Show Review: Teenage Bottlerocket and The Flatliners at Unit, Southampton

Show Review: Teenage Bottlerocket and The Flatliners at Unit, Southampton

What? Teenage Bottlerocket AND The Flatliners playing together in a 150 capacity venue? I don’t believe you, those bands could pull a bigger crowd too easily.

It happened. It happened and it rocked my face clean off. This caliber of show is quite rare in England, as the big bands from overseas usually need to play larger venues to justify their travel costs. Because of some big festival appearances they happened to be both be in the UK so the guys behind Wrong Way Round Promotions did a bit of wizardry and got them both for our viewing pleasure on the 26th of August, 2011.

Check out my review of the show right here.

The three local support bands rose to the task of opening for such huge headliners, although playing to an unresponsive audience for the most part. First up were 8-Bit Bear, playing punk with a slight folky edge to it. The room was still fairly empty at this point but they played a tight set of good music. Considering they’re an extremely new band and only have a handful of shows under their belt they showed a lot of potential.

The Rocco Lampones are a three-piece energetic, fast punk band. They played to a quickly filling room and definitely acquired some new fans. They’re well suited for this line-up, blasting through each two-minute-long song with reckless abandon. They aren’t really doing anything new or different but they’re a fine example of a ballsy punk band that you can see a whole bunch of times without getting bored. I can say this with a certain amount of authority as I’ve seen them three times in as many weeks and last night was still enjoyable as hell.

You Me and the Atom Bomb rocked it as the main support. They’ve got a whole load of experience, having played the Fest twice and completed European and American tours. They played to a now packed room and managed to illicit a bit of movement from the crowd. They built the excitement for the night and screamed through their 25 minute set with old favorites and some very promising new material. They’ve got a real passion for their music and it shows, they’re doing it because they enjoy it, not for any sort of financial gain. I like that.

Shit went down when The Flatliners started playing. The atmosphere in the room was intense and there was a look of expectant fear on the solitary security guard’s face. There was barely enough room to breathe and a chunky guy that thought it’d be a good idea to dominate the pit after taking his shirt off added a feeling of sweaty danger. He kept it up for the rest of the night, honestly I was jealous of his stamina.

Due to the genre-spanning nature of The Flatliners the dynamic of the room would change from song to song. Their earlier ska material had people skanking amongst the push pit whereas the more recent melodic hardcore style had fists in the air and shout-alongs to the choruses. An impressive human pyramid broke out at one point to the obvious glee of the front man. A line of girls had fought their way to the very front of the stage in order to see the band and they didn’t flinch at the battering they took from being pushed in to the stage and monitors about every five seconds.

Possibly the most exuberant reaction was to “Count Your Bruises”, a highlight of their album “Cavalcade” out on Fat Wreck earlier this year. I could feel the floor bending to the beat and as it’s an upstairs room was slightly worried for my safety, although that was hardly a priority at the time. They closed their 40 minute set on “Eulogy” and I think it’s safe to say that that moment will always be remembered, it will be celebrated.

Teenage Bottlerocket dominated and destroyed everyone and everything in their path. Opening with a rousing “Skate or Die” the crowd took notice immediately. The music drew the smokers and other absentees back inside and shit got real. Really real. The heat was getting close to unbearable and you could smell everyone around you. Surprisingly, this is a good thing. There’s something special about being knocked about by a whole bunch of sweaty punks, especially if you’re being blasted in the face by the most fun of fun skate punk.

“Skate or Die” melted into “Radio” which turned into a face-ripping rendition of “Bigger Than Kiss”. The stage presence was phenomenal and incredibly entertaining. At one point the crowd was separated in order for the singer to run down into it, catch and throw back the drumstick hurled at him from behind the drums. It was impressive to say the least if a touch anti-climactic (in an amusing way). The most tiring part of the set was when they requested that the crowd pogo for the entirety of “Bottlerocket”. The song’s only about 30 seconds long but it took all of my determination and remaining energy to carry it on until the end.

The set list was comprehensive, to put it lightly. They played songs from their whole back catalog, and even threw in a rendition of “Codename: Peabrain” by The Lillingtons, front-man Kody Templeman’s old band. They somehow managed to cram in about 14 songs into an hour long set, quite an accomplishment even if they are all short. Towards the end of the set the music started to drag a bit but the way the band and crowd fed off each other’s energy kept it exciting until the end. This was one of those events I would hate myself for missing. If everyone had experienced a Bottlerocket live show I have no doubts that they would be bigger than Kiss.

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