Photos and Review by: Allyssa Arens
Lineup: Bowling For Soup, Less Than Jake, Cliffdiver, Doll Skin
Date: August 2, 2022
Location: Tower Theatre, Oklahoma City, OK
On August 2, 90s/2000s alt-rock staples Bowling for Soup and Less Than Jake brought their co-headlining “Back for the Attack” tour to Oklahoma City’s Tower Theatre, with support from Cliffdiver and Doll Skin. With their performances came a night of fun and debauchery, and the show served as a pleasant distraction from the chaos of the outside world, allowing the audience to be transported back to their younger days.
The first band to take the stage, and kicking things off on a very strong note, were Arizona-based rockers Doll Skin. Fronted by Syd Dolezal, the band brought a youthful passion to the stage as they began their set with “Don’t Cross My Path” and “Mark My Words” from their 2019 album Love is Dead and We Killed Her. This was followed by a cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room”. About halfway through their set, Syd gave a brief and much needed speech about the importance of rights for transgender people like themselves, which was then followed by one of my personal favorite songs of theirs, “Eat Shit”. After a couple more songs, they closed with their recent single “Control Freak”. Doll Skin brought a fantastic energy to the stage, and I hope to be able to catch them at a headlining show soon.
Next to take the stage was Oklahoma’s own Cliffdiver. Hailing from Tulsa, the band put on a performance unlike anything I have seen before, in the best way possible. Co-vocalists Briana Wright and Joey Duffy play off of each other phenomenally, and it’s not every day that you see a saxophone player on stage at a rock show but it works extremely well. Cliffdiver cannot be put into a singular genre box, but that is precisely what makes them so compelling as they combine powerhouse vocals with riffs that take influence from genres such as pop, pop-punk, and even ska, to an extent, while lyrically there are even some alternative and emo influences depending on the song. And with memorable song titles such as “Frankie Muniz Don’t Smoke No Mids”, “IKEA Strikes Back”, and “Super Saiyan Al Pacino”, what’s not to love? I look forward to watching Cliffdiver grow in the alternative scene, especially since it’s been somewhat rare for non-country musicians from Oklahoma to make it big.
The third group to hit the stage were ska punk legends Less Than Jake, and though I was not super familiar with their music beforehand, I can say with confidence that it was certainly a unique concert experience. For one, I’ve been to many a rock/metal show, and I am fairly confident that I witnessed more mosh pits break out during this set than I’ve seen at shows of “heavier” bands. As a petite female-passing person, it was slightly terrifying, especially trying to protect my gear in the process, but at the same time I have massive respect for a band who’s been around for close to 30 years still being able to perform such a high energy set and keep the crowd so engaged. Their setlist consisted primarily of material from their albums of the 90s and early 2000s, with a couple of tracks from 2020’s Silver Linings. Less Than Jake may not win over ska skeptics, but they don’t need to-any current or former fans should go see them on this run if they are able to, as they put on a memorable show.
Finally, around 10 p.m., Bowling for Soup took the stage. The set started off energetically with their hit “High School Never Ends”, followed by “Ohio (Come Back to Texas)” and “Almost”. Much like their tourmates Less Than Jake, there were a surprising amount of mosh pits breaking out, so if you’re small like me, the pit may not be the best place to watch. That said, the band were the goofy, energetic selves one would expect from a band with a song called “My Wena”. Other songs in the setlist included “My Hometown”, “Punk Rock 101”, and yes, even the Phineas and Ferb theme “Today Is Gonna Be a Great Day”. They closed with what is perhaps their most well-known hit, “1985”.
All four bands brought their own unique energy to the stage and made the night memorable for everyone in attendance. The current leg of the Back for the Attack tour wraps up this weekend with stops in Arizona and Las Vegas, NV. The tour picks back up in September with Cliffdiver and Keep Flying as support on select dates.