Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com
The Bouncing Souls hardly need an introduction to any fan of punk music. The New Jersey quartet has been together for more than two decades and even came though Webster Hall in 2009 to celebrate their 20 years as a band. They’ve always brought superb smaller bands to open for them, especially in their more established years. And when they play Webster Hall on Saturday, they’ll do so with Cheap Girls, out of Lansing, Mich., and Garden State friends Static Radio. Cheap Girls play the type of no-frills rock with lots of melody—in the vein of the Replacements and ’90s bands like the Lemonheads and Superchunk—that has gotten them touring spots with the likes of Against Me! and the Bouncing Souls (above, playing “Kids and Heroes” for fearlessmusic.com). While 2008’s Find Me a Drink Home and 2009’s My Roaring 20s earned them notice from several critics, this year’s Giant Orange has already received great praise and will ensure this band doesn’t fly under the mainstream radar for long. The simple love song “Her and Cigarettes” is a fan favorite and the first single off Giant Orange, “Ruby,” is a wordy power pop gem. —Kirsten Housel
They’re from New Brunswick, N.J., but the Bouncing Souls hardly need an introduction. Playing socially conscious, lovelorn and heartfelt punk rock, the Souls (above, playing “True Believers”) came through Webster Hall last August to celebrate 20 years as a band. They hit Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday to play all the old favorites and hopefully a good selection of the new material released last year as part of the anniversary celebration. Expect thirtysomethings alongside teenagers belting out word after word.
The Great Explainer, out of Trenton, N.J., is a melodic punk band that released its debut EP on the Bouncing Souls’ label, Chunksaah Records, this summer. Such backing begs for simple comparisons, but the group’s take on hook-and-melody-laden songwriting and strong stage presence undoubtedly proves the Great Explainer’s talent. Defiance, Ohio, which takes its name from an actual location, plays acoustic, folkie punk rock via violin, cello and upright bass with a strong DIY current running throughout. Its most release, July’s Midwestern Minutes, is available on the band’s Web site as a free download. —Kirsten Housel
The Bouncing Souls are one of pop-punk’s strongest and still most relevant bands, even though they formed well before the genre ever made it into the mainstream. Celebrating 20 years together, the Souls are still going as strong as ever, as evidenced by last week’s two sold-out Webster Hall shows. They’ve released countless records, EPs and singles (including a new one for each month of 2009 in celebration of this 20th anniversary), and perhaps the only problem with that is they didn’t get to play as much from their older records as fans might have wanted. However, they did work their way through an impressive selection of their back catalog. In addition to playing a few of the newly released songs, the Souls also played such favorites as “Lean on Sheena,” “I Like Your Mom” and what could be considered their anthem, “True Believers,” throughout their 60-minute set. The show’s broad demographic is a testament to the band’s influence and staying power over the years, as beer-gutted 30 year olds danced next to high school kids barely old enough to drive. For the band and fans alike, and as the Souls song “Kids and Heroes” so eloquently puts it: In the end, it’s all a question of heart. —Kirsten Housel
Photos courtesy of Mina K
Lifetime first came through The Bowery Presents’ family of venues as headliners in July 2006. And now these punk legends are back, at Webster Hall, supporting their friends as the Bouncing Souls celebrate 20 years as a band. Originally formed in 1990 in New Brunswick, N.J., Lifetime made its name playing the town’s basements with like-minded punk and hardcore bands. Over the years, Lifetime broke from the pack, maturing musically and lyrically. While other bands kept playing hard and fast—featuring slightly more negative and cynical subject matter—Lifetime began infusing its music with melodies and singing about positive and personal themes, which led to the 1997 release of the seminal Jersey’s Best Dancers. But then Lifetime disbanded shortly after the album’s release. And in the heyday of melodic punk, that was it for one of the genre’s underground stars.
In late 2005, Lifetime agreed to a reunion at the metal festival Hellfest in exchange for money paid to the band members’ favorite charities. When Hellfest was cancelled, the band signed on to do three smaller headlining shows—two in Philadelphia and one in Asbury Park, N.J. Three more in California followed in January 2006. And soon after, Lifetime inked a deal to record a new disc with Decaydance, an imprint of Fueled by Ramen Records, owned by Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz. This fourth full-length, simply titled Lifetime, came out in February 2007. That Lifetime hasn’t toured much in support of this self-titled album ups the anticipation for Thursday’s opening set.
Check out Lifetime, above, playing “Cut the Tension” and then go see three of the East Coast’s most revered punk bands—the Bouncing Souls, Lifetime and None More Black—when they play Webster Hall on Thursday to celebrate the Souls’ 20th anniversary. —Kirsten Housel
(The Bouncing Souls also play Webster Hall on Friday.)
The Bouncing Souls began playing three-chord party music in New Jersey in the late ’80s. All these years (not to mention imitators) later, they’re still going strong, with two shows at Webster Hall on Thursday and Friday. Don’t have tickets? Then try to Grow a Pair of free ones to Thursday’s show from The House List. Just fill out the form below, listing your name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (the Bouncing Souls, 8/20) and a brief message telling us your favorite Bouncing Souls song and why. Eddie Bruiser, a Bouncing Souls fan from way back, will notify the winner by noon on Thursday, August 20th. Good luck.