Bowling For Soup has a long relationship with the North East of England. This evening’s show at the O2 Academy Newcastle was the first date on the band’s current run to sell out.

Although this may seem like a strong start to the tour, this evening didn’t exactly start as planned with the group getting stuck in the lift of the O2 Academy Newcastle. However, those witty BFS boys made light-hearted fun out of the situation by posting on their social media ‘We’re stuck in the elevator, Chris has farted and we are slowly passing out’.

Once this momentary mishap was underway it was back to business as usual, with a triple bill of transatlantic talent being the order of the day. This run included appearances by Canadian special guests Simple Plan and hotly tipped Texan trio Not Ur Girlfrenz. With three bands on the bill, and over four hours of live music the fans this evening got a lot of bang for their buck.

Throughout this run, BFS has spared no expense, with an arena production that included pyro, smoke cannons, ticker tape and video screens at the rear. The latter of which featured a mix of both live footage and also videos from throughout the band’s career.

The show kicked off with a bang, as BFS started things off to the sounds of ‘Suckerpunch’, whilst the anthemic ‘High School Never Ends’ was certainly welcome early in the set.

Reddick very quickly learns that by mentioning rival cities, that the North East fans will boo accordingly. And this becomes a constant theme throughout the night. Jaret is incredibly witty and keeps the Geordies both musically enlightened as well as entertained throughout the show. If the band ever decides that they are looking for a change from performing music, then a career in stand up comedy certainly beckons. The ‘BFS Comedy Jam’ is a testament to this. I’m sure that the call from Netflix to do a BFS comedy special is just around the corner.

BFS perform their new song, a homage to WWE’s ‘Alexa Bliss’ for only the second time ever and it certainly hits the spot. Whilst old favourites such as ‘The Bitch Song’ and ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’ certainly please the old school pop-punks in the audience early in the set.

The group slow things down momentarily with the poignant power ballad ‘When We Die’ before BFS grapple with a raft of classic rock songs in the shape of AC/DC’s ‘Shoot To Kill’ featuring new boy Rob on vocals and Motley Crue’s ‘Kickstart My Heart’. At a BFS show, you’ve got to expect the unexpected, and tonight that is certainly the case.

Jaret brings to the forefront the issue of mental health before their take on Blue October’s ‘HRSA’ – this being a song that is very close to the band’s heart. Whilst from here on out it’s all about the big hitters. The frantic ‘Punk Rock 101’ closing out the main set.

Now playing well after the curfew, it feels like the band would play all night. Nobody is leaving here feeling short-changed. A quick performance of ‘Phineas’, followed by hit single ‘1985’ takes us towards the finish line. Reddick even takes the opportunity to bring a lucky fan up to jam on the latter. However, it is the band’s very own ‘Really Cool Dance’ song that brings the night to a close.

This show on Tyneside is the second date of the quartet’s British jaunt. And although our small island has been battered by Storm Ciara this week at least the reception showed by the band’s loyal UK fans has been warm – unlike the weather. Every date of this tour is a complete sell-out. This being a testament of the band’s staying power over all of these years.

Simple Plan raised the bar very high early in the evening with a lively set. A rather energetic airing of ‘Jump’, along with ‘Welcome To Life’ and ‘Shut Up’ got the crowd moving. Whilst CO2 cannons at the front of the stage gave an explosive edge to ‘Boom!’. This being an effective prop to the band’s high octane setlist.

Having experienced four seasons in one day with rain, snow, sleet and wind battering the North East this afternoon, the tropical sounds of ‘Summer Paradise’ are most welcome. Although they may be wishful thinking for now.

A nostalgic rendition of the band’s first since ‘I’m Just A Kid’ really hits the spot, and comes complete with crowd surfing from drummer Chuck Comeau, who truly gets into the spirit of the evening. And as cell phone lights illuminate the room, tonight’s set is nothing short of ‘Perfect’.

US-based power trio Not Ur Girlfrienz made their mark early in the evening. The band has been gaining a rapidly rising reputation, and even recently became the youngest band to perform on the Van’s Warped Tour. This being a sign of both their talent and ambition. This run of shows with BFS marks the group’s second time in the UK.

Now the group may well be in their teenage years, but don’t let their age fool you. The group has talent beyond their years. Drummer Maren Alford has become a hit on YouTube with her incredible drum covers. And tonight she showcases her skills during the group’s first show in Newcastle from her prominent position centre stage. Whilst lead singer Liv Haynes confidently fronts the band throughout.

With the recent news of a reunion of My Chemical Romance, the band showcase their take of ‘I’m Not Ok’, which is a highlight mid-set. Whilst the harmonious ballad ‘Somehow’ showcases the variety within their repertoire. ‘Never Stop’ is packed full of catchy hooks and crunchy riffs. Whilst the trio close out their main set with a nod to Brit girl group the Spice Girls. This covering illustrating that they are anything but a ’Wannabe’. A bright future beckons for this talented trio.

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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