Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Gig Review: Teenage Bottlerocket at Camden Underworld 9/8/15




Teenage Bottlerocket are one of the leading lights in the current breed of punk rock bands. Playing fast and fun pop punk music in the style of bands like The Ramones, Screeching Weasel and The Misfits. After almost three years they were returning to London to play a show at the Camden Underworld. Anticipation was high.

The first two bands up tonight were Flash House and The Kut. Flash House were a four piece hardcore/thrash band. They played hard and fast with plenty of aggression including a fun cover of the Fears I Love Living In The City. The Kut are a three piece all female band from London. They played a set of energetic grunge punk. Both bands were decent enough but I had a tricky time really getting into them, they felt like odd choices for the gig.


Main support came from the ever popular London punk rockers Wonk Unit. Since seeing them at the Manchester Punk Festival the Wonkers have added a keyboardist to their live band and she really added a lot to proceedings adding some excellent harmonies and screams along with the keys. Alex Wonk is one of the finest front-men in the game at the moment, dancing around the stage, singing with one of the most distinctive voices around and generally having the time of his life. Wonk Unit are a band that's loved everywhere but especially the London punks. The crowd were dancing excitedly for everything song but the songs Lewisham and Go Easy got fantastic reactions. The man who Go Easy was written about, Teddy Four Legs was in attendance tonight and was great seeing him jump around to his song. I don't think you can really appreciate just how good Wonk Unit are as a band until you experience them live. They really got the party started superbly.


After Wonk Unit it was time for those Wyoming pop punks Teenage Bottlerocket and by now the Underworld was full. I had wondered what the attendance would be like on a warm Sunday night, would people be worried about the late night before the a Monday morning or would they simply be having a relaxing night in a beer garden or having a barbecue at home. Nope! The punks were at the Underworld to support one of the finest and most consistent bands around. After coming onto stage to a remixed version of The Black Eyed Peas hit I've Gotta A Feeling Teenage Bottlerocket ripped through song after song from their entire discography starting with Skate Or Die and finishing with Far Away. The pace never seemed to slow throughout, I have no idea where the band get such energy from. I was really happy to see that songs like Blood Bath At Burger King and Radio from early album Total got as big a reaction as They Call Me Steve and Haunted House from newest album Tales From Wyoming. I was very impressed with TBR's performance as well as their ability to get the crowd involved despite the speed with which they play their songs. Giving the Underworld crowd plenty of opportunities to sing loudly when the band from stop playing. All four members of the band were extremely watchable on the stage and all looked to be having as great a time as the people on the floor.  Kody and Ray's shared vocal duties were both spot on, Miguel on bass was never standing still, always animated and puling faces and Brandon was a machine behind the drums, extremely animated and really rocking out.

Teenage Bottlerocket were on fine form tonight. There are a lot of very good pop punk bands around at the moment (and I mean proper pop punk, not that Story So Far and Wonder Years nonsense) and Teenage Bottlerocket are up there with the very best. I hope it's not another three years before they come back again.