photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin, words by fan & show promoter Jake Szufnarowski
The Bouncing Souls love to set up shop in New York City. In 2006 when they released The Gold Record, they celebrated that joyous occasion by playing six nights in a row at the old Knitting Factory culminating with the Gold Record in its entirety. Six nights was pretty fitting considering that record was released on June 6, 2006. The day of the beast!
That run of shows ignited a desire in the band to play multiple night stands of shows in their hometown, and the following year they started the "Home For the Holidays" tradition - a run of multiple nights in their adopted home turf of Asbury Park. This past December the band decided to do something special with "Home for the Holidays" and play all 8 of their albums - in order - over the course of 4 nights.
Sadly Mother Nature intervened and the Great Blizzard of 2010 blanketed everybody's favorite shore town in more snow than even the White Castle could surmount. That left the band snowed in, along with hundreds of fans who had come from all over these great United States - and even abroad - and the Stone Pony was unable to open their doors. The band of course took those lemons and made lemonade and gave a blistering show at the Asbury Lanes to anyone who could trudge through the mountainous snowdrifts to make it. They ended up rescheduling that run of shows for February and had so much fun they then decided to literally take the show on the road! And that, my friends, is the legend of "For All the Unheard - All 8 Records in 4 Nights!"
Never ones to shy away from a big idea, the Bouncing Souls are taking this concept worldwide and started the assault in Chicago and Boston before bringing it all back home again to New York, NY!
For the band that has seemingly done it all - the one major club they had yet to play is where they chose to put up stakes and settle this travelling circus down for 4 nights - the Highline Ballroom.
There's something funny about bands playing entire albums in their entirety. If you already know what the band is going to play, then how are they gonna make it exciting? Well the Souls let us know right off the bat, on the first of four nights (July 6th), that this wasn't going to be any ordinary night. After great opening sets by Hostage Calm, then a solo set by Dave Hause of the Loved Ones and a blistering set of classics by their 90's contemporaries Weston, it was time to get down to business.
With a single spotlight shining in the center of the stage - out strode the tuxedoed man of class and savoire faire, "Gentleman" Jim Norton. Reminiscent of the finest boxing announcers, he told the crowd "Let's Get Ready to Rumble!!!!" and proceeded to lay down an introduction that would make Michael Buffer blush. He informed us that "Tonight's proceedings are overseen by the New York State Athletic Commission - the judges' scores will be final - this bout is for the undisputed 'Heavyweight Punk Rock Belt," and a foxy ring card girl strode back and forth across the stage holding high an oversized replica of the cover of "The Good! The Baaaaaad! Aaaaaand the AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGYYYYYYYYYYLLLLLEEEE!"
With that, the band bounded onto the stage and with the opening notes of "I Like Your Mom" proceeded to whip the capacity crowd into a fervor that did not let up until the end of the "first round". Round 2 was once again preceded by the boxing intro of Gentleman Jim with his announcement of the challenger, "Maniacal Laughter!!!!". The band kept up their relentless pace. So relentless that a guy in a wheelchair crowd surfed his way onto the stage - not once but TWICE! Equal opportunity moshing!!!
There was stage diving, circle pits, and there wasn't a single song that wasn't a singalong. Sing Along Forever indeed!
The mayhem continued for three more nights. On Thursday the Souls played their Self Titled LP and "Hopeless Romantic" Opening bands Star Fucking Hipsters, Yuppicide and Wildstreet kicked things off. Friday night saw the Souls tear through "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" and "Anchors Aweigh" which were the first two albums featuring their 2nd and current drummer Michael McDermott. This was the first night of the run to sell out and maybe the one that saw the band most spirited; During the intro for "No Comply" singer Greg Attonito remarked to the crowd "You guys keep surfing up onto the stage and smashing the monitors and knocking over mic stands - Im gonna do that too!" - as he tossed a few mic stands aside and, with a huge smile on his face jumped into the crowd - leaving guitarist Pete Steinkopf and bassist Bryan Keinlan to sing the song. Amazing Attonito made a huge crowd surfing circle around the entire floor of the Highline Ballroom and back to the stage. He looked like he was swimming while doing it. Check out the video below. Friday also featured opening sets by: The Loved Ones, Up For Nothing and Iron Chic. Pictures from that show are in this post.
The final night of the run featured the albums "The Gold Record" and "Ghosts on the Boardwalk", an album which was a collection of songs released as digital singles and 7" singles during their "20th Anniversary Celebration". Openers on Saturday night were Lost in Society, a reunited Grey Area, and the one and only Tim Barry of AVAIL. Tim delivered an amazing set - always an astounding amount of energy for a solo act and the crowd was singing along so loudly and passionately you would have thought he was headlining. The highlight of his set came during "Idle Idyllist" where Barry abandoned the stage, lights, and PA system and jumped down into the crowd and sang the song at the top of his lungs from the middle of the packed Highline Ballroom floor. We've seen him do that before at the comparatively tiny Knitting Factory and Mercury Lounge, but seeing it at the Highline was something else - as was the fact the the entire venue went silent so everyone could hear the fully acoustic strains of the man's voice and his guitar. Music for the people. God bless Tim Barry. And god bless the Bouncing Souls for 4 nights of awesomeness.
More tour dates HERE. More pictures from Night Three and a couple of videos below...
Up for Nothing
The Loved Ones
The Bouncing Souls performing "No Comply" at the Highline Ballroom
The Bouncing Souls performing "Gone" at the Highline Ballroom