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Concert Review: The Bouncing Souls, The Loved Ones, and Black President – The Grog Shop, Cleveland, OH, 05/07/2009

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It was a memorable punk rock event Thursday night at the Grog Shop thanks to The Bouncing Souls, The Loved Ones, and Black President.  The three bands actually had just performed to a packed the house the night before as the bands made a two night stop at the well known Cleveland venue.  Having not been able to attend both shows I am glad I was at least able to be at one seeing how great of an evening I had.

New Jersey's The Bouncing Souls have taken this entire year to celebrate their 20th anniversary of being a punk rock band. To commemorate their success they have been releasing a song a month for download available on their own label's website Chunksaah Records. The band will also be releasing a limited edition 7" every third month of the year also available online, at select music shops, and of course at their live shows.  If that was not good enough for a festivity, the band decided to hit the road on a string of tours to select cities.  Accompanying The Bouncing Souls were friends The Loved Ones and punk rock super group Black President.

The venue filled up quickly and featured all sorts of fans, many who were at the previous night's show.  Punk rockers of all ages hung out in the dark venue waiting for what was to come.  I joked to my friends how old I felt seeing that I saw The Bouncing Souls open for NOFX in 1998.  Still I refused to let age affect me and was excited to be a part of the evening as I had been looking forward to this show for weeks.

Black President started off the evening and pretty much set the mood for the rest of the evening with their energy.  Formed in, 2005 well before Obama started his quest, a lot of ticket holders thought the band name was created after the fact of our current president. The band consisting of some pretty important punk rockers like Charlie Paulson of Goldfinger and Dave Raun of Lagwagon did not get the full credit they deserved by all who attended from the start but the crowd seemed to warm up to them.  I myself was enthralled the moment the band broke into a Motorhead cover, "Iron Fist" and then announced it was their first time playing the song live. Blasting through selected songs from their self-titled debut release including "Last F#cking Hope" the band won me over and much of the crowd as well.

The Loved Ones, hailing from Philadelphia, may not have been around for twenty years but they took stage and played their hearts out to the welcoming crowd. This Fat Wreck Chords act has been a favorite of mine for a couple of years now, so it was great to finally see them play the stage. They played songs from their recent EP Distractions as well as former releases Build & Burn and Keep Your Heart, including the catchy song "The Bridge". The band sounded solid and looked to be having a great time performing to the near sold out crowd.

Before the Bouncing Souls even took stage fans were screaming the trademark Bouncing Souls soccer chant "Ole" jointly.  The moment they started playing the temperature rose a good ten degrees in the venue from all the movement in the crowd.  With arms in the air, and some legs too, the fans were truly going ballistic for the main act of the evening.

Greg Attonito and crew were all smiles as they ripped through show starter "True Believer".  Classic tracks such as "That Song", Here We Go", Lean On Sheena", and "I Like Your Mom" continued the set with almost all the fans singing along too.  At times the lead singer looked more of a lounge act as he slowly graced the stage to the left and right and just seemed so at peace with the environment surrounding him.

Towards the middle of the set Greg Attonito grabbed an acoustic guitar and played a very chill version of the Misfits' "Hybrid Moments" which brought grins to the faces of all the real punk rockers in the crowd.  I sang along with everyone else and for a brief moment felt like a kid all over again.

I was not at a Bouncing Souls show that night, I was at a Bouncing Souls celebration for them being a punk act for 20 years.  Having been a fan of them for most of that time, I felt so fortunate to be a part of the festivities and enjoyed every moment of the evening.  Openers Black President were a treat to see live as were The Loved Ones making for an ultimate night of punk rock fun.

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About Brian McConville