Ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, it’s about that time to chat everything local—musically! I have seen countless concerts this summer, and fresh off my list is one of New Jersey’s most infamous acts. When you think of the Jersey punk scene, this band is always at the top of my list.

A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of working with The Bouncing Souls as they headlined Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ. Always being in attendance for their Home for the Holidays showcases, I knew this one would be one for the record books. Well, I don’t like to say I am always right, but this time, I definitely was. For weeks leading up to the show, kids showed their love and support for the band all over social media, when they then made a HUGE announcement: they were going to be playing How I Spent My Summer Vacation in its entirety. For any Souls fan, this was just the icing on the cake to an already stellar lineup including Andrew Jackson Jihad, Seaside Caves, and Screaming Females.

On a hot and sweaty summer night of July 17, fans gathered in drones to get a front row glimpse of the Jersey heroes, lining up hours early. When they first entered, naturally dozens invaded the merch table, where The Bouncing Souls were selling a few limited items, including an amazing show poster that I was lucky enough to snag.

One of the best things about this show was that each opening act got just as much attention as the headliner; Seaside Caves totally rocked the house. I had never seen them live before, but I had heard so many amazing things, so this was definitely a treat for me. I couldn’t believe how many people in the crowd knew all of the lyrics to their songs; it was pretty epic. Screaming Females always kill it, and I am confident that they will always have a strong following around here, no matter what show they play. Then naturally, Andrew Jackson Jihad was amazing; I am a huge fan of them, and hope they continue to tour so I can continue to stand in the front at their shows.

Once The Bouncing Souls hit the stage around 10:30, the crowd sang every word, rocking their New Jersey gear and crowd surfing like Starland Ballroom was a beach. It’s amazing how much that band has the crowd in the palm of their hand, as their live shows get better and better each time. I chatted with a few fans that got their early, saying they had seen them over 20 times. I then talked to another group who said it was their first time seeing them. This just goes to show their music is timeless, and they will always be gaining new fans, no matter how long they’ve been established around here. I also saw a lot of Bouncing Souls t-shirts, and even tattoos, which is true dedication. New Jersey is a state that completely backs their musicians, standing by them the entire way, and The Bouncing Souls are no exception to that rule.

If you were in the house on Friday night, July 17, at Starland Ballroom, you were in for a treat. I can now say that I spent my “Summer Vacation” (no pun intended) watching so many fans sing every word at the top of their lungs, dripping sweat on one another without a care in the world. Bouncing Souls fans are family, and they proved that a few weeks ago. Here’s to hoping the Souls come back sooner than later, and maybe even repeat this lineup, as the whole package was epic! I felt the need to share my experience about this show, for The Bouncing Souls represent everything that is New Jersey music.

I will be back next week with another band of your liking, so stay tuned. Cheers, all!

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