If you saw my last gallery on Frank Turner, The Bronx and Pet Needs, I was quoted as saying, “[The Bronx] may very well be my favorite live band”. Well I lied … kind of. I forgot about a group of ska-loving punk rockers from Gainesville that played a pivotal role in my musical upbringing. I’m not gonna say that the Less Than Jake dudes’ performance topped that of the LA guys in the Bronx, but I’m content having a two-way tie for first on the list of ‘Nathan’s Favorite Live Bands’.
This was a fun show. It’d been almost five years since my last LTJ show, that one being across town at the Mercy Lounge with the Red City Radio boys. This was my first encounter with Doll Skin and Cliff Diver (both of which I mentally labeled as ‘will see again’), and although I am very familiar with Bowling for Soup from my early days of investigating pop-punk, I had never caught a live show of theirs either. So other than reacquainting myself with Less Than Jake’s live set, this was an evening of firsts.
What stuck out most from Doll Skin‘s performance was the sheer chaos and havoc that lead singer Sydney Dolezal rendered during their set. The images here do little justice as an accurate portrayal of the set’s intensity. They are one of few opening bands that I’ve seen that achieve this level of crowd engagement and attentiveness, which speaks volumes about this band’s live show.
Cliff Diver was an excellent opener for the two headliners because their style was a mix of what drew fans of both headliners to the show. They had the early 2000s pop-punk sound that fans of BFS would love. On the other hand, at times they also had a more traditional ska-punk sound that those who came for LTJ could appreciate.
And one other thing … man, can Briana Wright sing!
There seemed a clear division among those attending that I somewhat alluded to earlier. You had those attending for Less Than Jake (the crowd I would lump myself in with), and those who came for Bowling for Soup, and there was not much overlap between the two groups. Between LTJ’s set and BFS’s, the crowd huddled up near the stage was an entire new set of faces.
Although BFS’s glory days may seem to be in the past, these dudes can still hold their own and there’s still a pretty large group of followers who all still have the same question: Are they bowling in order to earn soup, or on behalf of soup?
There’s not much I can write here other than if you haven’t caught the Less Than Jake guys live, you’re probably in the minority of readers of this site, and you need to see them immediately. I’ve seen bands where their stage antics are gimmicky and their humor distasteful, but what could possibly be gimmicky about a damn toilet paper cannon?
In all truthfulness, you could see the sincerity of the performance from each and every member on stage. They were all genuinely having the time of their life up there.
As always, your time and attention here are very much appreciated. Check out all these rad bands, and I’ll have more galleries up in the coming weeks. Until next time, cheers!