Tonight’s show was a Bowling For Soup acoustic show with a difference; an all seated audience in the virtually sold out beautiful Union Chapel in Islington seemed a fine choice for one last farewell from Jaret, Erik and their acoustic guitars. There was also a DVD to be filmed, something made fairly obvious by the abundance of cameramen, though many still seemed happily oblivious until Jaret announced it near the end of the show, when the news was greeted with a rather loud cheer.
Unfortunately we missed Ryan Hamilton opening the proceedings due to having a chat with BFS guitarist Chris Burney on his night off (interview to come here on Rocksins very soon) but we were in time to witness Patent Pending (7) entertaining the masses seated amongst the church pews with their catchy pop punk material. The highlight of their set musically was Psycho In Love which loses none of it’s infectiousness when stripped back to acoustic guitars. However the overall highlight of their set was PP frontman Joe deciding to go crowdsurfing amongst the pews, whilst everyone was sat down in them! In eleven years of going to gigs that was a first for me and something that won’t be forgotten in a hurry – luckily he didn’t hurt himself or anyone else!
Onto the main event and the arrival of Bowling For Soup, or in this case one half of them in the shape of Jaret & Erik (9). It is a given that a BFS acoustic show will feature almost as much comedy as musicality, but both men were on fine form this evening. As the show was filmed for a DVD we won’t spoil too much of the fun but there were some choice quips such as the response to the guy who said he’d been to twenty six shows (“thanks for the boat”) and the guy who decided to let everyone know after two songs it was his birthday (“Why now? Why not after six songs?”).
Musically it was one of the duo’s finest acoustic performances so far in the UK, with the sound in Union Chapel being fantastic and Jaret’s voice in particular sounding very strong. With such a large pool of songs to draw on the setlists for the acoustic shows are always varied but tonight’s selection was perhaps the most varied of all. Not to be outdone, when Jaret excused himself for a bathroom break, Erik provided one of the moments of the evening when he performed his solo song “Tonight’s The Night”
A number of the new songs from Bowling For Soup’s new album Lunch Drunk Love lend themselves to being played acoustically and quite a few of these were included in the show (to very loud responses). Several obvious hits such as High School Never Ends and even Girl All The Bad Guys Want were omitted in favour of older rarities such as All Figured Out and Last Call Casualty. There were of course still plenty of favourites to be heard such as Almost, Ohio (Come Back To Texas) and the “always amazing even when played acoustically” A Really Cool Dance Song.
Finishing off with 1985 as Bowling For Soup traditionally do, it was a fitting end to a very enjoyable evening. If this is to be the last Bowling For Soup acoustic show in the UK then it was a very proud send off for the acoustic series of shows and something that will be preserved for all to enjoy through the upcoming DVD. We recommend you pick it up when it is released. Follow the band on Twitter for daily tour updates at @bfsrocks.