Teenage Bottlerocket

support Masked Intruder
author AP date 05/05/15 venue Beta, Copenhagen, DEN

Slowly but surely, punk rock has begun creeping onto the program at our favourite Copenhagen venue BETA, and based on the last few such occasions, the genre appears to be growing onto the people as well; a couple of weeks ago Off With Their Heads was very well attended, and the turnout tonight is sufficient to declare the place sold-out - a pleasant sight for yours truly, who’s also been invited to handle the DJ-ing tonight together with a special guest in one of our regular readers from Sweden. Despite being a Tuesday evening, the mood is jovial and long after the headliners drive off on their RV, people stick around requesting classic punk rock tunes whilst emptying the venue’s kegs - perhaps still fuelled by the ultra-positive vibes of the warm-up act:

All photos courtesy of Kenny Swan

Masked Intruder

The first thing that strikes me, watching the spectacle that one’s debut gig with Madison, WI’s quirky pop-punk outfit is unfold, is that their music sounds considerably rawer, and more fleshed out in this setting than it does on record. The band’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics and well-crafted vocal melodies combine in simple, yet irresistible songs that have the capacity to turn even the sourest grimace into a smile, and the show aspect leaves little to be desired as well. During the first four tracks, a character called police officer Bradford has been standing arms crossed with a severe expression on his face just behind Intruder Blue (the four musicians are, for the uninitiated, wearing full face masks each in their own colour), but once “I Fought the Law” is rolled out, he suddenly proceeds to mock-beat the band members before leaping into the audience to assume the role of a kind of party-starter. He moves through the crowd, drinking our beers, encouraging people into jumping and moshing, picking up a kid to ride on his shoulders, and generally ensuring that front-to-back, side-to-side, BETA is boiling in a way seldom seen at concerts on Danish soil.

From the amusement generated by officer Bradford, and the four Intruders’ knack for transforming questionable themes into catchy pop-punk tunes like “Crime Spree” or “Locked Up and Lonely”, the entire crowd seems to distill the energy needed to conjure a festive atmosphere, not to mention a venue floor on which no soul is standing still. As the band finishes an excellent cover of NOFX’s “Linoleum” and busts out “The Most Beautiful Girl” in its wake, Bradford is suddenly on his knees proposing to our writer Lærke ‘LF’ Fenger; while for the following “Heart Shaped Guitar”, a handful of girls including another one of our writers, Hanna ‘HES’ Ella Sandvik are urged on stage to cover the female-sung parts (a task they pull off splendidly) and dance with Intruder Blue, who lays down his guitar halfway for this activity. Indeed, if these proceedings should be condensed into one descriptive word, that word would be fun. Rarely does one bear witness to such enthusiasm crowd-side, nor such humour on stage as is the case with Masked Intruder’s triumphant inaugural show in Denmark. Going down as one of the absolute best concerts featured at BETA thus far, the bar is thus set high for the evening’s headliners, veteran pop-punks Teenage Bottlerocket.

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Teenage Bottlerocket

Unlike Masked Intruder, who rely primarily on humorous lyrics and banter, the antics of officer Bradley, and the involvement of the audience to stage an impressive show, Teenage Bottlerocket are a much more energetic bunch, utilising the full repertoire of punk rock moves from leg-spread jumps to air-kicks to accompany their music. You can tell they’ve got quite the following in Denmark given tonight’s show is sold out, so it is hardly a surprise that the first third of the venue is once again bubbling with fervour as the band begin their journey through no less than 26 songs’ worth of setlist. With six albums, four EPs, four splits and 15 years of experience your show is bound to be bursting with highlights (at the very least for fans), and indeed in this regard Teenage Bottlerocket live up to the hype. “Don’t Want to Go”, “Mutilate Me” and “I Found the One” all receive a raucous response just as does the spontaneous lapse into jamming the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” halfway through “On My Own”; even someone as unfamiliar with the band’s musical output as myself it’s hard to deny their contagious nature.

But at the same time, it’s clear that variety isn’t Teenage Bottlerocket’s strongest asset. Most of the songs follow the same basic formula of three-chord riffs, bright melodies and pronounced choruses, and despite functioning as punk rock songs, the vast majority of them just aren’t from that high echelon of the genre that justifies a whopping 24 similar-sounding songs to be aired in the ordinary set. As the set proceeds thus, so does the level of enthusiasm crowd-side appear to wither, with just brief moments like a cover of Danzig’s “Mother”, for which bassist Intruder Yellow joins the ‘Bottlerocket on stage, as well as “Radio” and “So Far Away” at the extreme end of the set having a revitalising effect. Even then, the band returns for a two-songs encore after a lengthy pause to play a song I do not recognise, as well as the classic “Lost in Space” which seems to go down well. It’s a decent showing from these oldies, but for casual listeners the set is far too stretched to maintain one’s undivided attention.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Skate or Die
  • 2. Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You)
  • 3. Bigger Than Kiss
  • 4. Don’t Want to Go
  • 5. Stupid Games
  • 6. Crashing
  • 7. Blood Bath at Burger King
  • 8. Mutilate Me
  • 9. I Found the One
  • 10. Fatso Goes Nutzoid
  • 11. I Wanna Die
  • 12. TV Set
  • 13. They Call Me Steve
  • 14. On My Own
  • 15. Headbanger
  • 16. Freak Out!
  • 17. Welcome to the Nuthouse
  • 18. Ich bin Ausländer und Spreche Nicht Gut Deutsch
  • 19. Haunted House
  • 20. Bullshit
  • 21. Mother (Danzig cover)
  • 22. Cockroach Strikes Again
  • 23. Radio
  • 24. So Far Away

—Encore—

  • 25. (unknown)
  • 26. Lost in Space

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