I had a conundrum. I was exhausted from a busy week when I noticed my calendar screaming at me that Teenage Bottlerocket was in town. I was so tired I seriously considered skipping the schlep out to The Meadows in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to see them, but I’m sure glad I didn’t.
Though arriving an hour after doors opened, I was still a bit early and was in time to mill around, people watch, and have a couple of “White Claws,” hey, I was trying to take it easy. I was exhausted, remember?
The opening band, The Young Rochelles, had a drummer/lead vocalist who had acid reflux, could not sing, and could only drum. Hence, they had someone fill in and play a tight set, considering the circumstances, of Ramones’ covers.
The next band was Tightwire from Minneapolis, and though I was not familiar with them, I enjoyed their energy and sound.
By the time Teenage Bottlerocket hit the stage, I’d had ample time to people-watch and make note of the crowd.
The closest thing to hardcore prototypical punks was artwork on T-shirts, but the bands on the T-shirts were telling. I was wearing a Los Suiziox Tee, repping my pals and the punk scene from Medellin, Colombia, primarily because it was my only clean tee shirt.
The band tee’s I noticed included the following:
Pennywise, Bouncing Souls, Scandals, Menzingers, The Bonspiels, Nofx, Ramones (of course), Dead Milkmen, Descendants
The crowd was a predictable approximate 70%/30% male-to-female ratio, but the ages were all over the place. There were plenty of geezers, even older than me… or maybe they were more “well worn.” Still, some young girls and guys were in the audience; ethnically, it was as diverse as you’d expect in Bushwick Brooklyn.
When the boys from Laramie, Wyoming, hit the stage, I realized I had been people-watching them as they mixed and mingled in the crowd, just like any other nondescript concertgoer with the lead singer, Ray Carlisle, sporting a sleeveless Descendants’ Tee.
When they hit the stage to “shred,” it was a calm crowd. Still, their quick, short songs and clever banter in between songs quickly got us all going, and we even got together for a group photo with the lights full blast.
The sound from the venue was only alright as I couldn’t make out many of the lyrics. Still, the energy was unmistakable even though Ray was bemoaning that he and the band are no longer teenagers (he said he was 45, and heck, that’s a puppy buddy!
Acknowledging the advancing age of the crowd, he led us all in a pogo dance fest that lasted only 30 seconds or so…. While some of the youngsters chose to pogo all night.
I don’t want to get hung up on age, but with a band named Teenage Bottlerocket no longer clearly teenagers, it was bound to come up, was it not?
I left the venue with an appreciation of TBR I had not had before. I’ve already downloaded many more tracks from their extensive body of work, and I am digging them. I can’t wait to dig even deeper and hopefully catch them when they return through NYC again. Oh yeah… there wasn’t a skateboard in sight, but maybe they were all parked out back.