Back in 2013, Bowling For Soup announced details of their final UK tour. It looked as if we had seen our ‘last rock show’ from the Texan pop punk outfit.

However, a change of heart from the band sees them stating it was farewell rather than goodbye. Thankfully, the Bowling For Soup boys are back on British soil for another round so to speak. On arrival at the venue, the queue to enter the O2 Academy in Newcastle wraps around the entire block. Clearly, the anticipation for the return of the band is high.

Nottingham-based five-piece Lacey open the show, and they have brought their supporters with them in tow who are in fine voice. Lacey rocked their way through tracks from their latest album, Under The Brightest Lights, and seemed to win some new fans in the process.

MC Lars got the party underway and crowd participation was very much the name of the game. Lars gave a fantastic display of his freestyle skills. He makes his way along the front of the stage rapping about whatever was presented to him by members of the crowd, much to their amusement. He also brought an unsuspecting, yet lucky fan up onstage to assist on vocals during “Mr Raven” and entertained throughout the whole evening.

LA-based pop punk trio The Dollyrots are back in the UK following the recent release of their new EP, Mama’s Gonna Knock You Out. The band are all too familiar with the North East having played a show previously in Gateshead, as well as developing a fondness for one of the city’s most famous exports, Newcastle Brown Ale. The Dollyrots delivered an energetic set with tracks like “Satellite,” “Jackie Chan,” and “Because I’m Awesome” going down a treat. The band left the Geordie crowd more than warmed up for the mighty Bowling For Soup.

Even though it is a school night, the fans pack the O2 Academy to capacity. As Bowling For Soup enters the room, their rather homely stage set looks like an old beer tavern. There is a fully functional corner bar occupied by fans and VIPs and a dart board adorning the wall. Of course, the band takes the opportunity to use the bar throughout the show.

Without a new studio album to promote, Bowling For Soup’s show tonight is a greatest hits set. The crowd hangs on every word of fan favourites like “Punk Rock 101,” “1985,” and “Stacy’s Mom.” They slow down proceedings with a beautiful rendition of “Turbulence.”

“Pop punk’s not dead motherfuckers,” declares frontman Jaret Reddick before a crowd-pleasing medley of Blink 182’s “All The Small Things,” Green Day’s “Basket Case,” and Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle.” The Newcastle crowd would seem to agree. Reddick later implies that the band is getting too old, having passed on the torch to bands like All Time Low.

Kelly Ogden from The Dollyrots joins Bowling For Soup onstage for the brilliant “Love Ya, Love Ya, Love Ya,” and a first airing of the track live in England. As the band launch into “High School Never Ends,” they insist this won’t be the last time we see them. Let’s hope they keep their promise.

After over twenty years together, Bowling For Soup has still got it. Let’s raise a glass to the next twenty years. Cheers; we look forward to another round!

Bowling For Soup
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The Dollyrots
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MC Lars
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About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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