Bouncing Souls & Sick of it All at Terminal 5
Bouncing Souls, Sick of it All, Grey Area
September 19, 2008
I’ve seen the Bouncing Souls a couple a dozen times since 1994 and it’s always been kind of hit or miss. Some times they rock, and sometimes they just kind of stand there and play their instruments. Last night at Terminal 5 in New York, they kicked my ass all over the theater.
First up was Grey Area. I assumed they would be a metal-core act since they were on Victory, but boy I was wrong. The band consists of most of the remnants of Warzone with a pinch of No Redeeming Social Values and Crown of Thornz, but fronted by Ernie from Black Train Jack. That said, the band sounds nothing like the heavier bands in their pedigree and pretty much rock just like BTJ in their heyday. Really enjoyable power punk songs with a ton of melody. Good to see these guys are still floating around.
Hardcore stalwarts Sick of it All were up next and I didn’t know what to expect. I haven’t seen the band perform live in years and the largest place I think I’ve seem them play was the Roxy. The cavernous Terminal 5 just seemed a bit too big for a band known for their pulverizing, intimate hardcore sets. Again, I was wrong. The band cranked out a maddening hour long set consisting of their greatest tracks and a handful of new tunes that I must check out on CD. Singer Lou Koller took center stage and tore through “Scratch the Surface,” “Clobberin’ Time,” and “Friends Like You” as fans nearly caused a riot slamming into each other.
The band really put on a headlining caliber set, mixing up their usual list of songs with new tracks and some favorites that I haven’t heard in years. Craig and Pete still stomp around stage, jumping and swinging their battle axes while Armand pounds out these brutal beats while looking ridiculously happy to be on stage. Good to see Lou recovered from his back injury. He kept the jokes running between songs, chastising the crowd for not screaming loud enough and pondering why German fans never smile, but are the craziest fans in the world.
As I said in the intro, The Bouncing Souls can gave bad days and great days. This was one of those great days. Greg ran around stage like a wind-up car, singing classics like “I Like Your Mom” and “Here We Go” while the largely female audience screamed in unison. The rest of the band was on point, pitch perfect on every song, and they just looked like they were having a blast. At one point, Greg launched into the crowd, as waves of crowd surfing fans attempted to get within feet of the mic to sing along. Greg didn’t mind a bit, even as security was ready to kill him for making their lives difficult.
I must of blinked and The Bouncing Souls–the perennial opening act–have become the biggest punk band in the world with zero MTV exposure or radio play. You can’t beat that. Their songs are still pretty much the same, they’ve learned to play their instruments, and the crowd still adores them. Here’s to another 20 years of The Souls.