I found out about The Bouncing Souls in ’99. Since then, I have managed to miss three of their Austin shows. One miss was due to my being in Prague (which was pretty cool in itself), the second was a screw-up on my part because I mis-marked my calendar, and the third was due to a terrible storm that kept the band in Houston.
I finally got to see them last night. It was worth the wait. The band sounded tight and they played a good number of the old songs I know and love. The crowd sang along and partook in more stage antics than I’ve ever seen at Emo’s. For every song, at least four people jumped on stage, did a little jig, gave Greg a hug, sang a few words, and threw themselves back onto the throng of bodies. The variety of people in attendance was impressive. There were sad-looking emo-types, hard-core punkers, glasses-wearing old guys (like me, I guess), a fratastic guy here and there, and some people who looked like they were ready to go clubbing.
Anyway, back to the music. While the old songs are by no means dry or devoid of emotion, I’ve noticed that ever since Hopeless Romantic, the Souls have gotten more and more sappy. The music is getting watered down and I fear they’re headed down the wrong road. There was a definite difference between the energy of the spunky old songs and the melodramatic, lackadaisical new songs. The energy just wasn’t there. Worse yet, Greg did not seem to be into the set at all. He looked tired, worn out, drained. Bryan, Pete, and Michael were all in the groove, but Greg seemed to just be talking his way through the songs. I guess the road can get to your sometimes.
I did my share of air-punching and OLE’ing and called it a night. For those of you not familiar with the Souls, they are soccer freaks and recorded a song that starts with a nice OLE OLE OLE OLE!!! intro. Despite the fun and the memories of hours spent listening to their albums, I don’t think I’d see the Souls again. The new songs just don’t cut it for me. But if you get the chance, give them one. They put on a good show and I can guarantee that you’ll feel welcome in the audience.