Foolproof punk

The Bouncing Souls, Lifetime, The Ergs!, Roxy, August 16, 2007
By JON MEYER  |  August 20, 2007
HEARTFELT: Lifetime's heart remained firmly upon the quintet's collective sleeve.

Let us take a moment to appreciate New Jersey. Pure sweaty Americana: diners, freeways, and the Boss. Not to mention the Bouncing Souls, Lifetime, and the Ergs!, who made sure the crowd knew that their show at the Roxy a week ago Thursday was as close as they’d get to a New Brunswick basement circa ’93. (“Minus the asbestos,” noted bassist Joey Erg.) If you’re into punk or hardcore, these bands hardly need an introduction. They tour constantly, save for Lifetime, who reunited last year after a decade off, releasing a homonymous album (their fourth) that’s as fast and fresh and sincere as any group of hardcore guys singing about relationships can get. The Roxy made the wise decision to forgo the audience barrier, paving the way for the appropriate all-ages stage dives and “whoa-oh” sing-alongs.

Before their set, Lifetime guitarist Dan Yemin offered a heartfelt dedication to Kelly Wallace, the 26-year-old Boston resident who was killed in a bicycle accident in May. When the band took the stage, that heart remained firmly upon the quintet’s collective sleeve, singer Ari Katz swaying and stomping around, dodging crowd surfers, and politely asking a centerstage bouncer to move. (“You’re in my zone, man.”) The mix was bad — way more crunchy than it needed to be — but nobody seemed to mind. Besides, the songs were fast and short, with melodies designed to transcend technical deficiencies.

Twenty years into a storied career, the Bouncing Souls are more an institution than a band, traveling the globe playing upbeat punk that was “the soundtrack of what I want to be,” as their “Private Radio” so eloquently states. On stage, the four guys were goofy, heckling back at the crowd, starting songs then stopping, and going way off the set list. Singer Greg Antonito (looking sharp in pinstripes and white tie) forgot the words to some of the band’s older, more hyperactive songs. But there were enough fists in the air, kids on stage, and drops of sweat pooling on the dance floor that such flubs hardly mattered. All that was missing was the asbestos.

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  Topics: Live Reviews , Bouncing Souls, Dan Yemin, Kelly Wallace
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