Teenage Bottlerocket / The Computers - live in Nottingham (Cover Artwork)

Teenage Bottlerocket / The Computers

live in Nottingham (2011)

live show

I arrived right at the end of opening act the Rutherfords' set, hearing their last song from the men's room. I did, however, see the whole of the Computers' set. Taking the stage to the strains of Johnny Cash, all five members were wearing white dress shirts, skinny white jeans and white pumps, and as the Cash song faded out the band jumped into a big, driving, 4/4 riff. Much of their material used long stretches of the same chord, which could have become boring quickly, but the band sounded well-rounded and tight. They reminded me of a heavier, faster version of the Hives, and their white uniform only served to reinforce the similarity. On the whole they were enjoyable, but the lead singer's antics and personality alienated the crowd somewhat. He was constantly trying to find new places to sing from, including standing on the bar, straddling the crowd barrier and climbing up an amp stack on the side of the stage. His banter between songs included lines such as "Music is dead" and bordered on the pretentious, and all this came to a head when he ventured into the crowd and one audience member told him to hurry up so that Teenage Bottlerocket could play. The singer replied that he could go on all night, which was a daft move, as it only antagonized the crowd further. Musically, the Computers were a fairly unique mix of Ramones, the Hives and the Trashmen, and if they could work on their on-stage attitude and be a bit less snotty I think they'd do well.

The crowd compacted forward as Teenage Bottlerocket took to the stage. Compared to the slick but forced look of the Computers, Teenage Bottlerocket looked experienced and relaxed. They soon launched into "Skate or Die" and the crowd reacted immediately. TB's music is straightforward and catchy–perfect for jumping up and down and pumping fists to. Next up was "Radio", soon followed by "Bigger Than Kiss". Songs seemed to come in threes with banter in between. While guitarists Kody Templeman and Ray Carlisle share vocals–and I'll add that these guys hit all the notes live–Carlisle handled all mic duties in between songs, telling silly jokes and goofy one-liners to the crowd.

There were around 100 people at Rock City in total, and a group of around 15 guys and girls at the front continued to dance and sing along to every word for the whole set. The crowd needed no encouraging, but the band asked for and received a 30-second pogo-fest for the duration of "Bottlerocket". Soon song requests started pouring in, and the band acknowledged and played just about every song requested.

The set was high energy all the way through, composed of an even number of songs from TB's last three full-lengths. The only exception to this was a rendition of the Lillingtons' "Codename: Peabrain". Following a trend of leading into songs from cheesy one-liners, Carlisle announced "We'd love to play for you guys more often, but you're so far away!", and the band finished their set with "So Far Away". Their encore was "Todayo", the final track from their latest full-length, They Came from the Shadows, and Carlisle vowed that the band would be back soon. Judging by the Nottingham show it seems that TB's first visit to the UK has been a success. The emphasis was on fun and having a great time, and I'm sure the venue will be even fuller when the band return next time.