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Less Than Jake and Bowling for Soup         Back for the Attack at The Depot

September 22, 2022

Punk music has been enjoying a resurgence in the last few years and it was alive and well in Salt Lake City this last week when Punk icons Bowling for Soup and Less Than Jake made a stop at The Depot, on their Back for the Attack Tour. 

This tour was a match made in musical heaven as the pop punk sound of Bowling for Soup and the Ska Punk of Less Than Jake worked together perfectly.


Up first on the night was Bowling for Soup and they were fantastic.  So great that they still held the number one spot for a band in the world until they messed up on a guitar chord and then front man, Jaret Reddick, let the crowd know that for a moment Less Than Jake had slipped into the top spot of being the number one band, but they were ready to reclaim it.  This marked how the night would go with the band doing as much a comedy show as a music show and the crowd loved every bit of it through their set.  They opened the show with their single “Almost” before going into a song that Reddick said, “You might not know this one, but you know it,” and launching into their hit “High School Never Ends.”  It turns out that the audience did in fact know the song as everyone in the venue was singing along and jumping as the band played with some of the biggest smiles on their faces.  It is clear that Bowling for Soup love what they do and the passion that they bring to their set seeped into the crowd making this one of the best sets of any concert that I have been to.  Next Reddick reminded everyone how they are from Texas and telling the crowd “This next song is about the great state of Texas, it’s called, Ohio.” Which had everyone laugh before they launched into “Ohio (Come Back to Texas.)

About a quarter of the way into the show Reddick made the announcement that they knew we were there for one song because, “it never fails.  At this point someone always reminds us we have one hit song and that’s what they want to hear.” At this point they unveiled a countdown clock to the end of their set when they would play their smash “1985.” He informed us that we could go get a drink, go to the restroom, take a smoke break, and make it back by the end of the clock to hear that song. The rest of the set was littered with skits and music, such as a session where they all told us jokes and had the audience crown a winner which turned out to be drummer, Gary Wiseman.

Once the clock hit 15 seconds the audience counted it down and then the band launched into an up-tempo version of 1985. It gave the song more of the punk feel to it and the audience loved it singing along to every world and dancing around before giving Bowling for Soup one of the loudest ovations I have ever heard at the end of a show.

Up next was Less Than Jake and they wasted no time building on the energy that was in the venue, opening the show up with “Automatic.”  Vocalist and guitarist, Chris Demakes, showed everyone why their band has been one of the top acts of the genre for the 30 years.  If possible, their energy was even more infectious than Bowling for Soup’s was, but it was close, maybe too close to call.  Trombone player, Buddy Schaub, was full of energy and was everywhere on the stage all at once it seemed.  I would look at someone and he would be there then glance at the drums and he was standing next to them before being front and center on the stage playing again. It was a sight to see, and I loved seeing Schaub work the stage and see the man behind what is one of their iconic sounds for their music.

This set was just as fun as Bowling for Soup’s was and they had their own fun with the fans such as launching toilet paper over everyone, having wacky wavey inflatable men and having the audience wave along with them. The audience loved their antics and the band loved seeing it and it reminded me why these shows are so much fun to attend.  Pop Punk and Ska punk shows have the best energy and are just so infectious and you can’t help but smile in the middle of it all.  The band wrapped up their set with “The Ghosts of You and Me,” one of my personal favorites, “My Very Own Flag,” and their hit “All My Best Friends are Metalheads.” 

This night was one of the best night’s I have had at a concert, and I left with a smile on my face along with the rest of the crowd.

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