Bowling For Soup @Newcastle O2 Academy, February 11 2020

Love In An Elevator or Stairway To Heaven? Don’t Wait On The Stairs or Crowded Elevator?

There’s plenty of quirks to the O2 Academy in Newcastle. A cinema and a bingo hall in its youth, the building has even hosted The Beatles.

But a new feature may soon have bands thinking twice about using the venue’s facilities as Bowling For Soup found themselves trapped in the Academy’s lift just before doors were due to open.

Last year, Enter Shikari missed their own after party after becoming stuck in the very same lift for over an hour before being rescued by firefighters.

Bowling For Soup may have been left a little shaken but there band still managed an elevating performance that proved they are still very much on the up.

Supported by the youthful exuberance of Not Ur Girlfrenz and the experience of Canadian rockers Simple Plan, the venue was packed out to capacity.

A trio of teen girls, Not Ur Girlfrenz may be young, but the confidence on display in front of a growing crowd was nothing short of impressive. Original songs mixed with covers of My Chemical Romance and Spice Girls, evidence enough that these Dallas-based rockers have a huge future.

Simple Plan have arguably never fully broken through to mainstream consciousness but try telling that to the huge portion of the crowd that sung every word of every track. Giant beach balls and crowd surfing thawed out a growing audience that suffered a huge wait to gain entry.

Arriving on stage to their familiar entrance song, BFS launched straight into Suckerpunch followed by a raft of stories about ‘sharting’. Highbrow this is not, but there are few bands that come remotely close to level of audience interaction as Jaret and Co. display each night. 

An impromptu ‘comedy jam’ or a band photo opportunity half way through tracks may seem jarring to some, but BFS have long since made their gigs more than just an endless cycle live versions of their hits. 

Anyone can sit at home or on their work commute and listen to whole back catalogues on Spotify. But the opportunity to share stories, jokes and be covered in confetti is an experience the proud Texans relish and eagerly deliver to their loyal fans. 

Latest track and ode to WWE Superstar, Alexa Bliss, received only its second live airing: another rock and wrestling connection gratefully lapped up here at ROR headquarters. 

The rest of the setlist was comprised of the band’s more popular tracks found littered throughout a 26-year history together. Bitch Song, Girl All The Bad Guys Want, 1985 and No Hablo Ingles all received huge ovations. 

With their entire UK tour sold out, this is a band lovin’ it up till they hit the ground. Just don’t expect that to happen anytime soon…

Andrew Spoors