A couple months back, the announcement of the upcoming Teenage Bottlerocket / Copyrights tour had me giddy like a little school girl, and with good reason. Two of the best currently active pop-punk acts (in my opinion) together on one show? No way I was missing out.
The New York City date of this tour fell on the evening of April 3 at Cake Shop, a small café/venue located in Manhattan's Lower East Side. My arrival at the show, however, was met with shock and confusion due to the original slotted start time of 5 P.M. Said shock and confusion came as I entered the Cake Shop to find a sign on the door to the bar/venue area that read: "Teenage Bottlerocket show now moved to 7 P.M." I apparently wasn't the only confused patron as others that I know through the local pop-punk scene began trickling in slowly, asking the same "What's going on?" question. In fact, as far as I know, we never got a specific reason for the later start time (I think maybe the Copyrights were going to be late as they showed up around 6:30 P.M.). It was somewhat disappointing as I was hoping to be out fairly early, but it happens.
About three hours later, the show's opening act hit the stage -- said act being NYC's beloved the Unlovables (no pun intended). Even living in NYC, I somehow managed to never see the band before so this added to my excitement already in place for the rest of the show. Despite early technical difficulties with vocalist Hallie Bulliet's microphone levels, the band played an infectious set of their lighthearted female-voiced pop-punk. I don't remember too many specifics of the set list, but it included songs from their recent, excellent full length Heartsickle such as album opener "Leave Me Alone," "Let You Go" and my personal favorite "Everything's Overrated," the set closer. The band had a strong following of local fans front and center singing along to every word, but the crowd went crazy when the Unlovables debuted their cover of "Fuck the World" from the recent Queers tribute album (which Hallie noted it was the first time playing the song live). The Unlovables are a band that don't play too often, probably due to the fact that Mikey of the Ergs! fame is their drummer, so if you get an opportunity to see them, I highly recommend you do.
Maybe this is just ignorance on my part, but it needs to be asked: When the hell did the Copyrights get so big? Perhaps they have been and I just didn't notice, but as soon as they opened with theit first note, the crowd went into full force. Kids dancing crazily, even doing the infamous punk rock "push mosh" and almost knocking vocalist/bassist Adam Fletcher's microphone into him several times (causing even him to insist that the crowd calm down some as to not knock his teeth out). Despite the shock of the absolute insanity of the crowd reaction, the Chicago band played a long but seemingly quick set of songs from their three recent full-lengths.
Set list broken down by album since I can't remember exactly:
- Head Count (I believe this was the opener, but it was definitely played)
- Kids of the Black Hole
- Knee Deep
- Planet Earth 1994
- Button Smasher (thrown in by request from an audience member)
- Weapons of Math Destruction (set closer)
- Stuck in Summertime (?)
- Second Hearse, Same as the First
- 57 North
- She Turns It Up
- Shit's Fucked
- Charlie Birger Time
It only seemed inevitable that Teenage Bottlerocket, the evening's headliner, would receive a similar crowd reaction, but oddly enough the crowd was surprisingly tame. Some of the kids who were present and going off for the Copyrights had dispersed and seemingly not even stuck around. This is equally as surprising to me as I somehow was under the impression that both bands had an equal amount of fans (perhaps even moreso due to the Lillingtons connection on their part). Still, the room was still pretty packed and I was reminded of the last time TBR played at Cake Shop last summer on what was possibly the hottest day of the year.
Set list also broken down by album:
- Bottlerocket (set opener)
- Gave You My Heart
- In the Basement
- Welcome to the Nuthouse
- Totally Stupid
- Wasting Time (set closer)
- Stupid Games
- Go Away
- Lost in Space
- Blood Bath at Burger King
- Repeat Offender
- A Bomb (by request from an audience member after vocalist/guitarist Joel asked the crowd what they wanted to hear)
Teenage Bottlerocket clearly showed though that even if the crowd didn't show as much energy for them, they can still play their hearts out and have a blast doing it. Both Ray and Kody (vocalist/guitarist #2, of Lillingtons fame) showed their immense appreciation for everyone coming and packing out that tiny room on a Thursday evening. Though honestly, I cannot see why anyone would want to miss a show that offered three of some of the best acts currently active in pop-punk.