Aplscruf's Music Blog

X Keeps on Giving 40 Years Later

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It was a cold and damp December evening. My son Jacob and I crossed First Avenue and headed toward the neon-framed marquee of The Showbox to see X. Seattle’s streets shimmered with thawing snow, two days after a White Christmas–a rarity here. X is a rarity too, still intact after 40 years. Forty years of raw, chest-thumping, eardrum-splitting punk rock.

Their 40th Anniversary tour is a gift that just keeps on giving. Seattle was a stop in the final leg of their year-long tour, which actually began in 2016. The Grande Finale of 2017 took place December 30th in San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom.

X have been around so long, they’re already stuffed in a museum. The GRAMMY museum in L.A. just opened an exhibit in October: X: 40 Years of Punk in Los Angeles, which features X artifacts and memorabilia. There is also a book and a movie out about X and the L.A. punk scene. You’d think they were long gone, with all the honors bestowed upon them.

Exene Cervenka, vocalist for X, exclaims on their website: “For a long time interviewers and X people we’ve met have asked us, ‘Did you think when X started you’d still be playing together now?’ And our answer is surprisingly – No! Of course not!” Like the first fiery X on their Los Angeles album cover, they rose from the ashes, catching fire again and again as new generations of fans fueled them. Exene also added: “A couple weeks ago we were in the van coming home from a show, and started talking about this very exciting 40th Anniversary year coming up. Then Billy said: ‘That’s nice. What are we doing for our 50th anniversary?'”

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Back at The Showbox, makeshift airport metal detectors guarded the entrance. My purse was searched by security as I walked through the rectangular detectors. I hate the New World sometimes, but I’ll tolerate the terrorist paranoia in order to see a live show. The cycle of life and history keeps spinning ’round as new becomes old and old becomes new again. 

Our photo passes only allowed access on the sides of stage; but as usual in Seattle, no one showed up until halfway through the opener. We had prime standing positions in front of the stage, if we could tolerate standing for the next 3.5 hours. Seemed like the punk thing to do. Since X would be doing all the work, we could honor their efforts by standing and getting sweaty right along with them. I knew once we committed, we’d stay put the rest of the night.

X brought in some young blood to open the show this night. LPIII & The Tragedy were supporting X in the Northwest leg of the tour and promoting their debut album, Southland Hum. LPIII and the Tragedy set The Showbox ablaze with their punk swagger, borrowing riffs from roots rock to cow-punk, but they still sounded genuine and fresh.

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Louis Perez III, is an L.A. prince (his father is Louie Perez Jr. of Los Lobos fame), but has branched out and developed his own style of music. A necessary rite of passage, if one is to follow in his father’s musical footsteps. With intense, primal vocals and scorching lead guitar, he knew how to work the stage and energize the crowd.

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Perez’s cousin, Ruby Rosas (vox/bass), peered over the audience with dagger eyes, eager to rip our hearts out and eat them while thumping out bass riffs in snakeskin stilettos. And we were okay with that. She had full control of her instrument and matched Perez in talent and intensity.

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The rest of the band enveloped the two and created a tight, raucous sound, which included Mike Berault on keys, Carlos Guzman on rhythm guitar, and Eric Fuller on drums.

Check out their latest video of the title track here: https://www.lp3andthetragedy.com/video

After a huge applause erupted for LPIII & The Tragedy, the mob was fired up and ready for X.

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John Doe and Exene Cervenka of X

X’s punk music felt just as fresh and relevant as it must have 4 decades ago. No need for them to record “new” music. They have enough timeless hits to fill the night and keep the audience fully engaged. Generations of fans attended the Showbox this night, proving how timeless their music truly is. It speaks to the fans. Its roots run deep, touching many genres, from rockabilly to country, rock and pop. The mosh pit did change considerably, as the majority of the crowd was a bit older. This evening, the pit consisted of one skinny punk kid, flailing his arms and legs, who immediately got clothes-lined by a man twice his age and weight. End of mosh pit.

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Their onstage chemistry is that of a band who still “genuinely like each other”, said bassist/vocalist John Doe, in a recent interview in The Seattle Times. Their playful, knowing looks, inside jokes, and teasing remarks onstage added to the fun atmosphere. At one point, guitarist Billy Zoom kept telling drummer DJ Bonebrake: “Hold on!” right when DJ counted out a beat. After the third time, DJ learned his lesson and they blasted into another song, right on cue. For this show, X added guest musician Craig Packham to fill in on rhythm guitar so Billy could play his sax. Craig also played drums while DJ hit the vibraphone for a few songs.

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Billy Zoom, although seated again for most of the show, still had that Eternal Smile and mugged for the cameras in the front row. He’s still sweet and baby-faced, still playing like a madman, but cool as a cucumber on the outside, barely moving a muscle except those in his flying fingers.

Jacob, my son and photographer co-pilot, witnessed Doe’s solo show at The Triple Door a couple years ago. The lively show, more country than rock, included Jesse Dayton’s terrific backing band. Doe was a little more subdued, letting Dayton do the heavy lifting. Jacob hadn’t seen X as a full band before, and was pleasantly surprised by Doe’s dynamic bass grooves, his magnetism, synergy, and chemistry with X. Not to mention his contrapposto punk stance. The man’s still got it.

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I looked over and Jacob during “Hungry Wolf”. His eyes were closed and his head was bobbing, immersed in DJ’s rolling thunder. The wooden floor bounced to the beat below our stomping feet. The rest of the band disappeared behind the stage as our chests reverberated in marked time. After DJ’s powerful solo, Billy took his seat and conjured the devil out of his guitar, making other-worldly noises and screeches, howling and growling. Exene and John joined the pack to finish up the explosive song.

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DJ Bonebrake

“Mind if we sing a couple end-of-the-world songs?” said John. Exene shuffled over to him and held up 5 fingers close to his face with a coy smile.  John continued: “Uh, make that five end-of-the-world songs…”

If the world ended tonight, we’d all go out spent and satisfied. How punk is that? And isn’t that what music should do for us? Fuck the end of the world.

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Exene, seemingly in her own world, spun and swayed, with hands nesting in her hair. Sometimes she looked like a marionette with arms and legs attached to invisible strings, resurrecting her black-and-white ghost persona in “Because I Do.” When it was her turn in front of the mic, though, she became reanimated, punching out song after song, harmonizing with Doe, screaming, shrieking, and belting out lyrics.

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A woman about my age made her way to the front. Her smiling, glowing face showed how much she loved this band. She knew all the words, sang along, and reached out to each of them as she caught their eyes. During “Come Back To Me”, Exene extended a hand to the woman and held it while she finished her verse. It was so sweet and genuine. A tender moment at a punk rock show. Are they losing their punk angst? No, but they know how to give and receive love. It’s why they’re still around playing for us today.

I gave the fan my business card and told her to write to me, and I’d send her a picture. Priceless.

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Billy played sax during the song, and John later quipped, “That was our jazz interlude.”

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Billy Zoom on sax, guitar pick resting on forehead

The night grew long and hot. We held our positions, not daring to leave and expect to get back to the front lines. Sweating through my two shirts, I decided to remove my denim shirt, hand painted with copper arrows that my artist friend made me as a surprise Christmas present–a Wild Gift, just for tonight’s show. It was a beautiful bootleg, honoring Doe’s trademark look, crafted out of love and friendship. I held it up and caught Mr. Doe’s eye. He gave me a big smile and a little chuckle. Ahh, heaven right here in the heat and the fiery glow.

To be fair, though, Doe’s look and other cool hand-made designer clothing can be purchased through Featherweight Studio.

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John Doe, all punk and arrows

A young woman had the honor of helping Billy play his guitar at the end of the show. I caught a picture in the hazy glow of the lights, as if Billy were an angel sent down to greet her. She later exclaimed on my Facebook page where I’d posted the pic: “Happiest moment in all my life!” What more could you ask for as a fan or as a musician?

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Billy Zoom gets a helping hand from an adoring fan

Exene also expounded on the tour in a 2016 Seattle Times article: “We’ve got three generations of people now coming to see us. I’m grateful that we’re still doing it and I’m grateful people still want to see us. You don’t retire…you play until you die.”

I cannot go without saying how I was reminded of another 40th anniversary tour that just wrapped up a few months ago. The bittersweet and shocking ending of Tom Petty’s  life happened just days after his tour ended. As with X, we’ll still have the music, long after they’re gone. Nothing beats the shared energy of a live show, though.

It was a punk rock show after all, so I believe I’m allowed to toss around an “F” bomb a couple of times. Maybe I’m being selfish, even after acknowledging that life and death form a never-ending circle, but here goes:

X, don’t fucking die. Shoot for the 50th Anniversary.

Peace, Love, and Punk Rock to All…

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For more information, check out their websites and purchase their merch:

http://www.xtheband.com/

John Doe

https://www.lp3andthetragedy.com/

For fantastic pics of the show, check out Peter Dervin Photography and his review on No Depression: http://nodepression.com/live-review/x-celebrates-their-40th-anniversary-showbox-seattle

 

 

 

 

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December 31, 2017 Posted by | 2017, The Showbox, X | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flight To Mars Astounds at The Showbox

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Mike McCready and Tim DiJulio of Flight To Mars

Flight To Mars, once again, put on an astounding show at The Showbox, the second of the two-night benefit.

Flight to Mars, a UFO tribute band, features Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready (guitar), Paul Passereli (lead vocals), Tim DiJulio (guitar), Mike Musburger (drums), Gary Westlake (bass), as well as other musical guests. The show is the 14th annual benefit for the Crohn’s and Colititis Foundation of America (CCFA). The proceeds also benefit Camp Oasis, for kids with Crohn’s and Colitis.Throughout the night, there were auctions, announcements, raffles, and lots of top-notch music.This is the fourth time we’ve seen this show, and it keeps getting better and better.

The opener this year included a phenomenal David Bowie tribute, with many special guests (I do not have all of the names yet–will add as I find them), including a Prince look-alike (although no Prince songs were included, but he did sing and have a couple of grinding solos on Bowie songs), TKO frontman Brad Sinsel, Kim Virant, Grace Love, Jeff Rouse (bass), Barrett Martin (drums), Sean P. Bates (vocals – I get CHILLS each time I hear him!) Kathy Moore (who kicked ass on guitar), Justin Davis (guitar), Chris Friel (drums), brother Rick Friel (who also helped out with auction and was on bass for the tribute to Lemmy with Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades”), Mike “The Milkman” Musburger on drums, a keyboard player, additional vocalists, and lots of switching around between artists on vox and instruments.

Click on individual pics for a closer view…

I could have been satisfied with just that part of the show for the $25 ticket. But more was to come, and Paul Passereli and the boys saddled up for Flight To Mars, the UFO cover band. The usual songs were sung, with a few guests coming and going: Doctor Doctor, Love to Love, Mother Mary, Lights Out, Cherry, Too Hot to Handle, Rock Bottom, etc. So great, so loud, so rockin’.

Best image of the night (not caught in my camera’s eye): Mike strumming next to Tim, listening to Tim’s blistering solo. Mike stops, looks directly at us, smiles and says, “Fu*@k!” in admiration of Tim’s guitar prowess.

Another jaw dropping moment included Mike McCready’s destroying his Gibson Flying V, smashing it into an amp and pounding it to pieces on the stage. Crazy! John Hiatt would not be amused.

What a fantastic night of classic rock, and for a great cause. I’m curious to know how much money was raised for CCFA.

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May 22, 2016 Posted by | 2016, Flight to Mars, Music, Seattle Rock, The Showbox | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flight to Mars at the Showbox Tonight! May 21, 2016

 

Once again, it’s time for Flight To Mars! See my 2011 post below. It’s gonna ROCK. For a good cause, too.

Aplscruf's Music Blog

Tim DiJulio and Mike McCready

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Showbox at the Market

Seattle, WA

The Flight to Mars show on Friday, April 8 at The Showbox was the kind of loud that reverberates in the chest cavity and rings in the ears hours later. It was a two-fisted-devil-horn evening; too much RAWK for one hand!

Flight to Mars, a UFO tribute band, features Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready (guitar), Paul Passereli (lead vocals), Tim DiJulio (guitar), Mike Musburger (drums), Gary Westlake (bass), and Ty Bailie (keys). The show was the the 9th annual benefit for the Crohn’s and Colititis Foundation of America (CCFA). Up to this point, the benefit concerts have earned a total of almost $200,000 for the Foundation.  Some of the proceeds also benefit Camp Oasis, for kids with Crohn’s and Colitis.  The show was also being broadcast live on Sirius’ Pearl Jam Radio. …

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May 21, 2016 Posted by | 2016, Flight to Mars, Seattle Rock, The Showbox | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

X Show Review on No Depression!

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Here’s my review of X at The Showbox. See more pics in my previous post. What a fantastic night!

http://nodepression.com/live-review/all-i-want-x-mas

December 26, 2015 Posted by | Concert Season 2015, Mike Watt, Music, The Showbox, Uncategorized, X | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

X For Xmas!

X at the Showbox, Seattle, December 18, 2015

Mike Watt opened the show

What a fantastic night of Punk Rock, and a perfect way to end Concert Season 2015! I’ll write a review soon. Here are some pics in the meantime, taken with my Canon PowerShot SX710 HS. Only my second show with this camera, so it took a few shots to get used to the settings. Limited to where we could shoot, too.

 

 

December 19, 2015 Posted by | Concert Season 2015, John Doe, The Showbox, Uncategorized, X | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Announcement from X: “Our Very Own XMas Miracle! Billy Zoom to Play XMas Shows!”

Source: Our Very Own XMas Miracle! Billy Zoom to Play XMas Shows!

Check out the link above to read the latest from X! Billy Zoom will play several shows in November and December, including Seattle’s Showbox! I’m honored to have a photo pass for this show on December 18th, and cannot wait to see them. My dear husband will be seated in the VIP section holding my purse if you’d like to pop by for a visit.

November 4, 2015 Posted by | The Showbox, X | , , , , | Comments Off on Announcement from X: “Our Very Own XMas Miracle! Billy Zoom to Play XMas Shows!”

Flight To Mars Tonight!

Flight to Mars members Tim DiJulio and Mike McCready

Flight to Mars members Tim DiJulio and Mike McCready

Flight to Mars, Seattle’s star-studded UFO tribute band, is going to Rawk the Showbox tonight.  We saw their high-octane show in 2011 and loved every minute of it.  You never know who is going to show up on that stage!  Plus, the show benefits  Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

Here is my review of the 2011 show:

https://aplscruf.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/flight-to-mars-at-the-showbox-april-8-2011/

Also, see my sister-in-law’s awesome pics of that night here:

http://ljwkphotography.photoshelter.com/#!/index/G0000HqfCi3zyWrk/97

May 16, 2014 Posted by | Concert Season 2014, Flight to Mars, Seattle, The Showbox | 1 Comment

Old 97’s Got Messy at The Showbox May 12, 2014

Rhett Miller and Murry Hammond of Old 97's with Nikki Lane

Rhett Miller and Murry Hammond of Old 97’s with Nikki Lane

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.

 

 

 

May 14, 2014 Posted by | Concert Season 2014, Music, Old 97's, The Showbox | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Old 97’s at the Showbox 01.24.2011

Wind-Miller

Monday, January 24, 2011

Old 97’s at The Showbox at the Market, Seattle

Langhorne Slim Opened

See my Randomville review here

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

Slim and Moore

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.

Slim and Moore Jamming

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

Collette

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!

Rhett Solo

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).”

Rhett

Ken and Rhett

Set List:

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)

Oppenheimer

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.)

Stoned

I’ve Got a Question

Merle Haggard’s Mama Tried, False start (Murry)

Waltz-paced Love is What You Are (G.T.)

Barrier Reef

Rollerskate Skinny

Smoker (Murry)

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)

Valentine (Murry)

Won’t be Home No More

Big Brown Eyes (my fave)

Every Night is Friday Night (Without You) (G.T.)

Time Bomb

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!

Murry

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.

Ken Solo

January 29, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Langhorne Slim, Music, Old 97's, Randomville, Seattle, The Showbox | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Old 97’s Are On The Road (Again)

Rhett Miller

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.

January 22, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Music, Old 97's, Randomville, The Showbox | , , , | Leave a comment