Sing Along Forever

Bouncing Souls return to the UK on another headline tour and pull in a very healthy crowd albeit in the smallest of Manchester's Academy venues. Their twenty year career hasn't seen a vast progression in their sound but nobody here is complaining as they rip through an hour long set of enthusiastic and melodic punk.

The sound isn't great tonight but it's good enough to enable Bouncing Souls to demonstrate just how good they are. It takes front man Greg Attonito a good few songs to get animated but the rest of the band are happy to make up for him early on as wave after wave of sing along choruses are accompanied by a similar number of stage divers. The crowd are excellent throughout and grasp every opportunity to join in and even force the band into a quick rendition of 'Ole!'. It all adds to the atmosphere and entertainment, everyone is having a good time and it's smiles all round.

The set list dips into most parts of their back catalogue including the two recent cover versions, Avoid One Thing's 'Lean on Sheena' and The Kinks 'Better Things' but it's songs like 'East Coast! Fuck You!' and the brilliant 'True Believers' that really impress. There are some sound problems with both the mic and then the bass amp causing problems but these are quickly forgotten about when they rip into 'Sing Along Forever'. The entertainment seldom stops with Attonito taking a mobile phone from the crowd and attempting to ring a random person from the address book mid song! The odd lighter song such as 'Pizza Song' finally lets the keyboards, which have been inaudible for most of the set come through and it provides a welcome respite for the highly mobile crowd. All too soon it's over as they round off the set with a great rendition of 'Gone', which is followed by some amusing banter with the crowd. The brief encore gives the crowd one last chance to go for it before the band leave for the last time.

Academy 3 is the perfect venue for Bouncing Souls, the low ceiling and tightly packed crowd really give the feel of a good club gig and that just adds to Bouncing Souls appeal. They're never going to change your life and there are plenty of other bands playing similar material but there aren't many who've been doing it as well and as long as Bouncing Souls have, on tonight's showing they'll outlive many more of their current contemporaries.