Aplscruf's Music Blog

The Old 97’s Rocked the Showbox 6.30.2010

Ken and Rhett of The Old 97s

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.

The David Wax Museum

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.

Rhett Miller

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

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.

Ken Bethea

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.

Rhett, Philip, Murry

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:




July 1, 2010 - Posted by | Concert Season 2010, Music, Old 97's, The Showbox | , , , ,


  1. Nice pics!

    Comment by Zombo | July 2, 2010 | Reply

  2. You are such a groupie.


    Comment by P | July 2, 2010 | Reply

  3. OMG SWEATY RHETT swoon!

    Comment by Victoria Lee | September 9, 2010 | Reply

  4. […] Showbox for Randomville, and my adrenaline is already rushing.  We just saw The Old 97′s in June, a highlight of our 2010 concert […]

    Pingback by Old 97′s Are On The Road (Again) « Aplscruf's Blog | January 22, 2011 | Reply

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