Newport's Centre, 25th October 2007
Reviewed by Nadine Ballantyne
An eventually sold out Newport Centre tonight hosts American Rock and Pop Punk bands; ones which have either broken the pack, or are about to break it. This is the Get Happy Tour, and marks the second time the package has ventured to British shores this year. Once again, the tour features leaders Bowling For Soup who have seemed to be on the road to mainstream success during 2007. This is followed closely by Bloodhound Gang and they're out to do more damage than good. Also, they bring along a party of up and coming Rock acts ready to show you what they're made of; American Pop Punksters Zebrahead, not to mention unsigned Californians Army Of Freshman. Friends of Bowling For Soup, both acts co-founded the tour package in 2006 and named it after a Bowling For Soup track (issued in 2004 on the album A Hangover You Don't Deserve).
Army Of Freshmen
On first are Army Of Freshman, and the audience welcomes them with their arms wide open. Performing happy Pop Rock, the crowd instantly loves them. Afterwards, fans can be seen bombarding Army Of Freshmen at their own merchandise desk. The crowd is fairly young, yet mixed, ranging from metalheads to kids not even at high school. To sway the fans even more into Army Of Freshman’s hearts, they tell us about a tour story. That tour story is about defending the Welsh against an “English little shit”, one who asked why they would want to play in Wales. On the whole, the group seem to interact well as a unit and bounce around a lot. They fill the gaps despite having two keyboardists, and the synths give the group a more Pop, singalong, happy appeal.
Even though Zebrahead have a more cult following, there seems to be a less of a reception initially. Despite the fact they seem to be more of a sing along type band, they do finally get the appreciation they deserve. By the end of the set, the venue has filled up. This only encourages the band to jump around more, and may well just encourage the crowd to be even happier. When Zebrahead make a sly remark that Wales has the prettiest girls, they get nothing but girly screams back. At one point during the set, during the song “Jag Off”, they have the power to influence the entire crowd; the crowd sit and jump up at their key, and go bloody mental whenever they desire. They have a sparky appeal about them, consisting of Rock with some Rap elements thrown in for good measure. “God damn Newport you sexy bitches” shouts the singer, and that's before telling the crowd to “Help violence by masturbating once a day”. By the end, everyone is eventually into their set. This is only because they make sure that everyone should though.
Rumours of the Bloodhound Gang’s nightly antics worry a few spectators tonight, especially if you happen to be at the front. The bassist known as “Evil” Jared strides very robustly onstage to a mysterious box centre stage, and then he holds out a roll of fake money. The money is then placed into one of the slots - the gun slot, that is. Then, he proceeds to fire shirts out into the crowd. Bet you never thought Bloodhound Gang were as giving as that. This is just one of the nightly antics they’ve been repeating at shows; the next involves him ripping his shirt off, and wiping it in rather grotesque places. The shirt is thrown into the needy crowd, yet they love it. They seem to have either done their research on Wales, or got someone to google everything possible about the country. Or, they might just happen to be Wikipedia fans. Who knows? To make us feel right at home though; they spurt out comments on cities; they mock Swansea, and describe the seated fans as disabled people from Cardiff. They even to include comments on Dirty Sanchez, and that follows a video by Bam Magera who mocks Taffy’s. Also, Jared intimates how he would shit on Charlotte Churches tits any day. Another nightly stunt for “Evil” Jared is to chug down a jug of beer, and throw it back up. Then, he drinks it again. It seems the band falls around singer Jimmy Pop and bassist Jared, especially in their next stunt. Also, this next stunt involves throwing up too. “Evil” Jared drinks two glow sticks, and vomits them into Jimmy Pop’s hat. Then, Pop just wears the hat once more. Their typical hits get the biggest response, those being “The Ballad of Chasey Lain” and “Bad Touch”. In some ways, it can seen as a well put on show. In another way though, it's what they’re pursuing in order to get their name remembered. Also, it possibly gets them into serious trouble with the one parent who complained that night.
Bowling For Soup
After Bloodhound's set, it seems half the people have left. Having said that, a lot of the younger kids still hang around for Pop Punk stars Bowling for Soup. Even as they just enter the stage, they can't help but chat. They talk to the crowd in a down to earth manner, and tell stories between songs. These stories are either totally random, or relate to antics they’ve been up to that day. One such story is that the guitarist Chris Burney had eaten a raw egg prior to their set, and thrown up everywhere. It seems to be a theme for these gigs. They seem to improvise well though, and even give a girl a happy birthday song. This matches their friendly approach on stage, and connection with the crowd. They do sound the most original, and professional, of the night. This is despite the fact that every band has sounded on top form tonight, and blown away the audience with their performance in some way or another. The randomness continues; a small blown up sheep ends up on stage, a note having been neatly placed in its rectum. Also, a blow up guitar nearly takes Jaret's head off and is then used as a mini trampoline. Bloodhound Gang's “Evil” Jared prances onstage to spit Jagermeister into Jaret's mouth, and he claims it tastes like pot noodle. Following that, tic tacs are given out to the crowd. The most metal fans even - including the Slayer wearing t-shirts fans - can be seen enjoying the Punk Rock sensations, and buying merchandise. Particularly, one has so boldly written that “the Bloodhound Gang are fucking cunts”. In a nutshell then; did the Get Happy Tour make you happy? Most definitely.