Bowling for Soup take on Less Than Jake for a punk-rock showdown!


You may be forgiven for mistakenly thinking Bowling for Soup were no longer touring after several ‘end of the road’ tours, but the Texans can’t hang up their instruments without wanting a little more. This time they return to the UK once again to bring a fun show of pop-punk fun filled to the brim, and to make it even more satisfying they’ve brought along none other than Gainesville’s very own Less Than Jake to add to the mixer for a satisfying cocktail of chaotic alternative pop/punk rock.

Before Bowling for Soup face the Leeds crowd, a sold-out Refectory is greeted with Less Than Jake (8) for an explosive set of the Florida groups best tracks in their top form. Trumpets and guitars blast out from the speakers deafeningly loud to the sound of ‘Last One Out of Liberty City’ and within seconds the room is thrown into a fast-paced frenzy to set the tone of the set.

Their super hit ‘All My best Friends Are metalheads’ is thrown into the set early rewarding those who got here in a timely manner, and as ever the rousing and uplifting track goes down an absolute treat. It’s not the largest of stages LTJ have graced, but they manage to navigate around it with great energy without knocking each other out in the process as they fly through a bouncing set.

Less Than Jake are technically co headlining on this head-to-head tour, but they’re here to steal the show with the colourful stage presence and blasts of pyrotechnics with CO2 canons, giant wacky waving inflatables, and even some leaf blowers blasting toilet roll around covering everyone down at the front leaving them looking like moshing mummies. ‘Gainesville Rock City’ closes a thirteen-track set with great intent as the trumpets blow and riffs emerge for one final mosh. You couldn’t ask for a better band to kick off the show and get stuck in, and now Bowling for Soup have some following up to do prove their worth as the set headliners tonight!

With that, Bowling for Soup (7.5) don’t quite burst onto stage with as much energy as Less Than Jake, as they wander out without much urgency to their spots after a countdown intro chanting their name. The relaxed and laid-back nature of the Texans shouldn’t be read into too much however, as once the first chord is strummed the pop-punks burst into life with their opener ‘Emily’ and frontman Jaret Reddick leads the way front and centre with his contagious character.

Bowling For Soup’s sets may be filled with driven pop-punk, but you always get more than that with their hilarious nature and it’s almost part comedy show, as the band clown around between songs poking fun at each other and the crowd for some light-hearted laughs. Jaret couldn’t hold himself together during ‘My Wena’ when he noticed a crowd surfer get dropped by about 4 security guards at the barrier (he was fine) and burst out laughing mid song before explaining what happened to everyone as the song concluded.

Guitarist Chris Burney looked a little sheepish, as he’s usually balancing guitars on his head, flicking picks and dancing around, but it transpires he was throwing up before he took the stage so understandably, he wasn’t quite himself. However, he was shredding through the riffs without any issues, and it wasn’t too clear if he was concentrating on that or not blowing chunks in front of the crowd, but he managed to keep the show spew free to the delight of everyone involved!

Stage left however bassist Rob Felicetti couldn’t be kept still, as he bounced around the stage pulling faces and swinging himself around to the music, whilst drummer Gary Wiseman kept himself quiet and busy hidden away at the back watching on as the chaos unveiled.

Amid the chaos a ‘Collin the Caterpillar’ causes confusion with the band as the crowd start chanting his name, as the cake is delivered to stage for a member of the crews birthday. We’re even treated to BFS’s ‘photo opportunity’ as they pause mid song, stand together and pose for the crowd as camera phones flood the room capturing the many faces of the band before they fly back into the set. And to top things off there is also a BFS themed raffle as Jaret announces the winner of a custom signed BFS guitar for a lucky member of the crowd.

Bowling For Soup’s 14 strong song set was peppered with their greatest hits throughout keeping everyone on their toes, and it includes the likes of the highly driven ‘Punk Rock 101’, the relatable ‘Highschool Never Ends’ and everyone’s favourite ‘Girl All the Bad Guys Want’. The show filled with daft comedy, feel good pop-punk and banter with the crowd passes incredibly quickly as we thoroughly enjoy a very custom fit set from BFS in their trademark humorous approach.

After one of the most obvious encores ever, as the band sit centre of the stage for a drinks break, ‘1985’ closes out the night with everyone signing along for one last time leaving smiles on their faces as they head home after a joyful night of pop-punk.

The Bowling for Soup experience will return in the summer when they tackle Download Festival, and if you’re heading there, you should make a special effort to add them to your day!

Check out the full set of Live photos of LESS THAN JAKE HERE, and also BOWLING FOR SOUP HERE!


Photo Credit: © Danny Peart Photography 2024
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Danny Peart
Danny Peart
Editor / Live Music Photographer / Journalist at Soundcheck-Live

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