Show Recap + Photos: Bottle Rockets at the Pageant, July 26

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click to enlarge Bottle Rockets at the Pageant - Annie Zaleski
Annie Zaleski
Bottle Rockets at the Pageant
First, good news for anyone who missed the Bottle Rockets opening for the Wallflowers last night: The band announced after the show that it's playing two nights at Blueberry Hill's Duck Room in October (the 9th and 10th, to be exact). Those are in addition to the August 11 show the band is doing at Vintage Vinyl, the same day its latest CD, Lean Forward, is released.

Exciting news for sure, especially because the Forward songs the band played last night ("Shame On Me," "Hard Times" and one other) absolutely smoked. Bassist Keith Voegele helped the new tunes assume a sinewy, heavy groove that bordered on funk-boogie. And with a cheeky Brian Henneman preface ("I get to be like Cheap Trick at Budokan and say, "This is the first song from our upcoming record!" he roared) the set ended with "The Long Way." This song in particular found the band firing on all cylinders; it seemed to get louder as it progressed, and ended with Henneman pulling some uber-rock star windmill-strums and Mark Ortmann's lighting-speed drum fills.
click to enlarge Brian Henneman - Annie Zaleski
Annie Zaleski
Brian Henneman
But you know, the BoRox are a fantastic live band, in an understated way. Its members are so focused on the music -- guitarist John Horton especially always seems absorbed in his parts -- and yet are so in sync with each other at the same time. That was clear after the triptych of new songs, when Henneman exclaimed, "And here's the ass-kicking until the end!" Cue a ferocious series of old favorites (including "1000 Dollar Car") that demonstrated just how awesome a live force it's become. I felt sorry for the Wallflowers, who had to follow 45 minutes of fierce twang-rock, BoRox style. 
click to enlarge Keith Voegele - Annie Zaleski
Annie Zaleski
Keith Voegele

click to enlarge Henneman - Annie Zaleski
Annie Zaleski
Henneman
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