I rarely watch support bands, but not because of any perceived snobbery about them not being any good; it’s normally just a combination of being late and wanting to catch up with friends at the bar. I’ve missed plenty a band who went on to become much bigger than the band they were actually supporting and kicked myself afterwards for my ways.
So I’m glad I managed to watch the support band at The Biltmore last Wednesday. Actually I missed the first support band which… if they go on to to become superstars, I will no doubt regret. But I managed to catch about ninety per cent of the Teenage Bottlerocket show – which for me is pretty bloody good. The band aren’t exactly starting out, with five albums under their belt, the Fat Wreck Records band have been together for over ten years and show no sign of giving up.
A receptive Biltmore crowd enjoys all the aspects of their punk rock performance – with many a shout of one, two, three, four, Teenage Bottlerocket certainly make up in energy what they lack in originality. With harmonious choruses, fast guitars and endless amounts of vigour, the Wyoming foursome blast out, “On My Own”, “In The Basement”, and “Skate Or Die” to the delight of the audience. They finished their set with their tongue-in-cheek tune, “Bigger than Kiss”, and whilst they are not, they certainly put on a high-energy, stadium-worthy performance.
With a warmed up crowd, The Queers need to do nothing but come on stage and play a few chords to get the audience dancing. For a band that started in 1981 and have had seen almost forty members pass through, what keeps frontman Joe Queer still going remains to be seen. The veteran punk rocker opens the set with, “You’re Tripping”, the opening song from their 1993 album Love Songs for the Retarded.” Whilst Joe sings out, “Bring on the beers, because we are The Queers,” the audience, in proper punk rock fashion – sweaty and oblivious to the crowd behind them – push, shove, and sing along. With the majority of The Queers’ songs falling under the two-minute mark, an hour and a half allows them to play almost their entire discography.
The slender, baseball-capped frontman bangs out tune after tune after tune much to the audience’s delight. “Ursula Finally Has Tits”, “Teenage Bonehead”, “Fuck This World”, “Born to Do Dishes”, Joe blasts these tunes out for no doubt the thousandth (or more) time. The Queers are definitely Joe’s band, with the basses and drummer falling a little into the background. The crowd doesn’t care, as the band is tight, fast, and playing a great show. Joe shows no signs of boredom or complacency even though he’s still singing the same songs he wrote twenty years ago.
The band wraps the show up with a Smugglers cover and “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” before leaving the stage and returning with a vibrant encore.
It’s nice to see a band still give a shit after so many years on the road. The Queers obviously want to entertain and to have fun, and if that means singing songs about not getting laid when you’re a teenager – even though you’re now in your 40s – then that’s absolutely all right with me.