The lights were dimmed as a myriad of students poured into the Great Plains Ballroom of the union on May 5. Bowling for Soup, with their opener Keys and Corridors, performed for hundreds of NDSU students and community members with their signature rock style.
The whole ballroom was transformed into a nice performance space, with crowds able to stand around and move fluidly through each other during the songs. The setup of the venue allowed the audience to be very close to the performers, giving an intimate feel to larger than life bands.
The opening band set the mood for the rest of the night with a loud and demanding song, starring two fierce female singers, invoking comparisons to the fiery Hayley Williams of Paramore. After starting off with a bang, the Ohio band Keys and Corridors revealed they had a 17-hour drive to make it to Fargo tonight with every hour worth it according to them.
While many openers act just as placeholder, Keys and Corridors brought their own lyrics and original songs to make their performance standout. The passionate performance had one cathartic song written by the guitarist/vocalist who had a girl steal her boyfriend previously. That same guitarist/vocalist also was capable of quite an impressive “screamo” voice to accent the already high-energy songs.
In the middle of the opening performance, the band went acoustic for a few songs to bring the audience down a few levels. One of the more serene songs, called “Furniture,” described a girl who didn’t cope with things in the best way, showcasing how “music can really break down barriers.”
By the seventh song, the band was back to its upbeat vibe with erratically flashing lights and head banging galore continuing into songs eight and nine. After their 10th song, the “cursed” one that seems to bring misfortune wherever the band travels, they moved into their final number.
The 50-minute set definitely accomplished its job of warming up the crowd to the main event. The band took a selfie with the crowd after performing and before the long, 20-minute wait for Bowling for Soup.
After a pre-recorded “hype up” into to the band, the long-awaited performers came onstage to much applause. After welcoming the crowd, the lead singer Jaret explained the difference in appearance by stating “I did not eat the lead singer of Bowling for Soup, I just ate a s—t ton of pizza.” Another iconic line spoken before the band played any music was, “We were told we couldn’t drink during the show, but we heard we’d be the most sober ones here!”
The whole set started off pretty strong with “The Bitch Song” kicking off their night while setting a mood of crass jokes and lewd language. In the middle of the first song, the band continued with plenty of banter and conversation between members while bringing up the topic of circumcision and dick jokes.
The next few songs went well, with the guitarist constantly flipping his guitar pick in the air and catching it in a flashy manner. The band revealed they went to Sickies Garage earlier in the day, which caused several to respond in resounding cheers. The jokingly self-proclaimed, “Greatest band to ever live in the history of the world,” forced everyone in the audience to raise their hands, do spirit fingers, jazz hands and even wacky inflatable arm flailing tube man arms.
Right before one of their most innocent songs, the band started a chant of “F that guy” that spread throughout the room, giving a nice contrast to the night. Their most family friendly song, the “Phineas and Ferb” theme song, was met with much adoration from the crowd.
Eventually they went back to their more hardcore songs, even playing the Fountains of Wayne hit “Stacy’s Mom” to please the audience as they demanded songs they could sing along to.
One of the most memorable lines of the night, spoken jokingly by the band’s front man, was, “If you guys keep singing other people’s songs we can just go,” which was said after the whole crowd sang Smash Mouth’s “All Star” during a quiet moment. The students sang the whole first part of the song until the end of the chorus before the band had the crowd literally sing “Row your Boat” in a round to continue the theme of “singing other people’s songs.”
Near the end of the night, the band left the stage before playing their hit “1985,” forcing the audience to chant for an encore performance of their biggest hit and the reason that half the audience was there. Their current rendition of the classic song was a great way to finish the concert and give everyone what they came for.
Earplugs would have been very useful for both bands’ performances, especially with the smaller room and the large speakers blaring the high-energy music.
A constant theme throughout the show was sound issues that the band kept talking about to their crew.
After every other song it seemed, the band would ask for vocals to be turned up or down, playback to be altered and several other sound issues. However, the band turned this misfortune into a chance to entertain; every time they would talk to their sound guy, “Gabe,” they had the audience wave to him “because it was his first day.”
When asked about the concert, freshman Megan Thorson said, “It exceeded my expectations. I thought they were really good even through it’s been a long time since they were a big deal.”