Live (Oct. 2nd, 2009)The Starlite Room - Edmonton, Alberta
By Bobby Gorman
Drunken punks took over downtown Edmonton last night as the Bouncing Souls brought their 20th Anniversary tour through the Starlite Room and proved that after twenty years together, the new Jersey quartet still know how to put on a great punk show.
Up and comers Off With Their Heads kicked off the evening with their fast paced, Dillinger Four-esque pop-punk. Ryan Young was in a good mode as he joked with the crowd in between delivering his always depressing and pessimistic lyrics in songs like Until The Day I Die, Fuck This I’m Out, I Am You, Keep Falling Down and Terrorist Attack. While nothing extremely out of the ordinary, the Minneapolis act were as solid as ever and even threw in a fantastic cover of Joe Strummer‘s Silver and Gold for good measure; all of which made Off With Their Heads the perfect warm up band for the night that was to come.
Saint Alvia picked up where Off With Their Heads left off and put on an equally energizing set, although with a drastically different sound. With four vocalists alternating singing duties, an organ and equal mixes of punk rock, dance hall reggae, and soul, Saint Alvia continued to rile up the crowd as they played through Romeo, Blonde Kryptonite, Unspoken Bond and Time To Go; but it was punk veterans Youth Brigade that truly showed how chaotic a punk show can be.
Celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary together, the Stern Brothers brought the punk rock style and energy of the eighties with them into the Starlite Room. Playing faster than you could believe, the punk icons had the old school fanatics out in force as they played classics like Believe In Something, Punk Rock Mom, and Violence. However, nothing could compare to their final song: Sink With Kalifornija. The archetype for punk rock sing-along’s, Sink With Kalifornija had everyone, well, singing along; and I mean everyone from the crowd to members of The Bouncing Souls and Off With Their Heads who all jumped at the chance to sing the anthem with the Stern Brothers. It was madness and energy confined to a small stage that cumulated with Shawn Stern playing his guitar with his microphone while being lifted up by a fan. It was an ending that most rock stars would kill for – and they were only the opening band.
By the time the Souls hit the stage a little past midnight the floor was full and ready to explode. Opening with True Believers, the crowd tore apart and never rested as the band sampled tracks from their entire career including as far back as I Like Your Mom and as recent as Gasoline and Airport Security. Throughout it all, the drunken fans sang along with nearly every word; pushing and shoving their way to the front. The occasional stage diver broke through the security, sang a few words and dove into the energetic mass of people below while the rest happily ran in circles and sung along to cuts like Hopeless Romantic, That Song, Private Radio, The Gold Song, Fight to Live, Something To Believe, Kids and Heroes, Lean on Sheena, and the rousing closer of Gone.
Front man Greg Attonito continued to sing in his very unique, almost static, fashion which is always a comical sight to see. No other singer would be able to pull off a delivery like that, but the intensity and excitement of the crowd always makes up for it; although it would be nice to see him put some more energy into his delivery at times. Alas, it is what it is and twenty years in, nothing’s going to change now.
Oddly enough, the addition of a fifth touring member playing the organ worked as a detriment to the show rather than a benefit as the instrument came through the sound system with a high pitched tinge placed way too high in the mix, creating the cringe-worthy feeling of feedback. In fact, the sound was a slight problem the entire night as the vocals were often slightly harder to hear than necessary but a crowd full of energetic fans could really care less.