Review by Fran Prince with Photography by Rob Hadley

If you’re a fan of bargains, then you can get two for one on music and stand up comedy if you purchase a ticket to the incredibly funny Texas quartet, Bowling For Soup who brought back their Get Happy Tour to Birmingham’s O2 Academy on Tuesday night.


It is pretty apt that their appearance matches up to their name, Bowling – about the only sport these guys have ever took part in and to top it off they clearly enjoy a good Soup… or two, or three. Nevertheless, as much as these guys pull off the energy of a caterpillar on stage, the energy they provide to the crowd is like the Duracell bunny on acid.

Re-gaining their blast from the past fan base the never-grew-up foursome treated us to an entire performance of fame-making debut album Drunk Enough To Dance in celebration of its 15th year.


An eclectic crowd of late twenty to forty somethings erupted into a “Hey Hey, Bowling For Soup” chant that brought the band promptly to the stage as track I Don’t Want To Rock started off the set list.

Moving on to second song Emily, the three up front stood before a pop up bar set up complete with tender and groupies who certainly seemed intrigued in the copious amounts of shots and pints on offer for the band and themselves.



Kicking us into fits of giggles, lead Jaret Reddick addressed the blatant weight acquired by the band since we last saw them, Reddick claimed: “If I fall over don’t try and catch me, I will LITERALLY squash you!” then went on to mickey take us Brits on our love for Pancake Day, claiming “Every day is fucking pancake day for me!” which inevitably had the audience bowling over in laughter.

Girl All the Bad Guys Want brought the pyrotechnics out early with a jet of smoke that spurred the audience into a repetitive jumping motion and transported me to that of a noughties teen house party when American punk-rock was at its greatest.



Reddick, Chris Burney, Erik Chandler and Gary Wiseman bantered about bribing groupies to pretend to ‘like’ the band, made reference to Burney’s age stating he uses cheat sheets to remind him of the songs and even hinted at Chandler living up to the not so funny Chandler from FRIENDS. Yes, these boys are in their “forties and fat” – yet another one liner from Reddick.

Life after Lisa throws me back to the peak of American alt-rock and a resounding playlist of Sum 41 Blink 182 and Fountains of Wayne seems to slap me in the face at this gig.



The crowd imitated the bands style, middle aged men featured shaved heads and long grey beards, girls dyed their locks red and other wore spiky Mohawk’s almost in compliment to their members of the band.

Since announcing a countdown to everybody’s favourite, 1985, the band teased the audience with a short from the theme song to Disney’s Phineas and Ferb.


Somewhere along the way the crowd find themselves waving at the band and still this witty four manage to find a comedic turn as Burney claims: “The Queen’s wave is like you’re playing with someone’s balls…” and just like that snippet of immaturity we are immersed into High School Never Ends.

Pumped up and counting down to their big finale the audience revelled in hits like She’s Got a Boyfriend and Greatest Day before being offered a vote off on one last song settling on almost a tribute to their American origins Ohio (come back to Texas).


Clocks at the ready we’d got under twenty seconds to go, a buzzing audience counted the band into 1985 “3, 2, 1…” and we were immersed into a head banging nostalgia that had us drunk and dancing all night long.

Tonight’s support comes from Californian rock bands Aquabats and Army of Freshmen.






See the complete photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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