasted guy in front of me, who was spilling his drink, falling around, but truly having the time of his life. BFS are fully aware of this too. They gave us exactly what we wanted, from ‘High School Never Ends’ and ‘The Girl All The Bad Guys Want’ to ‘1985’. They admitted it – they saved ‘1985’ until the very end because, as they said, we’d have no reason to stay any longer if they’d played that absolute banger any earlier. There was no need for an encore, because they’d given us everything that we’d all wanted.

At one point, they gave the audience the chance to pass down Chinese Whispers of anything that we wanted to say. The whisper that first made it to the stage was “play ‘Stacey’s Mom’”. They responded by pretending to be offended by the fact that we wanted them to a perform a song that has been mistaken for theirs since its release. Nonetheless, the cover song is in their top 5 listened-to songs on Spotify, and after their humorous and self-depreciating rant, they played it and we loved it!

Of course, we can’t forget that the current tour is the band’s Almost Christmas run. The red backdrop on the stage was made up of cartoon depictions of themselves with oversized heads, all wearing festive hats, and a little Christmas tree was tucked into one of the stage corners. At one point, a member of the audience was chosen to turn on the Christmas trees. Said person was one of the drunk guys near me, dressed up in a full Scooby Doo outfit (that’s where we’ve been going wrong every time – fancy dress is a must if you want to be noticed!) The same group of lads were facetiming the entirety of the show to the one mate who couldn’t make it to the concert. Scooby Doo switched on the lights, tried to do an impression, and then BFS played their rendition of the twelve days of Christmas, ‘Corner Store On Christmas’, which no one knew. Again, they knew this, and only requested that we counted down at the start of each line.

Towards the end of the show, the band performed with the supporting acts, Patent Pending and Not Ur Girlfrenz. They brought these bands out like they’d all known each other for years, and it was really entertaining and enjoyable to watch all three groups of musicians have an amazing time on stage, whilst we danced and sang along in the audience.

Bowling For Soup finished the show by throwing their guitar picks (which they’d been effortlessly doing tricks with throughout the show like it was nothing) into the crowd, finishing their beer, and casually exiting the stage. The show was funny and entertaining, and an overall great time!

Watch their classic music video for ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’ below.


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English student, avid reader and fitness enthusiast!

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