THE BOUNCING SOULS/ AGAINST ME!/ MURPHY'S LAW
LET IT BURN/ LORDZ OF BROOKLYN
Starland Ballroom/Nov. 20
by Cathy Miller
SAYREVILLE, NJ---Five bands on the bill
can be a daunting prospect sometimes,
particularly if all you really want is to spend
some quality ear time with the headliners.
That wasn't the case tonight. The Bouncing
Souls are known for inviting some fairly
eclectic bands on their tours, and this roster
included hip-hop, hardcore, new bands
and established ones. Hip hip hooray and
It was great to see the Lordz Of Brooklyn---
just kind of sad that their set was
generally lost on the young crowd. Theirs
was a hardcore hip-hop hybrid with a full
band, congas, and the occasional violin, at
times sounding a little like old Run-DMC.
The bass player was excellent, and the dual
guitarists chugged along with a nice, full,
darn-near metal sound. Sure, they were the
black sheep on the bill, but that doesn't
diminish their music.
Let It Burn have a new CD out called
Expanding Universe, so they performed a
few of those songs. The hyperactive crowd
cheered with gusto while the band wailed on
a punked up blend of speed and exuberance.
For a fairly young band, they expertly made
excellent use of the big stage---watch
out for that wild and crazy guitarist! DJ
Values, singer/guitarist, was a capable front
man, although an occasional change in
vocal styling would have added to the mainly
accomplished sound of the band.
It was a scary moment when it looked like
Murphy's Law weren't going to be in the
house! They arrived in the knick of time,
having driven eight hours after suffering
through bad pizza, just to make the show.
They quickly assembled their equipment
onstage and let the party begin! They wasted
no time establishing a great rapport with
the audience, nor cracking open the
Jagermeister and beer. Certainly a tight
band, they clearly enjoyed themselves and
spread the joy freely and liberally.
"Participation is the key, kids," admonished
Jimmy Gestapo---and getting sprayed with
beer is rule number one. Thirty minutes with
Murphy's Law whipped by while savoring
songs like "Woke Up Tied Up," "Don't Bother
Me," "Beer," and "Someone's Gonna Get
Their Head Kicked In Tonight." Look for a
new CD from these gentlemen soon.
Against Me! needed no introduction. The
crowd grew restless as the stage was set.
This band has grown so much in the past
couple years, they're seemingly on the
verge of the often-maligned mass critical
acclaim. Like it or not, they deserve the
recognition. Musically, they have a unique
style of performing, and they're very attuned
to each other. Perhaps the heart of Against
Me! resides in the rhythm section, where the
drummer sets the band's signature pace.
There's still a rawness to their sound that
hopefully will never be glossed over. They
revel in audience participation, their shoutalong
choruses invite it big-time. It's quite amazing
how this band is able to perform the same songs
night after night, yet still brim with passion
and emotion every time. It helps that they pen
relevant and memorable material.
But they're also
obviously charged on the extremely high energy
of their fans. From "Pints of Guinness Make
You Strong" to "Those Anarcho Punx Are Mysterious,"
Against Me! gave it their all, Gainesvillestyle.
While everyone chanted "Olé Olé Olé Olé"
(incessantly), The Bouncing Souls made
their way onto the stage. It was a mutual
admiration society with much love flowing in
both directions. This is a band that everyone
should see just because they are so real---
no gimmicks and no glitz. They're funny and
warm, yet naturally ooze a streetwise attitude.
They're powerful and positive at the
same time. There's nothing close to onstage
shenanigans to dazzle you, it's all about the
MUSIC. And these guys know how to craft a
fine, fine song. We were treated to classics
like "That Song" and "E.C.F.U." which Bryan
proudly shouted, "I'm From The East Coast.
Fuck You!" and onward to material from the
new CD, Anchors Aweigh, like "Born Free"
and "Highway Kings." They dedicated
"Gone" to a deceased friend. They wrapped
up with a powerful version of "True
The Bouncing Souls embody the spirit of
music, and it matters not how many times
you see them, you always leave the show
smiling, feeling part of the Souls' big bouncing family.