Teenage Bottlerocket – The Hairy Dog, Derby – Eyewitness Review

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Music, along with wrestling is a passion of mine. I love watching live music and have decided to try and expand my reviews to anything that I have experienced live. I have had the pleasure of seeing Teenage Bottlerocket live before, in a very sweaty gig in Wolverhampton some two years ago when they toured their previous album; Tales From Wyoming.

Their latest album, their first on a welcome return to Fat Wreck Chords sees them trying their hand at covers of bands they have toured with, or friends of theirs. It’s a very fun album, different from some of their previous offerings, but still enough to quench the thirst of any fan while we wait for the next full length LP. I join them in Derby’s alternative music venue; The Hairy Dog as they warm up for their set at Rebellion festival this weekend. Let’s get to it!

They opened up as they mean to carry on, loud and fast! “Freak Out”, “Don’t Want To Go” and “Bigger Than Kiss” in quick succession. The crowd shuffled further and further forward with each song, the spaces getting filled up quickly. As they were first on (we were treated to a Good Riddance / Face 2 Face double header for the main event) there were some teething problems in the early part of the set, calls to raise the volume of the monitors obviously annoyed both Ray and Kody but they were professional and tight as ever musically throughout.

As the show progressed each band member eased into their relevant roles; Miguel showed us how easy it is to play bass in this particular band (or made it look way too easy) by playing one handed at points while using his other hand to scratch his head and pick his nose! It was the first time I have seen Darren live on drums, it’s safe to say he is awesome and fits in well with the band’s dynamic. I will be looking forward to what he brings to the band as they progress.

Kody got to sing a few belters, “In The Pit” and “Headbanger” got all the heads nodding, “Stupid Games” got people singing along. “They Call Me Steve”, a song starring a video game character showed the bands diversity as songwriters. The set spanned almost the length and breath of their back catalogue, there was definitely something for everyone.

At one point, Ray Rocket snarled at the crowd; commanding them to get more lively before throwing himself into another fast paced punk song. As if by magic, the crowd animated and a circle pit formed. “Cruising For Chicks” and “Crashing” were classic examples of attitude wrapped up in around 2 minutes of perfect punk poetry.

The band showed off a couple of new songs. One of my personal favourites from the new album is “Don’t Go” and it was really something to hear the harmonies between the two lead vocals live. My single criticism of the entire show is that they only played that and “Why The Big Pause” from the new album, but then again I could have heard them play every single song 50 times over and not get bored. I hope that when they visit these shores again a few more covers enter the setlist (“Robocop Is A Halfbreed Sell Out” is a song I would love to hear live).

As the set franticly headed towards it’s conclusion we paid tribute to both Tony Sly and Brandon in a touching cover of “Via Munich” which is a beautiful song and a welcome addition to the Bottlerocket setlist. I lost count of how many songs they performed at around the 15 mark, it was probably closer to 20. Even though they were on first, they were determined to kick ass and hype up the remainder of the night. They certainly did that and I’m sure also made some new fans along the way.

While the other bands were on I managed to catch the eye of Ray and had a brief chat with him, he seemed genuinely pleased that people traveled to see them play. He gave myself and my girlfriend a massive hug before we left. I had a big smile on my face for the whole journey home.

The new album is quirky, fun and full of great cover songs which have been been given the Bottlerocket treatment in some way or another. It shows the band has plenty tricks up their sleeve and I hope to hear some more of these songs on the road. Buy the album and give it a listen, tell me what you think of it.

They are about to embark on a tour of Australia before heading home on a well deserved break. I hope they come back soon and as many people as possible go to their shows, they are amazing to watch live and truly one of the genre’s gems. I hope to see you there next time!

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