Written by GE 138.
I started drinking early. There was no way I was seeing Teenage Bottlerocket sober. Nope! So after a major pregame session at my house, Jeremy, Bob, and I, headed off to the Crown & Anchor for more booze, some food, and then we slithered off Downtown and got to the Beauty Bar, oh, I dunno, about 9:30, which, I think, was the time listed on the flyer. There was a rumor that some Local band was opening up the gig, and that some of the guys from The Independents were gonna be on stage with them, but that never materialized, although members of the Independents were in attendance. Whatever. We weren't allowed to go to the back patio area, because they weren't through setting things up back there, so we were forced to stand around in the front bar area bored, listening to some heavy, heavy Reggae for some reason; Barrington Levy, Peter Tosh, Toots & The Maytals, stuff like that, which wasn't bad to hear at all, but just not something I wanna listen to while waiting around for a Teenage Bottlerocket gig, ya know? We killed the waiting time drinking and hanging out with Karl Bakla and his lovely wife Bethany, Andy from Surrounded By Thieves, who was engrossed with Jeremy about something, and after about an hour they finally let us into the back patio area, and after a quick run over to the merch area to see what my options were, I queued up front to see what was up with this first band, who were setting up really quickly and getting ready to play.
The Copyrights started playing and the immediate problem to my left was that, in the alley directly parallel to the back area of the Beauty Bar, the City was doing construction work, and you couldn't hear the band over the racket. Bulldozers and a guy with a jackhammer were making one hell of a noise, and the Copyrights were hard to hear because of it, but that was alright because they sucked anyways. Sounded like watered down Face To Face, if that's even possible, so I spent the majority of their set drinking Newcastle out of a can and being entertained by my crazy friends who were all having a bit too much fun. I talked Bethany out of punching some dude who hit her while she was in the pit, and Karl hoisted Bob upon his shoulders for some reason, and together the 2 sang some Accused song that I couldn't recall to some lucky soul. Yeah, it was THAT kind of night. :-) Every time I tried to get into what the Copyrights were playing on stage, I just couldn't do it. Wasn't feeling it. I got more enjoyment out of watching Karl act like he was conducting a symphony made up of the construction workers raising a ruckus than it was watching the band. At one point, in between songs, the Singer of the Copyrights was trying to say something to the crowd, and the guy with the jackhammer was blocking out every other word he was saying, perfectly timed, and it was pretty funny. It was almost like they planned it! LOL The guys seemed to be OK with the construction noise hindering them, and they finished up their set and some people dug them, so whatever. I was glad they were done. I fired one up and I got myself into position for Teenage Bottlerocket. I wasn't missing a gawd damn thing. :-)
I was fixated on the Brandon, the Drummer. He was just sitting back behind his custom SJC drum kit, grinning, and I was envious. Lucky bastard. The rest of the guys were just standing around, getting their gear ready, looking completely out of it, or mildly possessed, or a combination thereof. Ray stepped up to the mic and said a few things to pump the crowd up, Kody did too, and then the band launched into Headbanger and the place went fucking spastic!! Some guy with a skull mask and a hoodie on was jumping around with a big pink sign with the Teenage Bottlerocket logo on it, and those of us who weren't pogoing up and down to the beat were slamming into each other in the circle pit directly behind me. I had no idea of what all of my Friends were doing, or even where they were, because I was just lost in the heavenly bliss that is Teenage Bottlerocket's music. They sounded phenomenal. There was no more construction work being done, the band sounded tight and together and LOUD and they were just showing no mercy on the Beauty Bar's outdoor stage. Mile high leaps in the air were the call to battle, with both Ray and Miguel (bass) trying to outdo each other in that department. The band was on fire and it was fucking glorious to see. I had been waiting weeks to see them, and it was worth every minute of it.
The people who came out to worship at the Pop Punk altar that Teenage Bottlerocket are standing upon were being rewarded with one amazeballz performance from the band, with both Ray and Miguel (again) going out of their way to work the crowd into a frenzy. People reached out to touch them, to interact with them, and every time they did, it blocked my view of the drummer Brandon! hahaha That dude is seriously sick and his constant 16th's and sometimes even 32's were incredible, and he does it with his arm strangely, perfectly horizontal. Weird. His drumming was keeping the Teenage Bottlerocket machine running at full speed, and the songs kept coming one right after the other at a blitzkrieg pace. The crowd was eating it up. I stood there grinning in absolute bliss, stunned stupid by the brilliance on display. The songs were only being separated sometimes by little 10 second snippets from some classic or trashy Horror movies dialogue, or by the band playing 30 second covers of Turbonegro or Ramones songs. It was obvious that the band had been on Tour for awhile. They were in perfect unison.
I couldn't even keep track with what was being played. Don't Want To Go, Stupid Games, Mutilate Me, they even played a new song called I'm The One Smoking Marijuana Motherfucker! It was great! hahaha I was told later on by someone on Facebook that they played Who Killed Sensei? too, but I must of missed it when I was jumping around or taking pictures or something. Teenage Bottlerocket sounded incredible. They seemed to be having fun playing, and everyone in the place was sure as shit enjoying hearing them playing, that's for sure! Alas, all good things have to come to an end, unfortunately, but the last 3 songs that Teenage Bottlerocket did were nothing short of perfectly amazing: Freak Out, Bigger Than Kiss, and a mind blowing cover of a Joy Division song, Ice Age, that literally made me cum all over myself. The pure evilness and ferociousness of the original song was magnified and intensified a thousandfold, and it gave me fucking chills to hear them play it. I looked around to see if anyone else got it, was feeling it, whatever, and, of course, nobody did. Oh well. Their loss. The irony of a Joy Division song being played in a Hipster haven such as the Beauty Bar and not being fawned over was funny to me. ;-) A life affirming set from Teenage Bottlerocket that blew the doors off of the place. There was no way the Queers were going to be able to top this. No way. Not on the best day of their career. No. Fucking. Way.
And I was right. The Queers came out and sucked the biggest dick I've seen a band suck in a long time. They opened with a song I didn't know, and they had to stop playing it about a few minutes in, because they said they couldn't hear anything out of the monitors. Whatever. Then they launched into You're Tripping, and it sounded horrible. It was slow, and the Drummer was playing it all wrong. I stood there laughing, because no one seemed to notice or care that it sounded like shit, they were more concerned with slamming around than listening to the band, who sounded mediocre in the most generous of terms. They launched into another song and were fucking that one up too, and I was just done. I didn't wanna be there anymore. Maybe it was because Teenage Bottlerocket had just blown up the stage just moments before, or maybe it was because the Drummer was just sucking ass, or maybe I just something better to do, whatever it was, I knew I didn't want to be standing around watching this embarrassing display of mediocrity from a band I once liked. I snapped off a few photos of Joe Queer for the website, and after a quick detour to the merch booth to grab some missing pieces to my Teenage Bottlerocket vinyl collection, I made a beeline to the door. I was glad I wasn't alone in this sentiment, because quite a few people were doing the same thing. I didn't want The Queers to ruin the awesomeness that I had witnessed from Teenage Bottlerocket. I stumbled my way out of the Beauty Bar and down Fremont St. singing Teenage Bottlerocket songs. The amazing feeling I had at that particular moment lasted for days afterwords. :-)
For more Pictures of The Queers, please click here. For more Pictures of Teenage Bottlerocket, please click here.