A Look Back At Bowling For Soup In Cape Town
If you were 16 years old when Bowling for Soup first formed in 1994, it means that you are now 40. That’s 24 years of high-energy pop-punk from the Texan group who has countless hits, albums and successful tours behind their name.
I never thought the group would make it to our shores, and back in 2013 they even announced that they were going to do a final tour. But, much to many South African fans’ surprise, they announced not one, but four shows at two venues and two festivals in our country this year.
I thought it was an interesting choice to have the Cape Town-leg of their South African tour at Hillcrest Quarry, but as soon as the carefully laid out venue, with a large seating area and some shelter from the dribble, filled up with small groups of people, the atmosphere was set.
Shortly after opening bands Grassy Spark and The Rudimentals got half the crowd on their feet, Bowling for Soup appeared on stage to an intimate, but very eager audience. Frontman, Jaret Reddick wasted no time with: “I know you are all probably thinking: Wow he got fat! But let me tell you the real story! I ate the vocalist of Bowling for Soup, and tonight I’m going to shit out his songs!” And from there the party was on. The witty jokes came one after the other and the vodka flowed between the band members. They basically created their very own pub on stage with a small group of fans joining them stage-right behind a makeshift bar counter.
The band members are now all in their 40s, but they are still very much boys at heart. They are quick-witted with high school jokes about boobs, ass and blow jobs, but it’s okay because we’re in the Bowling for Soup Pub and their songs take us all back to school anyway.
Jokes and clever stories aside, the guys are really good live. The songs might not be the most sophisticated, but it damn well sounds just like the albums.
They plough through their hits, including ‘High School Never Ends’ and “the greatest song ever”, according to Jaret; ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’, as well as their most famous cover, ‘1985’, between some ridiculously funny moments, including their infamous “beer-enhanced photo opportunity” and a snippet of ‘Today Is Gonna Be A Great Day’ from Disney’s Phineas & Ferb. Later, they also invite a very keen girl from the crowd to karaoke on ‘Punk Rock 101’.
Over the years, the band has always made light of the fact that they love that people think they are the ones behind the hit ‘Stacey’s mom’ and always manage to squeeze this into the set. And so they did too with the Cape Town crowd loving every second of it.
The night was a success. I’m sure many of the older fans that pitched up, still holding on to their emo-roots, haven’t had a such a good time in ages.
Perhaps longevity and consistency is the key to excellence. I mean, they’re no Guns ‘n Roses, but they do what they do damn well.