By Bob Ruggiero
By Hilary Hughes
By Peter Gerstenzang
By David R. Adler
By Devon Maloney
By Brian McManus
By Jessica Hopper
By Harley Oliver Brown
Fuck the cool kids. They can have their post-rock arm-folding marathons and death-disco fashion shows. I'm sticking with the weirdos and the slobs and the fatties, because we have more fun.
There wasn't a cool kid in sight at Irving Plaza two Thursdays ago, making the club a safe space for pimply adolescents in Blink-182 T-shirts (with moms on the sidelines) to live out their pop-punk fantasies of a world where, as Boston bubble-rockers American Hi-Fi put it in the title of their Cars-eriffic new single, "The Geeks Get the Girls." And it does happen: When adorably goofy Cali joke-rapper MC Lars rhymed about his Simpsons underpants, then showed them off, the female squeals of delight were deafening. The reaction was even louder than when Lars brought out headliners Bowling for Soup to back him up on a sloppy version of his meta-screamo anthem "Signing Emo."
As for BFS themselves, if there's a happier or unlikelier bunch of Top 40 gate-crashers out there, well, I'd like to party with them. The Texas four-piece hammed it up big-time throughout their hour-long set of wisecracking radio hits, fan faves, and silly covers (" . . . Baby One More Time," "You Give Love a Bad Name," "Drop It Like It's Hot"), with frequent breaks for beer, jokes, and interpretive dance. (Bassist Erik Chandler does a wicked "I'm a Little Teapot.") Two-ton guitarist Chris Burney busted some gelatinous Funky Robot moves and fondled his instrument more than he played it, while faux-hawked singer-guitarist Jaret Reddick threw picks in the air and caught them in his mouth. The set even contained a classic Spinal Tap moment during "Punk Rock 101," when a roadie was forced to aid in the inflating of one of two giant hands flashing the heavy-metal devil horns sign.
Over at the merch table, the crowd clamored for BFS comic books, wallets, towels, wristbands, beer cozies, and belts. The band rewarded their fans' loyalty with frequent heartfelt thanks and the taking of many requests. Not to mention the comfort in knowing that it's pretty awesome not being a cool kid.