@ Newcastle O2 Academy, October 14 2012

This was the gig that nearly didn’t happen – a miscommunication between booking agents and band management left hundreds of the Bowling For Soup faithful in the cold for an hour while frantic techies worked inside to get the show started.

All that was soon forgiven and forgotten as the Texas rockers launched into their hour and a half long set, playing renditions of their most recent work in between outbursts of mostly funny and entirely entertaining chat. 

Frontman Jaret Reddick even persuaded the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to his support band’s drummer in Spanish – a scene unlikely to be repeated in Newcastle anytime soon. It was that sort of gig and at one point the likable singer cried out: “I wish I could kiss you each on the mouth.”

The boyish humour that comes with most Bowling For Soup songs was evident in the way the band went about playing both their newer songs, such as Let’s Go To The Pub and No Hablo Ingles and the old classics such as Girl All The Bad Guys Want.  A Really Cool Dance Song was accompanied by the sort of on-stage dancing that would put Lady Gaga to shame but didn’t look out of place being performed by four Americans running head first into middle age.

The One Big Happy tour isn’t just about Bowling for Soup and they proved that beyond any doubt when they played not one but two covers. The first, a rock classic. Fountains Of Wayne’s Stacey’s Mom and the slightly unusual Hit Me Baby One More Time by Britney Spears each brought on cheers and mass sing-a-longs by the Geordie faithful.

Finishing up the gig, Reddick let Patent Pending’s singer have a bash at the last chorus on Almost, which injected energy into the song – energy that was missing from an otherwise brilliant performance.

That summed up the night: plenty of humour, dad dancing and passion – especially from the formidable Chris Burney – but a performance that lacked the sheer manic energy that a younger band would have been able to provide.

Russell Hughes