30 Years Of The Bouncing Souls
Written by Kayla Albee
Exit/In hosted the Nashville night of The Bouncing Souls’ 30th anniversary tour. With a predominantly East Coast heavy lineup for the first leg of this tour and a packed venue, it was sure to be a night to remember.
Crazy & The Brains started off the show and heavily channeled that old school underground vibe. Vocalist Jesus Chrisoph radiated theatrical charisma from his bold outfit choice to his enthusiastic performance. This band packs a punch! A unique aspect of this group is that, while they initially come across as a traditional punk rock band, they have a Xylophone player (Jeffrey Rubin) which allows them shift into a more modern rock sound which easily makes them an eclectic group and one that’s on the rise.
The Casualties were up next, and their Nashville fan base didn’t hold back — a pit was started almost immediately. With a set list including newer tracks from their latest album Written In Blood (“Borders” really got the crowd going) they offered an aggressive brand of punk, with rougher vocals and more intricate riffs. In between songs, vocalist David Rodriguez spoke about their anti-racist stance and dedicated songs to the Mexican fans in the audience.
Up next as direct support were The Bronx. This band completely dominated the stage and held the crowd’s attention from the moment that their set started. There are no bells or whistles about them - they simply delivered fast, circle pit inducing punk rock and didn’t hold back. Vocalist Matt Caughthran asked the crowd if Nashville was a punk rock town - the answer was given in the form of the crowd going wild. Countless people believe Nashville to be a strictly country music city, and that’s just not the case!
Caughthran worked his way off of the stage, and continued to sing while down in the pit with fans. It’s clear that this band isn’t afraid to get down and dirty. As they neared the end of their set, the crowd really got going for “Knifeman” and set the tone for the remainder of the show.
By the time that The Bouncing Souls took the stage, Exit/In was totally packed. Fans peered over the balcony to get a good look at the stage, and people even congregated on the stairs leading up to the upper level. Vocalist Gregory Attonito echoed the sentiment of the previous bands and expressed how much everyone on the tour enjoyed being around each other and how fun their time spent together had been so far.
It turns out this this was the first night that The Bouncing Souls had ever performed in Nashville, which is wild to think about seeing as they’ve been around for 30 years! While newer, the same goes for Crazy & The Brains.
Kicking their set off with “Hopeless Romantic” off of their 1999 release of the same name, the passion from the crowd radiated throughout the venue. Their entire set had people stage diving, crowd surfing, and finger pointing while shouting the words at the top of their lungs. Pulling from old and new releases, the band worked through a stacked set list, including fan favorites “True Believers,” and “East Coast! Fuck you!”
As their set was coming to an end, ”That Song” seemed to hit the crowd particularly hard. As someone who initially discovered The Bouncing Souls by way of a CD at the local library when I was a kid, it was almost unreal to see this band take the stage after 30 years of doing what they love. I experienced their music while sitting at the kitchen table in my childhood home, yet here I was jamming out with people ranging in age who I’m sure experienced the same songs live and in person when they were first released. The most punk rock thing that you can do is follow your heart, and that’s exactly what The Bouncing Souls have continued to do for 30 years.