Old 97’s have been kicking around over 20 years now. They are one of the best live shows around and appeal to rockers, country lovers and punkers alike. Their genre-bending, full-throttle tunes move the crowd into a frenzy.
I haven’t seen Old 97’s since their floor-shuddering show at The Showbox in the fall of 2012. See that review here on Randomville: http://randomville.com/concert-review-old-97s-at-the-showbox-seattle-942012/
The foursome shook the Showbox again Monday, in another amped-up performance. They are on tour once more to support a brand new album called Most Messed Up which is getting rave reviews, including a four-star review in Rolling Stone: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/most-messed-up-20140429
And how ’bout this fiery-hot review from Paste Magazine: http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2014/04/old-97s-most-messed-up-review.html
Opening for Old 97’s was Nikki Lane, a Nashville chart-climbing songstress. Her appealing retro looks and country songs with biting lyrics are getting national attention, from Americana Radio (charting at #5 last week for her new album, All or Nothin’) to Vogue Magazine. Her voice has been compared to Tammy Wynette, Amy Winehouse and Wanda Jackson. She’s touring the nation, so check her out or pick up her album.
I was lucky enough to see a show almost every month of 2011, and some months, two or three shows. We’re winding down now, getting ready for the holidays and visiting with family and friends. We’ll still see a couple of shows between now and the end of the year, including The Paperboys on December 23, one of my Top 10 favorite bands of all time. Click Here For Previous Review.
So far, though, I do have a list of my Five Favorites of 2011.
5. Screw it. I can’t make a decision, so I’m going to go with my Ten Favorites of 2011.
10. The B-52’s at Chateau Ste. Michelle – This show was great because The B-52’s brought the energy, the showmanship and the great songs we all love to a beautiful outdoor venue. We were there with a large family group and danced and sang along. Click Here For Review.
9. Vicci Martinez at Big Daddy’s Place – This was a chance to see Vicci, a Tacoma, Washington local, wail her lungs out in a small suburban venue before becoming a national sensation on The Voice. Click Here For Review.
8. Massy Ferguson and Brent Amaker and The Rodeo at The Tractor – Our first introduction to Massy Ferguson and Brent with The Rodeo back on a smaller stage. Curtains For You, a poppy, energetic band opened the show, and a biker in the front knew all the words. I love the picture of Brent Amaker smiling while the biker is in the moment. No whiskey this time, but now that the stage performer liquor laws have changed, we’ll get to hear “Bring Me The Whiskey” at the next show!
6. Jackrabbit and Massy Ferguson at Nectar Lounge – Jackrabbit, reincarnated after North Twin’s demise, and again Tony Fulgham won me over. Massy was celebrating their EP release, and I got to post my review of the show on
Randomville. Click Here For Review.
5. Jackrabbit and The Gourds at The Tractor – Jackrabbit opened and rawked the set, warmed up the crowd for The Gourds, another crazy night of crossover music, from 60’s psychedelic rock to old-timey revivals. Most memorable moment was approaching Mr. Kevin Russell at Hattie’s Hat and telling him I was going to review his show. His response: “Oh, Shit!” I later gave him the ol’ two-fingered stink-eye when he noticed me in the audience, and I mouthed, “I’m watchin’ you!” Click Here For Review.
3. Flight To Mars at The Showbox – Another press and photo pass! My sister-in-law joined me and took absolutely brilliant pics of the boys (Click This Link for her pics), including local Tim DiJulio (Lazy Susan and North Twin) and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready. Click Here For Review.
2. Nashville (Will Kimbrough, Marshall Chapman, Minton Sparks, Slim Chance and The Can’t Hardly Playboys) – the whole Nashville experience was wonderful. Kept to small venues and the Americana singer/songwriters. Click Here For Review.
1. Los Straitjackets at Slow Food Roots Music Festival – A bizarre series of events. Marshall Chapman’s book had a chapter on Eddie Angel who once played in Marshall’s band. Now Eddie’s fronting Los Straitjackets, and just happened to be playing in Seattle and a small fair in Stanwood within two weeks after I finished the book. I brought the book, my son, our appetites to the festival. We ate delicious local food, watched some pretty loco boys in Mexican wrestling masks play instrumental surf music, and were completely blown away by their skills and entertaining antics. My son loved every minute of it. To top off a perfect afternoon at the festival, they all signed Marshall’s book! Click Here For Review.
Someday, we’ll get to SXSW, the Austin mega-music festival. There are a quite a few Seattle bands attending, as well as some lesser known bands from all over. Literally hundreds of bands descend on that city, along with their faithful fans and music lovers. Here are just a handful of bands I’d like to see:
Boston’s David Wax Museum continues to win awards and praises, including Boston’s Americana Artist of the Year. The Mexo-Americana band can do no wrong at SXSW.
Brent and the Boys are packing up the van in Seattle and driving to SXSW. The cowboys will be sure to entertain the Texas crowd. Their show is a full-on, bad boy country experience, and might include a baptismal ceremony–with whiskey.
Brent’s “Man in Charge”
I saw Abigail and her bluegrass band when she opened for Steve Martin. Sweet and sultry voice, beautiful claw hammer banjo picking and excellent backing band.
North Mississippi Allstars, made up of the Dickinson brothers will be a crowd pleaser. Luther plays guitar like no other. He could pick up a stick with a rubber band and make it sing.
North Mississippi Allstars 2011
North Mississippi Allstars Stompin’ My Foot 2005
This Seattle punk band will be a fun one to watch. Short, energetic songs will get the crowd bouncing.
UPDATE! SEE GOURDS SCHEDULE IN COMMENTS BELOW! Those who have never seen them are in for a rollicking, old-timey revival of a show, complete with banjo, violin, mandolin and accordion.
Texas sweet (and…sweat) hearts.
I thought I’d take a moment and share my top 10 favorite live shows. Some are very specific by date and venue, and some are by artist only. This will change over time, I’m sure. And after looking it over, I left out a few, such as The Rolling Stones in 1994. That was a spectacular show, but it was in the Kingdome, and the band was about 1/4 mile away. Didn’t really feel the love. We saw Bruce Springsteen a few years ago, and I felt the same way. Great, energetic show, but we were looking down on them from afar. The lucky few hundred who got to be right against the stage, now they had a show to remember!
[You can also view this post and other reviews and features on Randomville]
Anyway, on with the list (all pics taken by me except Jimmy Buffett below):
10. Jimmy Buffett - The man has paradoxically built an empire on the Margaritaville philosophy! I’ve only seen him once back in 2003, but was thoroughly entertained. The show was pure fun, with hula girls, tiki gods and fire dancers. And the Parrothead audience was a spectacle in itself. He brought along a slew of veteran musicians and singers. If you’re lucky enough to go to his show, his lead guitarist for the night might be Will Kimbrough, a talented musician, singer/songwriter and producer who has also collaborated on several songs with Jimmy. You can forget all your problems for two hours Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays!
9. The Paperboys - The Vancouver-based Paperboys have been lifting people’s spirits with their high energy shows for 16 years. The eight-piece band plays in small venues in BC, Seattle and Portland, and captivates the audience with their joyful, upbeat and very eclectic music: Mexican, Canadian, Celtic, and Reggae soup. They make quarterly appearances at The Tractor Tavern in Ballard.
8. Ryan Adams - – Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA January, 2008 – I smiled until my cheeks hurt. Ryan brought along The Cardinals and tore the place up with songs from his album, Easy Tiger, along with many greats from his prolific song library and a few covers. He’s such a quirky character and a comedian, too–a sad clown. The rest of the talented band seemed patient and knew when to wait for him to calm down, light his cigarette, have a little chat with the audience, etc. I loved the train-wrecked Ryan, back when he could write a soul-crushing, alt-country song. Glad he sobered up and married a pop star, because you know after the divorce, the songs will be good again.
7. Brent Amaker and the Rodeo - Foot-stompin’, belt buckle-wearin’ cowboys in black. The lead singer dons a red cape, has a stripper assistant and sounds like Johnny Cash–with a potty mouth. Campy country at its best. A Seattle treasure. Catch them at The Crocodile, The Sunset and other small venues throughout the year.
6. The Gourds - Texas and Louisiana, sex and religion, country and rock, bluegrass and Snoop Dogg all rolled into a mandolin, violin, banjo, and accordion. Their shows feel like an old-timey revival in the Deep South. I get more salvation from their shows than I ever did in church. The band’s motto: “For The Unwashed and The Well-Read. “ They’ve been featured at SXSW, Austin City Limits, and are regulars at The Tractor Tavern in Ballard, WA. Yes, they’re the ones who covered Snoop’s “Gin and Juice” on mandolin.
5. Old 97’s - Alt-country/rock, Texas-style. Sweat, spit, roaring guitar riffs, and a faithful audience that knows all the words. There’s even a glossary on their website if you need help understanding the lyrics. See them LIVE one time, and you’ll want to follow them around the country.
4. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Anywhere!) – Tom and the band are American Icons. Just go see them—anywhere. The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA is a beautiful place to sing along to “Free Fallin’” while the desert sun sets behind the enormous stage.
3. Todd Snider and the Nervous Wrecks at The Nugget, Sparks, NV 2009 – Wrecktacular. The whole package. Comedy, Americana, Folk, and Good Ol’ Rock-n-Roll. And Will Kimbrough (the man gets around) on screaming, other-worldly guitar solos. Todd’s solo show is also worth seeing. He’s a Nashville transplant, originally from Oregon and plays the Northwest once or twice a year. He can spin a yarn like no other. Just get him started with stories about Slash or Garth Brooks, and you’ll think you’re at a stand-up comedy show.
2. Sir Paul McCartney at The Tacoma Dome, WA 2002, – I was too young to see him when he visited Seattle in the 70’s. To hear him play not only Wings songs but Beatles tunes with an incredible backing band, priceless. And the show was a gift from my boss. I pulled my hair, grabbed my face and screamed like it was 1964.
1. Tom Petty with Mudcrutch at The Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA 2008 – Tom, 10 feet away. My Musical Messiah–my Jesus of Rock ‘n’ Roll. He smiled at me (ME!) and I was saved. I can clearly remember standing there near the stage saying, “I can die now; my life is complete!” Tom reunited his old band (pre-Heartbreakers) and played a few gigs, mostly at The Troubadour, to support their new album. Tom and the band, which included Mike Campbell on wicked guitar, seemed relaxed and happy. No big light show, no grandstanding, just a regular band out to enjoy themselves and connect with the audience. TEN FEET AWAY!
Monday, January 24, 2011
Langhorne Slim Opened
Monday’s show at The Showbox was quite a ride. Not only did the opening act Langhorne Slim totally deliver, but the Old 97’s shook the Showbox with a steady, churning mix of old and new material. The diehard fans packed the house and partied like it was a Friday night.
We wandered around the cavernous Showbox and scoped out our spot, a railing on the right side, a.k.a. Murryside (Murry Hammond, the Old 97’s bass player’s customary side of the stage–thanks, West Coast Fan!). We were two people deep from the stage, pretty much under the speakers, which helped keep our ears away from the speaker blast zone.
Langhorne Slim took the stage just minutes after we arrived. I was thoroughly entertained by his short set of five or six upbeat folk/Americana songs, infused with a lot of soul. Slim has a high, soulful voice, which at times reaches a throat-tightening scream. His charismatic performance was fun to watch; he reminded me of the quirky Ryan Adams. He bounced around the stage and lost his hat, fell to his knees seemingly begging the audience to hear his words, and at one point lay on his back with his legs straight up and kicked the air.
I don’t have the exact titles of the songs he played except “Collette.” I’ll try to find a set list soon.
Raised By Wolves
I Ain’t Dead Anymore (soul/r&b sound)
I would Do Anything For You
Slim was accompanied by drummer Malachi DeLorenzo, Jeff Ratner on standup bass, and David Moore on keys/banjo. They played off each other’s energy and absorbed the audience’s joyous noise. Their tight, percussive sound was so much bigger than their compact appearance on the large stage. And David Moore temporarily left the planet every time he picked up his banjo. He shredded that banjo and pounded out percussion sounds in a trance-like state. Moore could give Scott Avett a run for his money. In fact, Langhorne and the band will be opening for the Avett Brothers this spring, throughout Florida, Georgia and Texas.
After about a 20 minute intermission, the lights dimmed, and Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle with You” blasted over the speakers. The veteran fans knew that was a cue for the Old 97’s to take the stage. With our choice viewing spot, we were able to see the Old 97’s rush out of the green room and up the short flight of steps to the stage. The screaming increased in decibels with each step!
The Old 97’s, the Texas alt-country/rock band fronted by the hideous Rhett Miller (yes, girls, I’m being sarcastic) delivered all night, with lots of sweat, spit, windmills, thundering solos and a few broken strings! They fired up the evening with “Grand Theatre” off their latest album by the same name. Throughout the set, they mixed in several new songs, and the faithful fans gave them enthusiastic props. Within the first few beats of the older songs, the audience (myself included) jumped up and down, hollered and sang along unabashedly. They played many favorites, including “Oppenheimer,” “Barrier Reef,” “Rollerskate Skinny,” and “Big Brown Eyes.” A few of their newer songs are on their way to becoming Old 97’s classics, such as “A State of Texas,” “Champaign, Illinois,” that Miller said he “co-wrote” with Bob Dylan (he added lyrics to the Dylan song), “Dance Class” and the biting and bouncy “Every Night is Friday Night (Without You).”
Grand Theatre (latest album title)
Get Me Through This Lord (not sure of exact title)
Dance Class (G.T.)
On a Bus
You Smoke Too Much (Murry)
Champaign, Illinois (G.T. – Rhett “co-wrote” with Bob Dylan – he added lyrics)
The New Kid
West TX Teardrops (Murry)
A State of Texas (G.T.)
I’ve Got a Question
Merle Haggard’s Mama Tried, False start (Murry)
Waltz-paced Love is What You Are (G.T.)
Please Hold on While the Train is Moving (G.T.) Funky psychedelic middle part, like a Beach Boys Pet Sounds song, muted guitar
4 Leaf Clover
(Short break, Encore)
Singular Girl (request from internet)
Won’t be Home No More
Big Brown Eyes (my fave)
Every Night is Friday Night (Without You) (G.T.)
Miller still has that front man “it” factor. He had the girls in the front row swooning and screaming over “I’ve Got a Question,” the cheesy marriage proposal song. Throughout the set, he shook his booty and strutted around the stage. His manscaped chest glistened with sweat. His dripping hair looked like he’d just stepped out of a shower; and when he was head-banging to Ken’s Bethea’s amazing guitar solos, many lucky front-row girls (and boys) got to take a little bit of Rhett home with them that night!
The rest of the band added fuel to Miller’s fire. Murry Hammond, the beloved bass player with Harry Potter rims, had his turn at the mic quite a few times. He sang “You Smoke Too Much” off Grand Theatre, “West TX Teardrops,” Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried,” and “Smoker.” After a short break, he also came out and did an acoustical version of “Valentine,” honoring a song request from several audience members. Ken Bethea’s guitar skills are legendary, and he proved himself worthy as he dove into raging solos and teased the front row by bending low for an up-close view of his moves–and his soul patch. Drummer Philip Peeples is also impressive. I’m sure he must hit the drums three times more per minute than a typical rock drummer; his sticks were just a blur. He also had to pay close attention to false starts, solos, and keep up with sudden changes in the set list.
The near-capacity crowd got the Showbox shuddering when Old 97’s performed their traditional closer, “Time Bomb.” There was a frenzy of cheers as Rhett departed while the rest of the band stayed to play the final notes. It no longer mattered that it was a Monday; the Old 97’s make every night a Friday night.
The Old 97’s are making their way up the West Coast to Seattle, and I have a press pass. My first ever. My “commoner” husband purchased his own ticket. I’ll be reviewing Monday’s show at The Showbox for Randomville, and my adrenaline is already rushing. We just saw the Old 97’s in June, a highlight of our 2010 concert season.
The floor of the Showbox at the Market was bouncing Wednesday night. The Old 97’s brought energy, sweat and good ol’ rock n’ roll, Texas-style, to the stage. It was a perfect ending to a cool Seattle June.
Before the big show, we arrived an hour early and hit the Pike Brewery across the street for a late dinner. Service was slow for a Wednesday, but maybe the crowd was there for the show.
We made it to the Showbox a few minutes before the opening act The David Wax Museum. The Showbox is a pretty big venue, so we wandered around for a bit to see if we knew anyone. We ordered a drink and shuffled our way to the front of the stage.
It was a work night, and we decided to just wing it and see if we could make it through to the end of the show. P knows me well; if the band is rocking, I will not be leaving until the house lights shine. It was going to be a late night. The David Wax Museum were not due to play until 9:00. The Old 97’s would follow at 10:15.
We enjoyed The David Wax Museum. Their Mexican-infused folk was immediately interesting to us, and the audience agreed and gathered quickly around the stage. They had beautiful harmonies and although only three were present for the show, they had a big sound. The fiddler played another instrument I’ve never seen–an animal jaw! It made for an interesting percussion, and when she ran the stick (or bone) across the teeth, it made a rattling, vibrating noise. The lead singer, David, played acoustic and a little Mexican guitar. They reminded me of The Paperboys from Vancouver, BC. Very uplifting music. We ended up purchasing their CD after the show and got to meet the band.
We decided to stay put during the intermission; we were only 3 people deep from the stage! It was a standing marathon, but we knew that was part of the deal. The Showbox, like the Tractor, has limited seating, so we just deal with the pain. It goes away once the music starts!
We met a nice man D behind us with a vintage satin cowboy shirt. We talked music, and had similar interests, including Dylan, Willie Nelson, Drive-By Truckers, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and of course, Old 97’s. He said they are one of the few bands he would go out of his way to see. We chatted with him for quite some time, and that made the intermission go by so fast.
We heard some hollering, and realized the band was about to take the stage! The boys had plaid western shirts on, jeans and boots and pretty hair. They strapped on their guitars and got to work! Rhett Miller, the hideously ugly lead singer, grabbed his little red Gibson and bounced up and down to warm up for the first song. The crowd started screaming as they started playing. It was loud! I’m glad I wore my ear plugs. We were on the right side, and pretty close to the enormous speakers.
They opened with an energetic song, but I didn’t recognize it. I have their Alive and Wired CD, but haven’t purchased any of their more recent albums. That was ok for now, I really enjoyed all of their music that night. I will eventually purchase their upcoming album, and hope to catch up on the others. I have started a big list of future purchases!
The songs I recognized were some of my faves:
Barrier Reef/Rollerskate Skinny/Won’t Be Home/Curtain Calls/Four Leaf Clover/Stoned/Smokers/Doreen/ and finished the night with Time Bomb!
I’m sure there were others that I missed or didn’t know the titles. I’ll eventually acquire a set list.
Murry Hammond, the bassist, sang on two or three tunes while rocking his salmon-pink Fender Squier. His shirt kind of matched! Loved the round glasses. He was quite fun to watch.
And then there’s the jangly Fender Telecaster played by Ken Bethea. Wow, the guy can play a mean guitar. I love the sound. It’s a combination of rock, rockabilly, alt-country, Texas, all slammed together. The sound is as big as Texas. He seemed so relaxed as he bent over and just let the music flow out. Sometimes he would slam it in a half-Who-windmill style, or make stacatto sounds, or big power chords.
The drummer, Philip Peeples, was hard to see way in the back of the stage. I could see his sticks flying on the drums, though. He kept the rockabilly beat going at lightning speed. I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves! The audience did give him a nice cheer and applause during a big solo. He must average 3 times as many hits than an average rock drummer. Good stuff.
They took a brief intermission after thanking the sweaty crowd. We all cheered and chanted for just a minute or so before Rhett came back on and stated that their exit was “fraudulent”. He played a couple nice acoustic songs, then re-introduced the band for a rollicking version of Time Bomb, my favorite song. It really got the audience boucing along in a frenzied state.
The crowd varied in age, but I would say they were mostly 30 and up. The Old 97’s have been around for 15 years, so I’m sure the many have followed their career. They played Bumbershoot last year, and we saw them with Willie in 2007.
Overall, the audience was polite, but there’s always that One Person who has to make everyone around them pissed. Luckily that one person at this show was short enough, so when she did shove her way like a lineman to the front, she wasn’t blocking the view. Karma’s a bitch, girlfriend.
We didn’t let ourselves get too distracted with the audience, because the show was so energetic and exciting from beginning to end. I loved how hot it got, the sweat, the bodies, the screaming and applauding. I loved watching the band’s reaction to the crowd, and their exchange of energy with us. It was all there, all I could expect, and more.
Old 97’s, thanks for making Seattle your first stop of your summer tour!
Here are some links, including full setlist and great pics from Three Imaginary Girls and The Portable Victoria:
The Old 97’s will be at the Showbox at the Market Wednesday, June 30. I’m excited to end June with some good ole Texas rock/rockabilly/alt-country/genre-crossing music!! I’ll give a full report Thursday. If you are in the Seattle area, you won’t want to miss the show. Check out their energetic and raw Alive and Wired double album for a taste of their live show.
- Alan Rickman
- Ann Wilson
- Ayron Jones and The Way
- Benjamin Doerr
- Big Daddy's Place
- Big Sandy
- Bob Dylan
- Brent Amaker and the Rodeo
- Chateau Ste Michelle
- Columbia City Theater
- Concert Season 2005
- Concert Season 2006
- Concert Season 2007
- Concert Season 2008
- Concert Season 2009
- Concert Season 2010
- Concert Season 2011
- Concert Season 2012
- Concert Season 2013
- Concert Season 2014
- Conor Byrne
- Country Dave Harmonson
- Cristina Bautista
- Damian Brennan
- Darrell's Tavern
- David Bowie
- Davidson Hart Kingsbery
- Deception Past
- Dudley Taft
- Dusty 45's
- Eddie's Attic
- Emmylou Harris
- Ethan Anderson
- Flight to Mars
- Fox and The Law
- George Harrison
- Gimme Shelter
- Hard Rock Cafe
- Harry Belafonte
- High Dive
- Honky Tonk Sweethearts
- Hook and Anchor
- Jack Kerouac
- Jakob Dylan
- Jedd Hughes
- Jimmy Buffett
- John Mellencamp
- Kasey Anderson
- Langhorne Slim
- Legendary Oaks
- Lori Gras
- Los Straitjackets
- Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands
- Marshall Chapman
- Marymoor Park
- Massy Ferguson
- Murphy's Lagh
- Music in Atlanta
- Nancy Wilson
- Nectar Lounge
- New Mexico
- North Twin
- Old 97's
- Ole Tinder
- Paul McCartney
- Railroad Earth
- Randy Hansen Band
- Redhook Brewery
- Rod Stewart
- Rodney Crowell
- Rolling Stones
- Roots Rock
- Ryan Adams
- Ryan Purcell and The Last Round
- Slim's San Francisco
- Small Sur
- St. Paul de Vence
- Star Anna
- Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs
- Steve Martin
- Stevie Ray Vaughan
- Tagaris Winery
- The Avett Brothers
- The B-52's
- The Black Crabs
- The Brambles
- The Cardinals
- The Chris Eger Band
- The David Wax Museum
- The Fonda Theatre
- The Gorge Amphitheatre
- The Gourds
- The Green Frog
- The Hi-Risers
- The Juliettes
- The Outlaws
- The Paperboys
- The Paramount Theatre
- The People Now
- The Puyallup Fair
- The Rainieros
- The Royal Room
- The Satellite 4
- The Shanty Tavern
- The Showbox
- The Sunmakers
- The Sunset Tavern
- The Swearengens
- The Tractor Tavern
- The Triple Door
- The Wallflowers
- The Wild Feathers
- Todd Snider
- Tom Petty
- Toubab Krewe
- Van Morrison
- Vicci Martinez
- Weird Al Yankovic
- White River Amphitheatre
- Will Kimbrough
- Willie Nelson
- Willie Sugarcapps
- Yellowstone Country Guardians