Live Review: Bowling For Soup, Lacey, The Dollyrots and MC Lars – O2 Academy, Bristol – 15/02/2016

They said never again, but here we are standing at the O2 Academy in Bristol on the last night of a tour we were convinced we wouldn’t be blessed with. Pessimists believed it was a ploy to generate income, optimists were downright ecstatic it was actually happening. Bowling For Soup are officially back on the road and having a damn good time. Speaking before their sold out final show on the How About Another Round Tour, bassist Erik Chandler spoke candidly with us about the reasons they came back and ignoring the negatively surrounding it.

When you see Bowling For Soup you expect MC Lars, he is part and parcel of their tour, an addition which epitomises everything their shows are all about. They want you to be entertained and who better to fill the changeovers than self-confessed “post punk laptop rapper” MC Lars. He certainly provides a reason not to depart towards the foyer in-between sets, in particular when he treats us to a special version of Iggy Pop’s ‘The Passenger’. He leaves some unsure, some confused but for us he keeps the momentum of the show going and you can’t say fairer than that. (3.5/5)

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For one of Nottingham’s current finest Lacey, it’s a dream collaboration to be on tour with pop punk royalty. They have a lot to live up to and a stubborn crowd to compete with but as their set progresses, so does their confidence, they are more than capable of holding their own. Igniting our hearts with a cover of Blink 182’s ‘Dammit’, they display the kind of quality you’d expect to find in a band who have toured for over a decade. ‘Contender’ is a particular stand out closely followed by ‘Shadow’Lacey breeze through their debut album, you can’t help but feel you are in the presence of a band who fully deserve to be on the bill. (4/5)

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What could possibly impress a south-western crowd more than an American rendition of The Wurzles? Answer is, not a lot! It’s a brave move from the LA-based punk duo The Dollyrots, but they pull it off in style capturing the full attention of the Bristol crowd. With the “ooh arr ooh arr” echoing round the Academy and the strong Gwen Stefani vibe oozing from lead singer Kelly Ogden, it’s hard not to be drawn into the charming quality of The Dollyrots.

Reeling off songs from their 15-year career, they somehow feel fresh off the block. They have the same attitude and mentality you’d expect they had when they first hit the scene, ready and raring to put on the best show possible. Their energy is relentless and their enthusiasm ever present – they’re refreshing in a scene overrun with unoriginality. (4/5)

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It’s time for a party like no other – a pop punk party led by the rejuvenated Bowling For Soup, and of course no party is complete without the two big Bs… banter and booze, served with a helping of Jared Reddick’s self-deprecating humour. Cementing their place within punk royalty, Bowling For Soup don’t hold back in ensuring we walk away from their show having felt like we had been to one of the most epic parties of all time. Song after song is met with unwavering enthusiasm through the likes of ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’ and ‘1985’, even allowing guest vocalists and the odd drink break to help them along. They’ve proved why they’re back, although there’s really no need. They provide a source of distraction in a world of chaos, it just wouldn’t be right if they disappeared again. (5/5)


Words by Georgie Robbins (@GeorgieJourno). Photos by Jade Till and taken at O2 Academy, Leeds on 03/02/16


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