It’s not every day that you hear about a Wyoming band cranking out amazing, fast-and-fun punk-rock tunes but that is what Teenage Bottlerocket does best. The foursome, hailing from The Cowboy State, ditched the clichéd Wyoming lifestyle, threw on black leather motorcycle jackets, grabbed their guitars, and created some of the catchiest punk tunes I myself have heard in years.
The band recently released their fourth album, entitled They Came From The Shadows, which happens to also be the band’s first release with the independent punk rock label Fat Wreck Chords.
The band intrigued me with their prior release, Warning Device, when I checked it out last year. With Ramones-like similarities, their pop-punk elegance proved attention-grabbing throughout the disc and I found myself won over by one of the more intelligent bands on the punk scene.
How intelligent? Well it just so happens to be that two members of the band are engineers. Another fun little fact: two members are identical twins.
“Skate Or Die” starts off the album with an ode to younger years of tearing it up complete with classic skate references to the Bones Brigade, street skater legend Rodney Mullen, and even some ’80’s lingo like the term “poseur.” I love the fact that this song is all about the old-school days of skateboarding before it went mainstream.
The girl dodging “Don’t Want To Go” tells of missing the show to avoid the girl at the show. This classic high school tale of shunning from the ex is a cool, likable track.
“Bigger Than Kiss” cracks me up as the band verbally assaults the aging Detroit Rock City make-up wearing men, declaring “Ace Frehley can play guitar but he ain’t no f@cking Kerry King” and shouting, “Calling Dr. Love hey get a load of this, Ray beat the piss out of Peter Criss!” The hilarious song continues to brag that Teenage Bottlerocket will one day be bigger than Kiss and by the end of the song the band seems to think they have proved their boast true.
The disheartening “Not OK” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. I can’t help but to relate this song to many times in my past. “Call In Sick” should be the working class’ national anthem. I could only think of ’80’s punk bands like Black Flag while listening to the song, not because of its music but rather its uncomplicated lyrics that tell a truthful story about the feeling many deal with on a day-to-day basis. “Fatso Goes Nutzoid” contains many elements of ’80’s speed punk, especially with the rifling off of the lyrics.
“Without You” is another track I find myself digging over the others and I love the dual vocals along with the fast-paced drumming. The song bums me out, but in a good way, as it describes missing a special someone who no longer is in the picture. It’s songs like this—you know, the ones you relate to— that make me appreciate music all the more.
The songs on They Came From The Shadows are simple but fun and directly to the point. The album seems to end just as quickly as it begins, begging for another listen. I think that is what I love so much about this band: the simplicity. Not one song here exceeds three-and-a-half minutes, but it doesn’t matter to me at all.
It’s nice to see Teenage Bottlerocket skip out on the extra bells and whistles to sound different. They keep it straightforward on this album (and their previous one, for that matter) and make it sound almost too easy. Fans of the Ramones, Screeching Weasel, the Vandals, and even pre-famed Green Day really need to check out this band if they have not already done so.
Look for Teenage Bottlerocket on tour in support of They Came From The Shadows this fall. From what I have heard, this band is amazing live and I know when they roll though my town next month I will be there to witness it for myself. Click HERE for a complete list of tour dates. This is a punk show not to be missed!!!
I just viewed a clip of an amazing video taken from a Bruce Springsteen live show recently where he brought punk rock legend Mike Ness on stage to play “Bad Luck”. Have you seen it?
This was just another one of those random concert highlights made possible by a live show with a performer who had a good idea for the evening and the fans who were all in attendance that night now have ultimate bragging rights as they can say “I was there.”
I have always been a fan of live shows and will always be. It’s one of those things in life that I enjoy doing and can not see myself quitting anytime soon. The atmosphere alone with screaming fans and endless smiles makes the experience worth returning to. I love being a part of the evening and telling friends what I saw the next day followed by a bold “I was there” bragging statement about something only the ticket holders that night got to see before anyone else.
I admit I do not attend as many shows as I used to but I still make an effort to hit a few local venues and festivals every year just to keep the momentum going. If a band I am a fan of rolls through town I do what I can to make arrangements to get to the venue that night to see them.
When not driving downtown to see shows I like to occasionally listen to a live show from the comfort of my home. It’s easy to say I would rather be in a packed club listening to live music as the experience is like none other, but sometimes just hanging out at home is good enough as well.
Having a decent collection of live albums I thought I would narrow things down a bit and ask myself:
What Are My Top 10 Live Punk Rock Albums?
What Are My Top 12 Live Punk Rock Albums?
Twelve is much better of a number to work with where there is so many live CDs to choose from.
Sure I could have a top live shows list from all genres but that would take me forever. As a music lover there are a ton of recorded shows out there that I own or have listened to that have had a huge impact on me. I think it would be best to start with baby steps with the genre of music that means the most to me; punk rock. I also decided to keep it to actual releases by record labels and include no bootlegs (although I have some amazing live shows that never were released…)
After pondering this question for a couple of days I soon realized how hard this was for me to answer. I had a nice sized list of live shows in my head but found it was no easy task to narrow down. For the record, this was a very difficult list to compile for me as a fan. There are so many other bands that deserve to be on this list but these top twelve mean the most to me.
In no particular order I here are my top twelve live punk rock CDs:
Social Distortion – Live At The Roxy Mike Ness and crew always put on a good live show and this CD is listening proof. Having been a long time fan of this band it was clear that this CD needed to be on my list. Mike Ness more than a punk rock legend, the guy, to me, is a god and will be playing his heart out on stages all over the world until he is 100 years old. I will never grow tired of this CD ever.
NOFX – I Heard They Suck Live Without a doubt this was one of the most entertaining live CDs I have ever heard. I remember buying the cassette and playing it over and over memorizing even the talking in between songs. NOFX puts on a fine show as well featuring all sorts of independent hits. I find it humorous that I list this CD directly after Social D because this show was played at the Roxy as well to a crowd of rowdy fans. If you have not heard it you are missing out, unless you are not a fan of NOFX.
The Clash –From Here To Eternity Live Ok I am sure you are wondering why this album has a big line through it. Truth is I loved this CD for years until I heard a recent live release…
The Clash –Live At Shea Stadium Now before you all jump on me and remind me that this CD is just The Clash (minus the original drummer) playing more popular songs hear me out. This show was not even a headlining show (they were opening for The Who) and the year was 1982; right about the time The Clash was headed on a downward spiral the would lead to the dismissal of the group. The set was shorter than their other live CDs but to me it was a great listen start to finish. I have listened to this CD a lot since it was released and it has made me reignite my love for one of the greatest punk bands of my time.
The Dead Kennedy’s – Live At The Deaf Club Just thinking of how this shoe was recorded in 1983 still amazes me. My first and only taste of a live performance by this band was when I heard the improv “Night Of The Living Rednecks” on Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death. I was sucked in by Jello Biafra’s method of story telling on this track and of course a fan of The Dead Kennedy’s so it was more or less a bonus to me when a full length live CD was finally released. It also kills me that I was 2 years old when this concert took place. I’d love to hear from someone who was at this show just to hear their personal experience.
Ramones – Loco Live Do I really need to explain myself here? Over thirty quick punk rock classics on one CD from the band that started punk rock in the states. I don’t think many folk can disagree that this CD belongs in anyone’s live punk CD list. It’s not top quality but it sure is fun as hell.
Bad Religion – Tested This CD was not added into my collection for quite some time mainly because the CD was not readily available locally to me. Once I did get my hands on it though it became one of my favorite CDs to listen to by Bad Religion. I loved how the band recorded this CD, by plugging directly into their mics which in turn eliminated a lot of the crowd making for a more solid listen. With a solid setlist and exceptional performance by the punk rockers this is one of my favorite love CDs out there.
Flogging Molly – Alive Behind The Green Door This Irish punk rock act is, without a doubt, one of the greatest bands to see live in my opinion. One thing I love about this disc is that it was released before any of their studio albums and recorded at Molly Malones, the bar where this band got their start. There are not a lot of bands out there that have followed this approach by releasing a CD full of songs that later would be studio recorded on to various releases over the years. The performance is clearly under the influence but ever so much fun.
Misfits – Evilive The recording of this live show is horrible yet I love it. It is about the closest listen I have ever gotten to true live Misfits from back in the day. I did once witness the Misfits when Michael Graves took over the singing duties but it was no Glen Danzig and spite the good time I had it was not a genuine Misfits experience. This is a show I only dreamed of saying “I was there.” Full of classic songs, I also loved hearing Henry Rollins guest sing on “We Are 138.”
Death By Stereo – Death Alive Many people may have not heard this CD when it first released as it was first given out for free with issues of the Volume 3 issue of Law of Inertia magazine in 2003. In 2007 the live performance was reissued by the band as Law Of Inertia went out of print and many fans missed out on this incredible recording. If you are a fan Death By Stereo or just good wholesome hardcore punk you really should check out this CD. This benefit show is full of so much energy I am surprised no one was hurt in the recording of it.
Face To Face – Live: Face To Face Trevor Keith and crew have always had a special place in my punk rock heart. I love this band, always will, and this CD is listening proof of how great they are. The songs are all raw and full of energy and just impress track after track. When I think of a live album that I could listen to over and over again this is the one.
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Live From The Middle East Ska is not dead, never was, never will be. Ska may not be very popular these days but if you are a fan of the genre I suspect will be making a comeback soon, I am sure you know who the Bosstones are and very well have heard this CD. The performance contained in this CD makes it worthy of multiple listens. Such a great CD from beginning to end.
Against Me! – Americans Abroad!!! Against Me!!! Live In London!!! Singing and shouting and good times for all on this CD. If you only have New Wave in your collection I think it would be best to put that down and go out and find this CD. I find myself singing along as if I were actually at the show while listening to this CD. That to me is a good live album.
Again, this list was so hard to compile. I would make a list of a whole bunch of band’s live CDs and then start crossing them out once I thought of another. I am sure I will be hearing from a lot of folk telling me I missed someone and at that time I will smack myself in the head and hate myself for 9 seconds because I forgot about a phenomenal show. I am ok with that though because I know there are a lot of awesome shows out there. A lot of artists can be put in this list but after all, it is my top 12.
I’d love to hear what your top 12, 10, even 2 are! As music fans we are entitled to what we like and sharing the love for music is a great thing.