Bowling for Soup @ O2 Academy, Leeds

Like the class clowns that everybody loves, punk rockers Bowling For Soup have been giving us laughs, as well as reasons to sing, for almost two decades now. With a penchant for not taking themselves too seriously, BFS have never seemed to stop touring our great land and opportunities to see them live have always seemingly been round the corner.

All this is about to change however, as this leg marks the final time the Texan four-piece will ever, or for a very long while anyway, grace our shores by themselves (festival sightings are still up for grabs). With chances to see BFS fast becoming slim, it’s no wonder that Leeds Academy is packed tonight and judging by the clientele, which ranges from 14 to late 40s, the boys haven’t lost their old fans or their touch.

Beginning as they mean to go on, Jared and co start the set in raucous style, with fan favourite ‘Almost’ kicking off the sing-alongs. Once the next song ends however, the first signs of things to come rear their annoying heads: the band are going to talk and they’re going to talk a lot. A prediction well predicted, BFS continue the night in this exact vein and whilst crowd interaction is often key, you can’t help but feel they’re taking it too far.

When they do however let their instruments do the talking, this annoyance drifts away with excellent renditions of ‘High School Never Ends,’ ‘The Bitch Song,’ ‘Punk Rock 101,’ ‘Sukerpunch,’ ‘Shut Up and Smile’ and a cheeky cover of ‘Stacey’s Mom,’ all reminding us why we’re here in the first place. An energetic and well-received version of ‘Girls All The Bad Guys Want’ reinforces this sense of purpose for the crowd and with that the boys go off for what will be their last ever encore in this city.

Returning to a veritable mountain of applause, BFS chat and chat some more, with yet another ‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire’ chant ringing around the venue. As the tedium levels beginning to rise, BFS thankfully save the day by launching into a cover of Britney’s ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time,’ which is greeted with many smiles and laughs, as 40-year old men all around erupt into high-pitched, word perfect song.

With this it’s time to close tonight’s proceedings and as the familiar tones of ‘1985’ ring out across the Academy, the crowd erupts for the very last time. It’s been a strange night, one that has hosted great music and an abundance of annoying chatter. Being it’s their Farewell Tour though they can perhaps be forgiven but one thing’s for sure, they will never be forgotten.

Original article first appeared on the Vibrations site on 19/10/2013