REVIEW: Bowling For Soup Still Preoccupied with 1985

Bowling For Soup, a couple of self-proclaimed fat guys who showered the world with their biggest hit , 1985 – which isn’t even their own song – way back in 2004, came to New York’s Gramercy Theater on Friday night to promote their latest album, aptly titled Drunk Dynasty, and left a sold-out show clamoring for more 18 songs later when all was said and done.

It’s worth mentioning that support act Runaway Kids were almost as good as BFS and are definitely worth checking out, but the real story here is Bowling For Soup and they’re who everyone paid to see. What can I say about a bunch of weirdos who happen to make good music and also happen to be genuinely awesome dudes? On night filled with “guest appearances” – read: two dudes hijacked the drum kit on separate songs – the unquestioned highlight to anyone with a brain cell was the kid BFS brought up on stage for 2 songs simply because he was there, all the way from Boston, to see his favorite band at the closest 16+ show on the tour.

But the music is what everyone wants to know about, so let’s talk music. BFS kicked the whole thing off with, well, a lot of talking, before getting the party started with My HometownThe Bitch Song and Emily. I like that they talk a lot, it gives me more time to shoot and capture moments, and that might have been the longest first 3 songs I’ve ever been in the pit for, so that alone was worth the trip. This is where I get to be honest – Bowling For Soup were playing a late set, 9:50-11:20, and I was not planning on staying for the whole thing. It was a Friday night, it was cold, and I had bronchitis. I was going to shoot, stay long enough to write a couple paragraphs and go home to nurse my ailment with the usual Irish remedy of hot whiskey. BUT, Bowling For Soup was so good and the capacity crowd was so into it that I couldn’t justify packing it in early, and had no choice but to tough it out with bad, overpriced whiskey and the help of a gaggle of drunk girls next to me on the stairs making the whole thing that much more enjoyable.

And staying for the entirety was the right choice, because by the time it was all over, Bowling For Soup had put on one of the most entertaining and fun-filled shows I’ve ever attended. Sick or not, it’s hard to beat a good show. There’s really not much else to say. I can go on and on about the setlist, but if you know BFS, you know what they’re playing. Yeah, they played Punk Rock 101, they played High School Never Ends, they played Since We Broke Up and they played 1985. But you already know this, because you’re a BFS fan and you’ve been to their show before. What is worth telling you is that they covered what will always be one of my favorite songs to hear live, played by anyone – the Fountains of Wayne anthem Stacy’s Mom, which people apparently incorrectly credit BFS with authoring. But as the band said on stage, hey, if you want to give them money for the song, go right ahead.

I was certainly not planning on going to a concert and watching a party break out, but that’s what a Bowling For Soup show is, apparently. Or maybe it’s a party where a concert breaks out. Either way, BFS is hands-down one of the most entertaining and fun-filled shows I’ve ever been to. Seriously, these are the kinds of guys you follow around the country on tour because they’re that much fun to watch. And, of course, the night wrapped with 1985 and sent everyone into a chorus of, oh, every single line to the whole damn song – including the dudes on stage taking a beer break and letting the crowd sing amongst themselves.

Yeah, there’s a lot of 90’s nostalgia going on at a Bowling For Soup show, and a lot of people in the Gramercy Theater crowd were nowhere near old enough to remember BFS before they broke out with their cover of 1985, but they, who the hell cares? I’m not entirely sure why many of their shows are 21+, maybe because they curse a lot and make dick jokes? This show was 16+ and if it wasn’t, there never would have been a kid on stage with his favorite band, and I probably would have left before the show was over, and then I’d probably be really disappointed writing this. Go see Bowling For Soup, you’ll have a great time and maybe even end up on stage. Or drunk. Definitely drunk.

Full setlist after the gallery.

Bowling For Soup’s Chris Burney AKA “Chubby Cheese” shredding – and licking his chops – at Gramercy Theater in NYC

Bowling For Soup setllist:

My Hometown

The Bitch Song


Ohio (Come Back to Texas)

High School Never Ends

Hey Diane

Phineas and Ferb Theme Song


Friends o’ Mine

The Last Rock Show

Punk Rock 101

Stacy’s Mom

Since We Broke Up


Shut-Up and Smile

Girl All the Bad Guys Want