Show Review: Bottle Rockets and Marshall Crenshaw Tour Stops to Keep Fans on Their Toes at the Birchmere

Show Reviews

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Last Friday night the whole house was rockin’ at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA for the Bottle Rockets and Marshall Crenshaw show.

When the Bottle Rockets stepped into the lights, they shook the floor with their popular song “Monday.”  Brian Henneman, in his white Stetson hat & sunglasses, announced the band is working on a new album, finishing up the last session at the end of April.   The band is going to do two off the new album, he says, as the band launches into “Highway 70 Blues,” after which he tells the crowd the Bottle Rockets are going to take a “country turn, thanks to inspiration from Marty Stuart & the Fabulous Superlatives’ new album out earlier this year, but “we’re never gonna be dressed that fancy.” “Go Ahead and Make My Day” (punk), is what we’ll guess the working title of the second new song is. “Some of the craziest sh-t we’ve ever done is on this new album,” he says again to the crowd who’s already hanging on every word and every note in turn.

Henneman kept up the banter with the audience all evening: “We want to do a couple numbers also from our first album. You’re looking at a band that’s been together 25 years. Not all that many bands stay together for 25 years. I mean, the Rolling Stones did it, but the difference is, they had money. The reason we’re still doing it after 25 years is we’ve become the masters of thriftiness.” (laughs) “ From our first album in 1993, this song is “Wave That Flag.””

Next up was the amusing song “Dog.” Henneman made the crowd laugh with “I heard tell that every songwriter should have a dog song and a train song. So this here’s our train song,” as they launched into “Should Be Creeping Like a Snail,”   where Henneman delivered a smokin’ guitar solo. “In this game of oblique strategies, if there’s a dog song, and a train song, you ought to have a Radar Gun song too,” he said to more appreciative laughter from the fans of their song “Radar Gun,” after which rhythm section Mark Ortmann and Keith Voegele proceeded to rock the roof off.   The band ripped through “1,000 Dollar Car” and “Indianapolis” before dedicating the last song to the crowd—it’s the only love song we have: “Love Like a Truck.”

The Bottle Rockets only took a short break before they were right back on again to accompany Marshall Crenshaw.   The crowd was definitely warmed up with smiles all around as Crenshaw regaled them with “Cryin’, Waiting, Hoping,” and “What Do You Dream Of?” Crenshaw continued the same level of chatting with the audience, talking about how he had co-written the next two songs with Dan Bern, and then rocking them with “Driving and Dreaming,” the peppy “Red Wine, and then “Cynical Girl.”

Crenshaw introduced his guitar as the Galanti Grand Prix 1960’s guitar before playing fan favorite “You’re My Favorite Waste of Time.” It’s always fun to hear what gear the musicians are playing at a show, so we loved that bit of information, and the song too. The guitar is pictured in the slideshow, above.

Crenshaw and Grant Hart’s “2541” had everyone nodding and grooving and then Crenshaw addressed the room again, saying “many years ago I made my second album,” at which point fans shouted “Field Day?” Crenshaw has recently rereleased the album. They played “Monday Morning Rock” then multi instrumentalist John Horton switched to lap steel for “Cryin’ Time” and the whole band rocked it all over again.   Crenshaw credited another co-writer, Bill Teeley, with co-writing “Whenever You’re On My Mind” during the Carter administration. The fans were completely in sync with the show as the band presented “Some Day Some Way” and perennial favorite “Mary Anne”. The show was almost over, save for the two encores: “Better Back Off” and the Bottle Rockets’ “Kit Kat Clock” ended the night.  The performance had everyone in the room feeling satisfied, and it felt, like it always does, like it was over too soon.

Check for tour dates near you, here:  and

Check the Bottle Rockets website if you want to become “executive producer” of their new album, which is currently being produced by Eric Ambel and will be released on Bloodshot Records, here   The site says it’s sold out, but it never hurts to ask!

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