This year, legendary New Jersey punks The Bouncing Souls are celebrating their 30th anniversary. They've released a new EP, as well as a 100 page book chronicling their extensive history. To kick things off, the Souls launched a nationwide tour at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, NJ with help from their new friends in Dead Bars and their long time friends, fellow legends Strike Anywhere - as well as special secret guests, The Explosion.
Seattle's Dead Bars warmed up the crowd and won it over easily. The charismatic band will be releasing their next album, titled Regulars, in May.
Once the fans were all ready to dance, the night brought on a surprise reunion set from The Explosion, and the crowd went wild. It felt like the band had never left, and singer Matt Hock had fun with the crowd, excitedly reminding us that they were the special guests and poking fun at texters in the audience.
Next up were Strike Anywhere, and they also rocked the house. I had a very amusing, and incredibly ironic argument during their set. If you're unfamiliar with Strike Anywhere, their core beliefs promote feminism, kindness, and equality for everyone, among other things. I had kindly asked the man next to me if he'd please watch where his fists were going, as he'd nearly punched me in the face multiple times, and he immediately went on a long tirade about how he was just trying show passionate about the band, how I knew nothing about them, and some other sexist and gatekeeping things..... show your passion, sing along, dance, crowd surf, mosh! Please! Just don't punch people in the face. If it wasn't happening during that band specifically, I wouldn't have found it nearly as entertaining - and after he was done, he was more aware of where his fists went, so was it all worth it? Who knows.
Closing out the night of course were the Bouncing Souls. This show was far from my first time seeing them, but there was some extra excitement radiating throughout the room because of how special the evening was. The Souls graciously acknowledged how cool it was that so many people have followed them throughout their lengthy career, and how honored they felt to still have such a devoted fanbase. It didn't take long for the floor to erupt, bodies flying everywhere, every lyric shouted back to the band. The feeling of camaraderie was not to be missed, especially considering how many people had flown in from all over the country (and elsewhere!) for this momentous occasion.
The Souls will be touring all year, making stops throughout the US, Canada, and Europe. Check the dates, and catch a show. You won't want to miss this.