Teenage Bottlerocket

support The 20Belows
author PP date 08/08/13 venue BETA, Copenhagen, DEN

Apologies for the delay on this one, folks, but thanks to all the preparations and the actual event of our 10th anniversary celebration during the past weekend, I've simply had no free time at all to sit down and jot down the words for the long-awaited return of Teenage Bottlerocket to our shores. Now, there's only one band in Copenhagen that fits musically in their support, and that's the no-frills punk rockers in The 20 Belows, so it's really no surprise to see them land the support slot in the absence of any foreign support bands touring alongside the light-hearted folks in Bottlerocket.

The 20 Belows

The 20 Belows

As we've come to witness from The 20 Belows in the past, the vast majority of their sets are played straight up with few pauses, which actually fits their fast paced, old-school tinged no-frills pop punk quite well. They open with couple of highlight tracks from 2009's "For Better Days", where "Saying Sorry" has the crowd moving a little bit, and the title track follows immediately after with a small sing along. At this stage there's a good response from the crowd, even if the band are slightly static on stage and content to sticking to their corner each. They're playing as a trio tonight as one member is still living in the Netherlands, but all things considered the set goes reasonably well, and the new song that was debuted sounded pretty good and catchy on first listen. There's even a circle pit for the last song tonight. Nonetheless, my gripe with the band's performance is still the same as it has always been: they look and feel very awkward on stage in between songs, not really knowing what to say to the crowd. That's all well and fine, because it's not a prerequisite to say anything on stage, as anyone who has seen Against Me! in the old days will attest to, so perhaps The 20Belows should stick to that in the future. Me? I still liked their set alongside a few friends in the crowd, but I can't lie: the crowd support consisted mostly of curious bystanders tonight awaiting for Bottlerocket to take on stage.

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Bands, this is how to open your headlining set

Teenage Bottlerocket

A chainsaw, a Halloween mask, a huge sign that says Bottlerocket on it, and a few riffs of Metallica to start out the show. Yep, as you know from their records, these guys know how to have fun, and aren't afraid to show off just how much fun they're having when playing live. Case in point: when "Headbanger" follows, their bassist is introduced as the crowd leader for tonight, so whenever he raises his hands/bass/anything up, the crowd is meant to cheer loudly every time, which is hilarious when he times them at the most awkward times during songs, in between banter, and whatnot. Next up: machine gun style guitar 'shooting' at the crowd during the next few songs, and a huge sing along to "Welcome To The Nuthouse" shortly after. And later, when they play "Bottlerocket", the band asks the crowd not to mosh pit, not to circle pit, but to pogo dance for the entire duration of the song (just under a minute, luckily). Needless to say, the whole crowd looks freaking ridiculous and hilarious at the same time. During a cover medley the band's instruments are thrown behind their necks for Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Pop" - which of course means everyone has to cheer because the bassist's hands are up again.

Teenage Bottlerocket

Overall, there's an awesome energy at the packed show, with a basement-style sweaty, intimate vibe hanging in the air. The sing alongs are big to many songs, and the cover of "Via Munich" by Tony Sly - followed by a heartfelt dedication of the song to the late punk legend - fits in well as well. But by the time we hit the 35 to 40 minute mark, the one dimensionality of the wooh-oh-oh-oh sing alongs and the simplistic riffs is starting to catch up on the listeners, especially when the big hits start to run dry. The four song encore, which features both "Radio" and "Bigger Than Kiss" underline how easy it is to learn to sing along to Bottlerocket songs, but in the end, what makes this a good show as opposed to a great show is the one-dimensional feel that deprives the crowd energy towards the end. Otherwise, a solid showing by one of the best names in the genre.

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Photos by: Philip B. Hansen

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