Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

Live Reviews from web archive December 28, 2008

Bottle Rockets

Duck Room (St. Louis, MO), December 27, 2008

The Bottle Rockets actually began playing together in 1992, but their first album came out in 1993, so the fifteenth-anniversary celebration they conducted this year seems reasonable enough. Given that singer-guitarist Brian Henneman and drummer Mark Ortmann have played together for more than 25 years, and that they are the only two Bottle Rockets to appear on every album and every tour, fifteen years seems just one benchmark among many.

The Bottle Rockets ended their round of fifteen shows since spring with as perfect a summation of their career as any fan could want. In every city on this not-quite-tour, the set lists were chosen randomly from entries submitted by contributors to the band’s message board. As a result, the shows have been filled with a nice mixture of obvious classics (“$1000 Car”, “Radar Gun”, “Indianapolis”) and deep album cuts (“Middle Man”, “Headed For The Ditch”, “Nancy Sinatra”).

The current lineup has been together for three and a half years, and has turned into one of the tightest configurations of rock musicians working today. With Henneman and John Horton trading powerhouse lead lines and crunchy, country-inflected licks, the guitars have locked into some sort of mind-meld. If you’re not watching their hands, you can’t always tell which one of them is sending those chills up your spine.

And then there’s the rhythm section. Ortmann remains one of the best unsung drummers in rock. The man crackles right in the pocket like Charlie Watts, yet tends to throw in far more fills to drive the songs. Keith Voegele has added a spark to the bottom end with his bass lines, which alternate between elastic melodies and rumbling grooves.

The fan-chosen set lists for each city included one cover song each time; this night featured an extremely intense “Hey Hey My My” from Neil Young. To reward the longtime hometown fans as well as those who traveled to see this show, the second set this night included all of the previous shows’ covers played in a row. Henneman has probably played Young’s “Down By the River” since he was 12 years old; “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd was another obvious choice. It was cool to hear him play Wilco’s “Passenger Side”, given that his guitar playing was essential to the recorded version; Voegele sang it nicely, too. The true revelations came with wonderful takes on the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black”, David Bowie’s “Suffragette City”, and most especially Redbone’s pop classic “Come And Get Your Love”. After a fabulous set of their own material, the Bottle Rockets suddenly turned into the greatest cover band playing anywhere in the world this night.


(The Bottle Rockets playing Redbone’s “Come And Get Your Love” to close out a fifteenth-anniversary show at the Basement in Nashville, August 2008)

In between, Henneman awarded prizes of “Bottle Rockets for life” (every album from the past to the future, free admission to every performance, and even a drink every time) as well as the beautiful custom-built guitar he’s played all year. The venue, the Duck Room, is a completely remodeled and expanded use of the space that once held Cicero’s Basement Bar, where Henneman and Ortmann often held court (playing some of the same songs) with Chicken Truck in the 1980s. Somehow, it seemed appropriate to see Henneman give so much to his fans in the place where he could so often be seen as a fan and an up-and-coming musician himself, back in the day.

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108

Discuss

Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »


From the Blogs

  • Your Interview with the Jayhawks' Gary Louris
    A couple of weeks ago, we announced a contest to give away some copies of the Jayhawks' remastered and reissued editions of Sound of Lies, Smile, and Rainy Day Music. In the process, we asked you to pose questions you'd like to see Jayhawks founding member Gary Louris answer. Fifty folks entered and Jayhawk Gary Louris… […]
  • Lake Street Dive Motorboats into the Big Time
    The usual pleasantries open the interview with Lake Street Dive's singer extraordinaire, Rachael Price. There’s a mention of a shared acquaintance and a nod to the band's previous appearances in town, the first before a tiny crowd at Norfolk's Taphouse in 2011. "Oh, I recall," Price says. "That was a very memorable show." I […]
  • No Depression Is Getting a Facelift: A Note About What's Around the Bend
    Ever since we announced that No Depression had been acquired by FreshGrass back in March, we’ve heard from many of you with questions, concerns, and ideas about the future of this website and the community that gathers here. We created a forum topic at that time so we could organize these comments and refer to them frequently, which we have done as we’ve dev […]
  • A Preview: Pt. Reyes’ Far West Fest Is a Huge Model for Pint-sized Festivals
    For the last six years, my husband Dave and I have been involved in a funky little homegrown festival called the Far West Fest in Pt. Reyes Station, Calif. For us, it’s a great way to get back to our theatrical roots while helping to support live music. We have stage-managed at least one of the three stages and been involved in set-up,… […]
  • Freight Train Boogie Show #263 featuring The Duhks, Seth Walker, Jacob Thomas Jr, Amy Lavere and The Felice Brothers
    FTB Show #263 features the new album by The Duhks called Beyond the Blue. Also new music from Jacob Thomas Jr, Amy Lavere and The Felice Brothers.  Here's the direct link to listen now! Show #263… […]
  • Eric Clapton - Unplugged, 2CD+DVD (Album Review)
    Here’s a slightly unusual candidate for reissue: Eric Clapton‘s 1992 Unplugged album. To my knowledge, this massively commercially successful album has never gone out of print, which begs the question: why reissue it? To be fair, this 2014 reissue does include some bonus material. But first, let’s take a look at the original… […]

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!


Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter