First up was A, which kind of blew my mind due to how big this band had been 8 years ago. What also blew my mind was how little they appeared to give a crap about past successes and they just got on with rocking like a band half their age. It obviously had an impact as I have never seen an audience listen so intently before at a rock show, as the majority of the audience the pop-blues-rock that was being laid before them was just something they weren't used to hearing. A managed to win the audience over from start to finish and got fantastic responses from the two tracks people actually knew ('Starbucks' & 'Nothing'). There were points were the references to being old got a little annoying but these were soon out of the way, leaving everyone happy to have seen such a quality act do their thing. Wished I could have seen them in their heyday but still utterly impressed with what they brought to the show.
I wish I could say the same about the Dollyrots but they just managed to underwhelm from the get-go. Word to the wise: if the first thing your 'sex-pot' lead singer does is slink up to the mic and purring out "Hello Cambridge, I hope your going to be as nasty as we are" then you better deliver something that makes me feel like I'm about to be violated. Do not follow it up with some of the most dull and tuneless teeny-guitar-pop ever created, it makes you look like muppets who think a mention of beer & kissing will somehow kick them out of a PG rated performance. And if you're going to do a song based on 'I've got a brand new combine harvester' try to be more entertaining than the Wurzels. Or, preferably, just let A back on. I wish I had more to say on this act but there isn't much more to it on either a musical or performance level.
Next up its Forever the Sickest Kids who managed to utterly excite and impress me for the first 10 minutes with a highly explosive blend of pop emo punk that left me breathless. It was an awesome sound, filled with catchy tunes and feelings and an explosive bouncy joy, and it got everyone up on their feet and going for it which was just wonderful to see. And then the singer just kept on being overly demanding and got on my tits. "I wanna see a circle pit!" "I wanna see you crowd surf!" I wanna see you mosh" I wanna I wanna I wanna. Look mate, how about you do something that demands it rather than repeatedly insist on it happening, especially when your asking for these explosions of physicality during the quiet bits of the songs. Very irritating, especially once I realised that the first ten minutes was going to be repeated for the next 40 minutes. Still they got one hell of a reaction from the kids in the crowd so I have to respect them for that.
And finally it was time for Bowling for Soup, who were doing far less dickaround antics on stage than the last time I saw them. Oh they still had fun, doing things like stopping mid song for a photo opportunity and bantering at each other like Morecambe and Wise, but it was a much more 'here to rock your arse' then the near comedy revue show of last time. And they rocked, they rocked hard. Each song perfectly executed, the band working like a well oiled machine, and the selection a wide range of old and new. It was awesome to behold, punk rock with a Texan swing and that slight touch of eighties metal. Brilliant stuff.
So we left happy with the first & last acts and looking forward to doing it all again next year.