The Bouncing Souls @ Webster Hall

MANHATTAN, NY—As a last-minute endeavor, I was lucky enough to stumble upon some tickets to The Bouncing Souls show at Webster Hall. Being oblivious to their music though familiar with their name, I took it as an opportunity to get to know another band through the art of a live performance. Little did I know that this particular show was the record release party for their new album, Comet. On the way to NYC, my dear friend had ensured me that I would not be disappointed with the type of crowd at one of their shows.

Luckily we had made it to the show just in the nick of time. To my amusement, we arrived at the venue to see that everybody there was wearing either a vest covered in patches, a flannel, or some high school sports team’s T-shirt. The curtains were drawn on the stage and in between all of the instruments there were props of television sets from the ‘90s, which I had found peculiar yet interesting. Some background music and lights were eventually shut off, as the band made their way on stage through the sounds of a rather large group of people shouting and chanting with anticipation.

A rather humorous thing about the beginning of the show was that a pit was created by some rather intoxicated individuals before the music even started. Immediately when The Bouncing Souls began their set, the confluence of punk rockers around us went nuts. There were a few times throughout the show where my buddy and I thought that the hardwood floor beneath us was going to break. Immense amounts of pressure were put on the floor, making it flex and bounce to where we felt like we were standing on a trampoline.

Crowd surfing and stage diving were certainly no foreign concepts at this event. Despite the fear of bodies landing on our heads, the fans were so close together that nobody got hurt. Plenty of people were present to cushion anyone’s fall. A pit remained constant throughout the entire set, with a lack of violence and plenty of camaraderie.

As far as the sound of the show went, The Bouncing Souls started out a little rough in terms of the mix of volumes among instruments. Once the issue had been corrected, it was easy to hear the sound that they were trying to portray, even through the shouting of lyrics from the floor. A mere performance had done a good job of displaying how these musicians have obviously been doing this for a long time. Everything was tightly knit and sounded great. Not one single disappointment could be found with this show, which is a rare statement coming from someone seeing a group they’ve never seen or heard before. An aspect that was very interesting was that there were breaks throughout the setlist that seemed to calm down a bit, though they were not long-lasting. After each appeasing song, another rager would follow where everybody would get knocked around for a bit more and enjoy themselves in doing so.

Towards the end of the show, my pal and I started moving to the back of the venue so that we could make a clean escape when The Bouncing Souls finished. It was excruciatingly hot inside, however, we didn’t care—that feeling was overtaken by the sensation of enjoying a show by one of New Jersey’s classic punk bands. The entire night was a blast and I know that I have the band and the energy to thank for it. For a first-time listener, I would have to say that The Bouncing Souls have left their mark on me as a fan.