The Bouncing Souls and The Menzingers Nile Theater Sunday, July 8, 2012
If you've seen The Bouncing Souls before, you know what to expect. Not a lot has changed over the 10 years or so I've been watching the band perform, aside from the obvious (different lineups and new albums). Otherwise, The Bouncing Souls always guarantee an energetic good time filled with sing-alongs and a little moshing.
The Bouncing Souls could very well exist in a vacuum. Frontman Greg Attonito still looks dapper in his button-down shirt, while bassist Bryan Kienlen still rocks a backwards hat. Remarkably, unlike most bands that have been around as long, as well as some of the fans, The Bouncing Souls have not grown fat or bald. The band has consistently produced fast paced punk that deals with relationships, pizza, John Hughes movies, and East Coast pride for the past nine albums.
The band played eight of the 10 songs from its latest album, Comet, which mostly earned lukewarm reactions. "Baptized" was an exception, and could very well become a permanent fixture on The Bouncing Souls' future setlists. The same could apply to "Static," though it's hard to tell since the audience just seemed stoked to see the band take the stage.
The band talked about their previous show at the Nile "sometime in the early 1900s," according to Kienlen. "It's good to see there's still shows going on here," he added.
After "Fast Times," fans started shouting a slew of requests, like "We Want Fun," "Night Train," and "Freebird," while others just started singing "Ole" louder and louder. Attonito put a stop to it by saying, "Okay, who said 'Freebird?' We're not taking requests, anyone who's seen us more than once knows we do, but not tonight."
Kienlen summed up the majority of the crowd's feelings best by responding with, "you dick." The band stuck with the no requests policy, but the setlist was pretty solid, so it wasn't a big deal unless you had your heart set on hearing "Ole," "I Like Your Mom," or "Apartment 5F."
From here on, the show reached its peak, with the band tearing through "ECFU," "Cracked," and "Hopeless Romantic" with minimal stage banter. The televisions on stage showed footage of hearts, The Bouncing Souls heart/anchor logo, CBGB's and Pretty in Pink-- watching Ducky dance around made "Argyle" that much more entertaining.
"True Believers" really got the crowd going--and I'm pretty sure a guy got thrown out because of it. The circle pit continued to grow with "Kate is Great," and a fight apparently broke out. "If you love fighting, take it outside," said Attonito, "We're at a fucking punk rock show, so take it easy." The crowd eventually mellowed out for "Comet," as the band took its encore break.
It would have been a blast to hear "Kate Is Great" and "True Believers" as encore songs, but the band returned with nine more songs. Attonito said "Late Bloomer" was about Kate, the band's tour manager, whom he said has a lot to do with the band's longevity.
"Gone" seemed like a logical end for the show (since the band has closed with it many, many times in the past), but Attonito picked up an acoustic guitar for "Ship in a Bottle," the last track on Comet.
I've had The Menzingers recommended to me many times, but for some reason, I could never quite get into them. I didn't understand why, especially since the band has been compared to some of my all-time favorite bands, The Gaslight Anthem and The Lawrence Arms (I hear some Loved Ones in there, too). I enjoy On the Impossible Past, but I wasn't grabbed by the band like everyone else seemed to be.
So, what's missing here? Maybe I could figure it out by seeing the band live. Yep, that was all I needed. I was reminded of my first time seeing The Lawrence Arms, where I was left thinking, "Wow, who are these guys? They are really good."
As the band opened with "Good Things," most fans near the stage went nuts and sang along, clapping along to the beginning of "I Was Born." I immediately understood why the audience was so into it: The Menzingers are a blast to see live. All four members had a great stage presence and never seemed to stay in one place for long. The lyrics all tell vivid stories, whether it's about a waitress you drunkenly did the dishes with, or knowing you're going to fuck something up, and you fucking know it.
Singer/guitarist Tom May asked if anyone saw the band at The Underground last summer. All of those folks rocking out in the front cheered, and May dedicated what is arguably the band's best song to them, "Ava House."
Last Night: The Bouncing Souls and The Menzingers at Nile Theater.
Personal Bias: I have fond memories of The Bouncing Souls' 2004 "True Bromance" tour with Hot Water Music. I'm kicking myself for not buying a shirt.
Better Than: Warped Tour as it is now.
The Crowd: Lots of guys in band shirts.
Random Notebook Dump: I'm also kicking myself for not recording "Ava House."
Setlists and more videos on page three.Bouncing Souls Setlist:
Static Kids and Heroes Sing Along Forever Here We Go Infidel Midnight Mile The Something Special Lifetime Fast Times That Song ECFU Highway Kings Cracked Hopeless Romantic Coin Toss Girl Argyle True Believers Kate is Great Comet Baptized Private Radio Lean on Sheena In Sleep Say Anything Late Bloomer The Freaks, Nerds, & Romantics Gone Ship in a Bottle
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Menzingers Setlist: Good Things I Was Born I Can't Seem Burn After Writing Irish Goodbyes Ava House Mexican Guitars Who's Your Partner Nice Things Home Outgrown Casey The Obituaries