The Bouncing Souls @ The Stone Pony 12.27.11

by Cara McGrath (Graphic Design), published January 9th 2012

photos by Shawn McClung

Although it was The Bouncing Souls’ Fifth Annual Home for the Holidays Event in Asbury Park, NJ, this concert was my first time experiencing the band live. And, as it turns out, I shouldn’t have waited five years. There is something very satisfying about seeing a band in concert and finding that they sound just as good live as on their albums, if not better.

Three opening acts supported the headliner: Title Fight, White Wives, and Blacktop Kids. But The Bouncing Souls really stole the show. Lead singer Greg Attonito belted out song after song without so much as pausing for a drink. Highlights included “The Gold Song,” “Blind Date,” “The Pizza Song” and “Anchors Aweigh.” The band really delivered live, which wasn’t much of a surprise considering the members have nearly 25 years of experience together under their belts.

The Bouncing Souls’ witty lyrics were even more comical in a concert atmosphere, especially songs like “East Coast Fuck You” and the short but sweet, “I Like Your Mom.” Attonito dedicated this one to his own mother, who sat at a table in the back. The crowd sang along to the clever lyrics of the fan-favorite “Hopeless Romantic,” chanting “I’m a hopeless romantic; you’re just hopeless.”

Two things specifically made this concert stand out for me. First was the way the songs were selected. Rather than preparing a set list, the band came equipped with Ping-Pong balls. With a different title on every one, the songs were drawn like numbers in a game of bingo, keeping both the fans and the band on their toes. It was a treat to hear a different song from the band’s upcoming album every time a new song ball was picked.

The second standout was the energy from the crowd. I’ve been to my share of rowdy shows; but the size of the mosh pit and the number of crowd-surfers led me to believe that all of New Jersey’s punk rock fans had congregated inside The Stone Pony that night. What was particularly impressive was Attonito’s ability to stir the crowd with such a composed demeanor.

If you dislike punk rock, well frankly, you would have hated this show. But for a fan like me,  it was truly fantastic.  The set was compiled of a number of punk anthems, some of which were hardly even a minute long. The band definitely kept the crowd dancing from the opening number, “The Gold Song,” all the way through the encore.

This show was the first of four sold-out nights for The Bouncing Souls at The Stone Pony during the week of December 25th. The band is set to start a European tour with Dropkick Murphys at the end of January.

With the support of their fans in their home state of New Jersey, I think it’s safe to say that The Bouncing Souls will be back for round six next December.

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