Bowling For Soup@ Newcastle o2 Academy, October 18 2009

Bowling for Soup served up a rock treat with the help of a handful of friends and a sprinkle of Texan comedy.

As has always been the case with the humorous rockers, a guaranteed smile may as well be included in the admission price as the crowd never seems to stop grinning at their gigs.

The Leftovers kicked off the night followed by the brilliant MC Lars – a Beastie Boys style rapper with more than a twist of rock thrown in for good measure. But the best was yet to come with Zebrahead easily stealing the night’s undercard.

The Californian band pulled out security’s favourite, Wall Of Death, and a giant mosh pit evolved within in a set that threatened to overshadow the main act. The band also confirmed their own show in March – if tonight was anything to go by it will not be for the faint of heart.

But any nagging doubts that BFS would fail to match Zebrahead were blown away within minutes as a barnstorming rendition of the group’s first hit The Bitch Song kicked things off.

Anyone who has seen BFS before will know the band loves to talk to the crowd, even if the majority of banter seems tailored to a Stateside audience. If the jokes are strictly American, the crowd seemed even more so with lead singer Jaret Reddick easily goaded into chugging two pints of vodka.

Even though the band’s latest album, Sorry For Partyin’, hit shelves barely a week ago the majority of the set list featured its tracks and seemed well received by the wide variety of fans present.

It’s not just BFS jokes and one-liners that make the show something special but throw in some ‘pick-tricks’ by super-sized guitarist Chris Burney and the ‘one time only Bowling For Soup photo op’ and you have a recipe for success.

Tied together nicely with a punk/ska version of Katy Perry’s Hot And Cold and some of the bands better-known titles such as Girl All The Bad Guys Want and Punk-Rock 101, the playing time never seemed to drag.

And to wrap up the part stand-up comedy, part rock concert, the Texan quartet finished with 1985 to leave fans beaming all the way home.

Andy Spoors