The Bottle Rockets; March 1, 2012; Kiki’s House of Righteous Music
It happened really fast. I already had the Water Liars (Justin Kinkel-Schuster of Theodore’s new band) booked for March 4 and had just added Justin Roberts, Gerald Dowd and Liam Davis on March 3 when I got an e-mail from Undertow. Would I be interested in hosting the Bottle Rockets on March 1 or 2? No matter how crazy it was, there was no way I could say no to the Bottle Rockets. I’ve been hoping to have them back in the basement ever since their memorable all-request show in June of 2010. Tonight they actually had a set prepared, about twenty minutes of one that is. After that it was all requests again. That short set did include the first new song I’d heard from them awhile, a sweet and catchy love song that lead singer/guitarist Brian Henneman had written for his wife. I’d made my request early in the night, “Do you guys know any Monkees songs?” Henneman scoffed, “Nope, we don’t know any.”
I also have a standing request, which they apparently forgot about. In fact at the end of the night they were all surprised when they realized they hadn’t played it. “Did you yell for it?” drummer Mark Ortmann asked. I didn’t know I had to. They got to the encore and I was sure it was going to be “When I Was Dumb,” my absolute favorite song of theirs, but it wasn’t. It also wasn’t “Gas Girl.” Earlier in the night Henneman had played that song while thinking through another, “of course, that only gives me two minutes to think,” he joked. He also noted that it is the worst song to ask for as an encore, because if you want to hear one more you shouldn’t ask for their shortest song. “So what did we do?” he asked, “we played it twice.” After tonight’s rendition I called from the back of the room “play it again.”
There was certainly no shortage of requests, though they did take two of their fan favorites off the table early, playing “$1000 Car” first and “Indianapolis” shortly after. That left only “Radar Gun” as the inevitable choice in the request section and it didn’t take long to get to that one. While they do play those three every time I see them, and I don’t necessarily need to hear them that often, I never get sick of them. Admittedly, there were some interesting requests. The little-played “Pretty Little Angie,” which Henneman described as the most perverted song he’d ever written, was a little bit of a surprise especially since Rocky, who had requested it last time by asking for “the song about the girl and the horse,” wasn’t there. They played the chilling “Kerosene” after getting “the cutest request ever for a song about death.” After someone who hadn’t been paying attention called for “$1000 Car,” Henneman responded that he could play it on every instrument he had. He came equipped with an acoustic guitar and a banjo for the “acoustic show” they had advertised, but he spent most of the night on his electric and its ten watts of Peavy power amp. As one fan said, “they’ve managed to play a rock show sitting down.”
At the beginning of the night I told them to pick whichever chairs they wanted so that they would be comfortable. Henneman claimed they didn’t need to be comfortable, they were working. But by the time they called it a night he was complaining about his sore ass from sitting on a metal folding chair. Maybe next time he’ll chose better.
I’m already looking forward to next time.