Good ol’ boy hardcore at Webster Hall!

Post Author: Zeena Koda

7 Seconds reunite! Bouncing Souls world domination continues!

I’ve never claimed to be their numero uno fan, but somewhere in the depths of my (shell of a) soul lies an underground fan girl with a summer crush on Bouncing Souls. They’re a band that represents something trademark of the New Jersey music scene, whether you’re referencing The Boss or E Town; it unmistakably resonates hardship and triumph. After all, isn’t that what the toxic Jersey landscape breeds? We’re tough cookies, but we have a hopeful, optimistic side too. Like bearers of the up-tempo torches before, (think Mike Ness’ translating power with Social D), the Bouncing Souls wrote the anthems of a generation.

Twenty years, seven-plus albums, world tours and judging by the amount of Souls tattoos I have seen (many on friends of my own), their staying power isn’t nose-diving anytime soon. For their 20th anniversary the band are joining the digital age and releasing their “20th Anniversary Series” as 12 digital tracks unleashed monthly, as well as four 7″ vinyl singles released every three months. The Souls also have secured enough clout to DIY it up and are once again releasing this through their own imprint, Chunksaah Records. Endearingly New Brunswick until the end!

Webster Hall, NYC was sweltering. Perfect condition to attend a show like this because no matter how hard you try you’re getting smothered in a blanket of fan sweat. This particular show was under much hype because of the return of 7 Seconds. I muddled through enough of the sopping wet crowd to get a quick glimpse of Kevin Seconds bouncing around with his timeless New York charm. 7 Seconds hadn’t missed a step. Concise, biting… it was as if the past 20 years hadn’t existed. Marvelously hardcore, the throwback was entertaining if time-stamping; every hot hardcore guy I loved in high school adored 7 Seconds. Gauging the crowd, it was easy to pinpoint the dissection of fans that cross pollinated the Bouncing Souls pool–young kids, middle aged hardcore vets, and random spattering of high heeled women either eagerly mouthing every word or bored and thumbing away at their Crackberry.

As soon as the Bouncing Souls entered in their markedly nonchalant manner, the crowd erupted like kernels simmering in a popper. Many pushed forward to dive off intentionally juxtaposed nooks. In true form they kept output from the popularized album minimal: No “OLE” here (although everyone needs an Adidas anthem that doesn’t involve a necrophilia dream of Jonathan Davis). Front man Greg Attonito’s mannerisms have always reminded me of a puppet from Mr. Rogers, inviting and warm, suppressing the maniacal beast underneath. Adorned in his signature long sleeve button up, he effortlessly pumped out song after song with no sign of vocal fatigue.

There’s something about a Bouncing Souls show that screams out as cathartic, several generations abandoning whatever ails them and succumbing to the sentiment of musical freedom. It’s a powerful one, I’ve felt it many times in my lifetime and when a band generates that for its listeners and disciples, it’s priceless.