The One Big Happy Tour is exactly that – the bands are happy, the music is happy and the fans are happy. Leave your skinny jeans and your side-swept fringes at the door, emo kids. The One Big Happy Tour is a start-to-finish fun-fest, and we loved every second of it.
Before the show we got to hang out with The Dollyrots, who are so much fun. We had a chat about their music, what it’s like touring with Bowling For Soup and they were happy for us to extend their vocabulary with our rude/rude sounding British slang words (click here to read the interview). We also caught up with Bowling For Soup bassist, the handsome Erik Chandler, who chatted with us about the differences between the UK and the US, and whether or not BFS will be calling it quits anytime soon (click here to read that interview – coming soon).
On to the show. First up we had Patent Pending who, forgive us for gushing, just thoroughly impressed us in all ways possible. Just like Bowling For Soup, Patent Pending play our favourite brand of punk-rock, and their performances are packed with the energy of a nuclear explosion – maybe even more – I have never seen a band move so much in my life. Their energy and enthusiasm isn’t at all annoying, they just look like they’re having so much fun and it rubs off on the audience. I don’t think I could fault Patent Pending’s performance – their songs are catchy, they’re funny, they have bags of stage presence… I especially like front-man Joe Ragosta’s impression of Jaret Reddick, and the story he tells of how the Justin Bieber inspired dance routine in the middle of Anti-Everything came to be. The dance routine itself is a sight to behold, seeing four thoroughly punk-looking dudes busting out Bieber-esque moves, while still holding their instruments – it’s just so funny. You can check out a YouTube video we found of the routine, below.
It’s worth mentioning what a fantastic front-man Joe is, and what a sweetheart too.
Next up we had The Dollyrots, a female-fronted punk-rock band based in LA, who were braving our crappy British October weather by (not literally) chilling out in their oven-like dressing room. We enjoyed our chat with Kelly Ogden, Luis Cabezas and their drummer James Carman. We were especially delighted that Kelly found a use for the slang we taught them during their set, which you can check out in the video, below.
Keeping up the One Big Happy theme, The Dollyrots did not disappoint, putting in an energetic performance (and you know it was energetic if, even after watching Patent Pending immediately before, it still seemed energy-packed), and their infectious songs are even more enjoyable live. Another reason we loved their set, they have just the right amount of banter with the audience to make the show feel intimate – despite playing in front of a full house.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Bowling For Soup are my absolute favourite band to see live (and yes, I’ve also said that before, but I’m saying it again because it’s true, dammit). To put it simply, you don’t feel like you have handed over money for a ticket, and like you’re standing in a room with hundreds of other people watching a carefully rehearsed set with carefully scripted chatting between songs. You feel like Jaret Reddick, Chris Burney, Erik Chandler and Gary Wiseman came to your house, knocked on your door, handed you an invitation written in their own blood and begged you specifically to attend their show. You feel like you’re getting a tailor-made show every time, like you’re just hanging out with your mates’ band and whatever happens, happens. While I’m sure a lot of planning and thought has gone into their set, things just flow so nicely and so naturally that you feel like they’re playing the songs they know you want to hear, and everyone – band, crew and crowd – gets on and chats like they’re old pals, but that’s what you want from a show, you don’t want a bunch of grumps reluctantly banging out a few of their hits because they need the money from the ticket sales, you want to feel special and that’s exactly what Bowling For Soup (and Patent Pending and The Dollyrots) make you feel.
BFS delighted the crowd with a selection of their greatest hits to date – and we were happy to see stolen hit Stacy’s Mom performed too (video below). You know, Bowling For Soup have been around for eighteen years now, but still they perform every song with the enthusiasm of an excitable young bang who have just hit the big time, and yet with the skill and professionalism of legends – not bad for a band getting hammered on a luminous pink drink dubbed the Delicious Gary every night.
Their stage presence and banter was, as always, fantastic and hilarious respectively. They’ve got moves, they tease each other in a bromancey way, they invite their support bands on stage to get involved and I’ve never seen so many plectrums flying around (see video below).
We just love how natural the sequence of events feels – like when Jaret climbed off the stage during A Really Cool Dance Song. He jumped off with no real regard for how he was going to get back up (it was a pretty high stage) and so their tour manager had to follow him, usher him through the audience and then navigate the labyrinth that is the backstage area of the O2 Academy Leeds to get him back on the stage – all while he was still talking through the microphone. Orchestrated genius or a hilarious but genuine accident? Who cares?
We particularly loved the audience participation at their Leeds date. I can’t tell you the last time I attended a gig in the county of Yorkshire where someone didn’t start a ‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire’ chant – gigs ranging from Bowling For Soup to One Direction. Now 1D have band members that hail from Yorkshire, so they get it, but poor BFS thought for a little while that people were chanting ‘You’re shit, you’re shit, you’re shit’ – with that cleared up, the band decided to develop a whole new chant for the sexually impressive folk of Yorkshire, paying tribute to our superior sex organs (you can check that out in the video below).
At the end of the evening you had one big happy crowd, all leaving with smiles on their faces. They came, they danced, they drank and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that they’re not all counting down the days until Bowling For Soup come back to the UK next year – I know I am.