Jim Testa/ NJ Arts
A funny thing happened to all those kids who started punk bands in the ’70s and ’80s. They grew up; the lucky ones even got old. But they didn’t go away, and neither did their fans.
The Bouncing Souls —New Jersey’s preeminent punk band, fast approaching their 30th anniversary — proved that at Jersey City’s White Eagle Hall on Saturday night, lighting up a sold-out crowd of 800 fans in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Millennials were as hard to find as cocktail dresses in the throng, which heartily sang along to the Souls’ carousing anthems to unity and revelry in leather, denim, band patches, metal studs and the other regalia of punk rock survivors.
George Rebelo became the third Bouncing Souls drummer in 2013, but the other band members — singer Greg Attonito, bassist Bryan Kienlen, and guitarist Pete Steinkopf — have played together since 1989, when four Jersey teens decided to move to New Brunswick and start a basement band rather than go to college. From endless summers on the Warped Tour to world tours, and through 10 solid albums, the Bouncing Souls have nurtured their optimistic, simply chorded punk songs into a worldwide brand, spawning a T-shirt company, a booking agency and a record label from within their tight-knit community. And their audience became “True Believers” as well (to borrow the title of a favorite song). Fans don’t go to a Bouncing Souls show to watch but to participate, whether in the obligatory mosh pit or just singing along at the top of their lungs.