Monday, October 15, 2012

Concert Review: Teenage Bottlerocket @ Subbteranean in Chicago October 12, 2012

Teenage Bottlerocket are one of those bands that just keep growing musically with each year, show, and album. Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, it does! And if you think the albums are great, you gotta see them live to REALLY appreciate what they do. The band are out on tour supporting their 5th full length album, "Freak Out!", with help from Toys That Kill and Masked Intruder. And when the band hit the stage at a sold out Subterranean in Chicago this past weekend (10/12), it was time to show this crowd how to party.

I, unfortunately, got to the venue a little late and missed 80% of the opening set by Chicago's own Reaganomics. But, from what I did see and hear, the band were as tight as always. I've had the chance to see this band before and they deliver the goods every time. The crowd seemed to think so to. So, it's a safe bet that they rocked some faces off again on this night.

Up next was the band I was so syked to finally see. Madison, WI quartet Masked Intruder. The band, complete with color coordinated ski masks, hit the stage to the sound of police sirens and the watching eye of one Officer Bradford. Kicking into high gear with "Stick Em Up" the crowd went ballistic slamming and singing along with every song. Besides the whole ski mask thing and between song banter about breaking into homes, the real comedic genius was Bradford who, at certain times in the set, was beating the band members with his billy club, skanking to the beat, doing pushups and even getting into the pit for a little crowd surfing fun.

The band played plenty of tunes from their self titled debut full length ("25 To Life", "Unrequited Love", "Crazy") as well as their debut EP ("ADT Security", "Gimme Parole"). This is a great band with some really talented musicians. It was really great to see them live and enjoy their set as much as I did. I look forward to seeing them again soon.

 Next was Toys That KIll. I'll be nice and just say that I wasn't impressed....moving on!

Now it was time for the band we all came to see. Laramie Wyoming's favorite sons, Teenage Bottlerocket. This was TBR's second time in Chicago in a month. The last time they were here they played a way-too-short set at Riot Fest. But this time it was all about them! As the house lights went down the familiar sound of Slayer's classic song "South Of Heaven" started playing. The bands mascot, and honorary merch guy, Clint, came out wearing a devils mask and holding up the Bottlerocket symbol on a sign. Then the band tore into the first song, and title track, off their new album "Freak Out". And the place exploded with excitement and it didn't stop there.

The band, Ray Carlisle (vocals/guitar), Kody Templeman (vocals/guitar), Miguel Chen (bass) and Brandon Carlisle (drums), were tight and in the pocket all night long playing hit after hit like "Bigger Than Kiss", "Nuthouse" and "Skate Or Die". And the crowd ate right out of their hands for the hour long set. The guys really seemed to enjoy themselves too. Ray was slamming around on stage and tossing drum sticks back and forth with his brother Brandon. Kody was getting right up in the crowds face while playing blistering leads and Miguel was having a blast high fiving us all night long in between songs.

This is a band of true professionals and it really showed when Ray was having some technical difficulties with his guitar late in the set. But he didn't miss a beat, switching guitars and getting right back into it. The crowd was a little unruly at times. There was a mass amount of stage diving right from the get go. But even when you get caught up in the excitement and frenzy, you have to be aware of your surroundings. And poor Ray caught one when a fan ran right into him early on in the set. But he soldiered on like a true champ.

Besides the now legendary songs like "Bloodbath At Burger King" and the pogo frenzied speed of "Bottlerocket", the crowd was also treated to a short version of "Lillington High" during the mid section of "On My Own". And the crowd really lost their minds singing along to it. It's always a blast watching former Lillingtons frontman Kody whip out the occasional Lillingtons tune during a TBR set, and tonight was no different. Also in the set was a stellar version of "Patrick" from the bands debut album "Another Way", which really took everyone by surprise. It's not a song the band normally plays from that album. But, it was a great song, played by a great band, to a great crowd in a great city. Chicago is like a second home to TBR. We always welcome them to our fine city with open arms and lots of love. And the band ALWAYS repays us with energy and excitement. If you get the chance, I highly suggest getting out and seeing these guys when they come to a city near you. On a good night, they can blow your mind. On a GREAT night, they can move mountains. 

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