When: Sat., Nov. 21, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. 2015
Since the 90s few rock bands have been as reliable as the twangy shitkickers in the Bottle Rockets. It helps of course that the group’s leader, Brian Henneman, is a blue-collar poet, a guy who locates profound truths in direct and unfussy language. He tells you himself on “Shape of a Wheel,” a track from the group’s first new studio album in six years, South Broadway Athletic Club (Bloodshot). On it he sings “Day to day I find a way / To give a new angle a spin,” and throughout the rest of the album he finds new angles, or at least new ways, to say something fresh about the most quotidian or familiar situations. On “Big Fat Nuthin’” he sings about relaxing following the workweek: “My idea of recreation / Is brain-dead flat-line vegetation.” Henneman blocks out rumors of infidelity from a lover on “I Don’t Wanna Know,” refusing to disrupt his reverie: “Knowledge is power / Ignorance is bliss / Who needs power / When I got this?” The Bottle Rockets’ musical flavors haven’t changed much over the years either—there’s the rollicking country rock of “Dog,” or the stomping hard rock of “Building Chryslers,” a freshly recorded gem from the group’s earliest days that turned up before only as a bonus track. They do push things a bit too, what with the blue-eyed soul of “Ship It on the Frisco” or with “XOYOU,” a power-pop gem of chiming guitars that would sound like it was made by a band of skinny ties if it weren’t for Henneman’s drawl.