By Bradley Halcrow

IF CHRISTMAS hasn’t hit Southampton already, it did last night as pop punk royalty came to town.

Bowling For Soup came back to the UK shores this week for their second UK tour this year.

The Get Happy Tour 2018, back in February, was the bands biggest and most successful UK tour, and saw them play to their largest UK crowd at London’s Brixton Academy.

Last night saw the Texans return to the city’s O2 Guildhall for their Almost Christmas UK tour, which started in Preston on Monday, and finishes in Leeds on the coming Monday.

The night started with girl group Not Ur Girlfrienz, who welcomed the crowd with Hayley Williams (Paramore) and Avril Lavigne vibes.

Next up were American pop punk band Patent Pending, whose frontman Joe Ragosta got the crowd going - ready for the main event.

There was even a special cameo from BFS’s frontman Jaret Reddick to get the fans hyped.

Then, as the clock struck 9.15, the 46-year-old was joined on stage by bandmates Chris Burney, Gary Wiseman and former Patent Pending bassist Rob Felicetti.

As they came on stage, Reddick reappeared in a light-up Christmas hat and they burst straight into a verse of ‘Corner Store on Christmas’ before kicking off with favourite ‘Almost’, although Reddick broke the song before the final chorus, to tell the crowd how he couldn’t keep it up.

“It’s too hot.” He said, as he took the hat off “I still wore it and that’s all that counts.”

Later in the show, the 24-year-old band were set to turn the stages Christmas lights on with a big red button.

That was before Reddick spotted a man in a Scooby Doo onesie and called him on up to do the switch-on himself.

The band joked about Scooby Doo having an English accent, and even called Joe Ragosta back on stage to play the role of Shaggy.

The band, who have been announced to perform at Reading Festival next year, carried on performing fan favourites including ‘High School Never Ends’, ‘Punk Rock 101’ and ‘Ohio’, as well as covering Fountain of Wayne’s hit ‘Stacy’s mom’, joking about how they’re more famous for that than any of their own songs.

Between each song Jaret Reddick laughed and joked with the crowd, including witticisms of farting on the tour bus and waking everyone up.

After a third and final rendition of ‘Corner Store on Christmas’, during which he encouraged the crowd to count down the 12 days, the Americans took a beer break before their encore, which consisted of the ever popular ‘Girl All the Bad Guys Want’ and ‘1985’, with the occasional help from Not Ur Girlfrienz and Patent Pending before re-assuring the crowd they’ll return next year.

Anyone who wasn’t ready for Christmas beforehand, will definitely be in the spirit now.