In all honesty, I was slightly apprehensive about tonight’s show after watching Jaret Reddick’s pop-punk band Bowling for Soup headline a set at Slam Dunk Festival earlier this year. Despite being known for their between-song banter, it wildly missed the mark; filled with crude jokes and sexual innuendos aimed at younger members of the audience, it was possibly the most uncomfortable I’ve felt at a gig.
However, tonight was completely different – and I was pleasantly surprised.
Armed simply with a piano, sparkly outfits, and an impressive vocal range, The Lounge Kittens are the first to grace the stage. However, ‘grace’ is possibly not the most accurate word to describe the Southampton harmony trio. Making the most of their support slot, they squeeze in as much material as possible. The whole performance is slick, polished and above all, extremely enjoyable.
Now for the main man himself: Jaret Reddick. As expected from the Bowling for Soup frontman, the moments in between songs are just as important as the songs themselves. Yes, there are the expected innuendos, yet the whole performance is so much more raw and honest, partially due to the stripped-back nature of an acoustic show but also due to Jaret’s anecdotal ramblings.
Not only do we hear the stories behind the songs, but the frontman opens up about so much more, such as his struggles with depression and subsequent weight gain, and how he had to fire his best friend. However, it’s not all doom and gloom as the singer consistently pokes fun at both himself and some of the more rowdy members of the crowd.
Whilst this may not be a show for the casual Bowling for Soup fan, the setlist caters for all: from some of their most famous songs (including ‘1985’) to the most obscure, with Jaret taking requests from the crowd. All in all, it’s a performance that showcases Jaret’s witty raconteur skills, his comfortable interaction with the crowd, and of course his musical ability.