Teenage Bottlerocket / Cobra Skulls Kathedral, Toronto, ON October 27

Teenage Bottlerocket / Cobra Skulls Kathedral, Toronto, ON October 27
There's something special in the air when a relatively unknown band from Wyoming can pull on a sizable crowd into a dingy downtown club on a Tuesday night. And not just a strong horde of greenhorns, either. Surprisingly enough, this particular evening was replete with a decent contingent of old-school punks chomping at the bit for some pop punk action courtesy of Teenage Bottlerocket.

Then again, when the band have three strong releases with solid indie outfit Red Scare Industries and just issued their Fat Wreck Chords debut to hefty praise, it's no wonder the Kathedral was crawling with spikes, leather and crusty denim pants. This is the closest we're gonna get to hearing Screeching Weasel doing the Ramones in this day and age.

Performing a rousing set despite being somewhat disjointed musically, Nevada's Cobra Skulls were tight and enthusiastic while conveying their overt adoration for Against Me! Bouncing around from pop punk to ska and back again, they were clearly in favour with more open-minded youth but simply tolerated by the aforementioned geezers who were saving energy for Teenage Bottlerocket.

Good thing too. They needed it once TBR took the stage. Kicking into their set with little fanfare, the quartet blasted out opening track, "Skate or Die" from their wondrous new disc They Came From the Shadows. Efficiently and with intent to destroy, they then followed it up with a smart balance of new and old tracks that sufficiently pushed the fresh stuff while pleasing those aching for some historical gems.

Responding with great fervour, the ample crowd battered and bandied about for the ensuing hour and 15 minutes, overlooking guitarist Kody Templeman's rough spots and enjoying the light-hearted romp and viral melody of the band's simplistic pop punk. Loud, sincere and animated, Teenage Bottlerocket easily proved the recorded brilliance of The Came From the Shadows is no fluke.