True Believer? I am now!
'Bouncing Souls Live' follows hot on the heels of the 'Bouncing Souls, Live at the Glasshouse' DVD. You've got to hand it to these guys, Bouncing Souls sure know how to make you feel good and put on a good show. The sound quality is excellent, and you get a real sense of it being live. It's hard to know whether it's the same gig on both, but it's good value.
Bouncing Souls are a band with a history; they've gained a loyal fanbase over the years and it shows. They're known for their love of playing live, all throughout the set it's clear. Disc 1 starts off with the crowd chanting 'here we go' before the band breaks into 'Here We Go', and it sets the tone nicely for the rest of the gig. The anticipation and excitement of the gig virtually oozes through the speakers.
The atmosphere does feel different on this CD, with the band coming across as more at ease and up for it - it's a big difference between the two formats. These are songs that are meant to be played live as it is, and it's hard not to love the Bouncing Souls when they've got tunes like 'Sing Along Forever' and 'Say Anything' - both are under 90 seconds of punk joy.
One of the definite highlights of the first disc is 'Kids and Heroes', with band and crowd singing along with each other. Given how man Souls' fans love the band, this is so appropriate or as the song goes 'the truth was right here in our own song'. There's a cool mix of songs with older songs like 'Argyle' sort of rubbing shoulders with 'Born Free', although nothing beats the adrenalin rush crowd sing along of 'East Coast! Fuck You!' - a minute and a half of punk chaos.
Disc 2 starts off on a high with the 'Ballad of Johnny X' where Greg Attonito introduces the man behind the song. And the rush starts off again. Whether the songs are older ones, or a bit newer doesn't matter, as 'Anchors Aweigh' goes down just as well as, say, 'Kate is Great'. But a song like 'True Believers' live is enough to make anybody a true believer out of anybody, be it believing in punk or the Bouncing Souls.
When it comes to in-between-song banter, Attonito sounds happier, amiably explaining what 'Gone' is basically about. It's songs like these that give you a reason for living, and as he says, 'it will get better'. Although there are classic hillbilly punk tunes in the form of 'Born to Lose', which starts off really fast and then gets drawn out more and more before picking up speed. It goes down a treat with the crowd, and it's bound to make you smile.
Of course, there are always crowd pleasers. A rendition of 'Ole', started off by the audience, has the band playing to the crowd as much as possible. It's amazing how much a punk version of 'ole' can excite a crowd, but then again the Souls have everybody eating out of their collective hands. And the final song, 'Night On Earth' is a great choice of a set ender - with lines like 'I thought about you so much/I thought about it all too much', it's easy to relate to, but it's so uplifting.
'Bouncing Souls Live' is a superb live album, and well worth the money. Even if you're not a fan of the band per se, for any music fan it would be a treat. So go on, treat yourself and buy this album.