Liquor Store live in Vienna – review

liquor store photo by Danielle Petrosa

New Jersey-based band Liquor Store headed to Vienna recently. Julia Boyle was there for

It’s always difficult to expect a lot of a show after a long weekend, like this Monday for example. Viennese band Bathtubs and Liquor Store from New Jersey were set to play and I already had a sense of dread as I walked towards the entrance doors of Arena, here in Vienna. Sure enough, I was the first guest to arrive, despite already running late, which was awkward to say the least. Even more so since I was waiting to see a show I had been looking forward to for weeks.

Luckily, in the next five minutes another seven people or so arrived, relieving me from the pressure of standing at the bar, trying to order a beer in slow-motion to pass some time. After a couple more awkward sips, Bathtubs announced: “Well, we might as well start now, right?” and after a couple more minutes of “sound checking” the three guys climbed the stage. They are a very fresh blip on the Viennese underground radar. I believe this might have been their second show. Nonetheless, they played a really charming set with a mixture of slightly reggae flavoured tunes, some basic rock’n’roll riffs and a song I particularly enjoyed serenading Satan à la Daniel Johnston. During the duration of the thirty minute set I noticed Liquor Store come in and stand behind me in a row, watching the band. Even though the situation was tense, they offered their support band verbal encouragement after each song. I was desperately waiting for my friend to arrive, who was running even more late than I was and decided to get as drunk as possible in the next few minutes until Liquor Store started to play so that I could enjoy the gig the way they deserved me to, trying to make up for the lack of a proper audience.

Luckily enough, I didn’t have to wait too much longer and I had already placed myself firmly in the first row, bopping along to the tunes, yet another beer in hand. In case you are not familiar with Liquor Store, they are a gang of four hilarious guys playing really rifftastic “block rock” with insanely funny song titles and lyrics like Keys to the Face, Oilin’ Up My Boy and Bud Lite Killers. The next half-hour or so went by like a blur, which might have something to do with my rapid alcohol intake before the show, with a lot of bouncing around, yelling the lyrics and inventing impromptu dance routines with my friend to songs like Vodka Beach. The visual aspects are left for you to imagine since, frankly, my memory is a bit blurry. One of the upsides of a scarcely crowded show is that there is a lot of room for banter with the band, which I do enjoy tremendously if the opportunity presents itself. Sure enough, after the band finished one of my favourites, Pile of Dirt, the Arnold Schwarzenegger quotes started flying around with brute force. Starting with a heartfelt: “Get down to the chopper!” to which we retorted “Put that cookie down… Now!” (And if you didn’t get those, get smart.) That would have already been enough to meet and exceed all my comedic expectations for the night, yet to put the cherry on top, after almost every single song there was a “Thank you, we are Liquor Store from New Jersey” from singer Sarim. At least I am assuming that’s what he said, since he had an accent like all NJ characters in the movies and TV shows I’ve ever seen combined… and then some.

Beside all of that, all my hopes were met by an awesome show with really tight playing and amazing energy, spit flying everywhere and even some highly entertaining dance routines by the band themselves. In the end, hardly anybody was able to stand still as the epic chords of Midnight Walker and the super catchy encore of Pumpin’ With Red Rock blasted through the speakers. In case the boys from Liquor Store end up coming to your town, do yourself a favour and go check them out for a smashin’ fun time!

julia boyle


Inteview by Julia Boyle