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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Staggering Work Of Heartbreaking Tweeting

Okay, so anyone who has ever ventured into the Twitterverse knows it's generally filled with a bunch of narcissists regurgitating excruciating amounts of minutiae of their relatively mundane existence that no one really gives two shits about. Yours truly included. I'm not saying it's not fun nebbing into famous people's lives, reading the latest news of your favorite celeb/musician/egotistical douchebag politician first (I'm looking at you, Weiner-head), or actually making new friends with similar interests, but seriously, we all know it's just a craptastic time suck.

But once in awhile, someone gets it right. Someone harnesses the power of mass connection and takes it in a new, meaningful direction. That person is NPR's Saturday Weekend Edition host, Scott Simon.

Earlier this week, Simon's mother lay on her death bed in a Chicago hospital, succumbing to what, I don't know. Simon took to Twitter to document his last days...hours...minutes at the bedside of his precious Mom.

They sang her favorite show tunes, she joked with the medical staff as well as her son, imparted some lasting advice, and when she was afraid, Simon held his mother as if she was a small child. It's a tough, sobering reality to cradle the cradler.

Perhaps he felt a personal, historic significance to log what he was experiencing in order to recall his journey once the surrealness of the inevitable funeral and internment passed, or he used it as a means to keep his own family in DC informed without leaving her side to phone in details, or maybe he just needed to throw his feelings out there because the enormity of watching your mother die is just so indescribably massive, it's impossible to process alone.

Whatever his reasoning, his honest documentation is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking. He fearlessly laid himself out bare. And I, for one, thank him for sharing, despite being reduced to a blubbering mass. In hindsight, having my eyes well up with tears, blurring my vision while trying to scroll the TelePrompTer for a live newscast probably wasn't the smartest move.

Simon's struggle with his desire to hold onto his mother while knowing he had to let her go touched me deeply, because A) I HAVE A FUCKING HEART and B) my own treasure, Big Mar is 92 years old. I know she can't live forever, but she is still so full of life and love and wisdom to depart. She is a lesson in grace, elegance, and joie de vivre. She is an amazing woman. With age, Big Mar has become more carefree, more light, taking delight in the simple things.

She is an inspiration.

She's also mortal.

The day she leaves this mortal coil, I will be completely devastated. But, much like Simon, I hope I will have the opportunity, as difficult as it will be, to hold her hand, shower her with love, and make sure she knows the enormous impact she has had on not just ours, but every life she touched as she slips through to the other side.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

In Which Belle and Sebastian Shatter Their "Sad Bastard" Musical Image

Okay, so I'm a huge fan of songwriters who mask sad/dark lyrics within upbeat, catchy melodies. I love that moment after numerous listens, when it finally hits me what it is I'm ACTUALLY singing while dancing around like a damn fool. Lord Huron, The Smiths and of course, my beloved Rhett Miller are experts at this style. Belle and Sebastian, not so much.

There are a fair number of B & S songs which I favor greatly, but on the whole, their albums lean more to the "Sad Bastard Music" referenced by Jack Black's character in High Fidelity. Slow, morose downers rather than energetic mood lifters. Well I'm here to tell you, seeing B & S live busts that somber image in a splintered heap! They were waaaaay more fun than I ever expected.

After tolerating opener, Yo La Tengo's meh, monotone, drone (enough with the jamming already), a proverbial clown car of musicians filed onto the outdoor stage at Stage AE on the North Shore. Thirteen to be exact, lead by creator Stuart Murdoch and guitarist, Stevie Jackson who I swear to God were actually Phil Keoghan and Fred Armisen putting on an elaborate SNL skit. Jackson even moved and gestured like Armisen. Cracked me up. I was doomed to chuckle about his picture in my head all night.

Side note: besides the normal bass, drums and guitars, there were two keyboards, three violins, a cello, two horns, and a harmonica... then one of the women pulled out a flute, a recorder and a mouth harp from their bottomless crate of instruments. WTH? No pan flute?!?!

Donned in his Brit-Pop-finest, tailored, wide-striped jacket and tie, the slight Stuart, dancing awkwardly, yet endearingly from stage right to left, set the lighthearted tone for the evening. He had no trouble encouraging the nearly packed venue to come along for the ride. The vibe was bouncy from the word go. EVERYONE was singing and dancing, including an adorable eight-year-old bespectacled girl who spent the entire concert bopping atop her similarly bespectacled father's shoulders. Clearly they are raising her right.

Between songs, the charming Murdoch joked about the BAYER sign on Mt. Washington telling him to "wear safety glasses" or "rid your home of pests", prompting the masses, okay just me, to keep checking the signage for other nonsequitors. At several points, he jumped into the photo pit between the stage and fans, strutting back and forth, singing to a few lasses, before breaching the barrier and navigating the crowd singing "Listen lady put your phone down" while being flanked by a sea of recording iPhones.

The delicious irony was not lost on our little group. Can't speak for long-haired, thick-bearded, well-fed Jesus and his equally hairy disciples, Peter and Paul or Crab Man from My Name Is Earl. But I'm pretty sure Crab Man got it, even through the ganga haze, which again...was not shared. Hello?? Where are these youngsters' manners?

But I digress...

Keenly aware of the baseball game playing out next door, Murdoch lead the audience in a rendition of Take Me Out To The Ballgame for which we almost forgave him his Mets loyalty. Almost. Conversely, I cannot forgive this YouTuber's insistence on holding his/her phone vertically. IT'S CALLED LANSCAPE, PEOPLE!!! Look into it.

(P.S.: the Buccos beat the Mets 4-2. RAISE IT!!)

this is only funny to pittsburghers
cracks my ass up!

Further shattering their maudlin reputation, fans were invited on stage for a DANCE PARTY!! Believe it or not, I shot no video of the show beyond a 6 second Vine that I can't figure out how to post with sound. (Technology, I am your beyatch) I know, right? What the hell's wrong with me? Honestly, I didn't expect to want to write about the evening since I pretty much suck am woefully lacking creatively anymore. All I have is this shitty iPhone photo of the crammed dance party stage.

(Because I'm a Techno-tard, here's a video of the song being performed above. ACK! I need a 12 year old child to do this shit for me.)

They came back out for one encore song, and then they were done, but no matter. They played nearly two hours for an appreciative cross section of young, middle-aged, tattooed, pierced, hipsters, girlie-girls, and nerds. Oh, and let's not forget chubby Jesus and Crab Man. As my friend, Lizzie said, "for Sad Bastard music, I haven't had this much fun in months."

Spending a beautiful, albeit hot as monkey balls, summer night in the company of the lovely K-Schnikes couple and Lizzie is always a joy, but DUDE! that was an unexpected good time! Bobby K is right, whether you like their recorded music or not, you'll love them live.

Now excuse me while I take yet another blazing hot shower to sandblast the sweaty throngs of humanity from my person.

Setlist according to Setlistfm with links to videos

Judy is a Dick Slap
I'm a Cuckoo
The State I Am In
I Want the World to Stop
To Be Myself Completely
Lord Anthony
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Piazza, New York Catcher
I Can See Your Future
Your Cover's Blown
I Don't Love Anyone
The Boy with the Arab Strap
Legal Man
1812 Overture (excerpt)
Judy and the Dream of Horses
Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying

Sunday, July 7, 2013

NO. SLEEP. IN BROOKLYN... the last hurrah :( To Far To Care revisited

Okay, so apparently I am destined to NEVER GET ENOUGH GODDAMN SLEEP IN THIS STUPID BOROUGH!!?!

Once again, I went to sleep after 3am only to fully awaken at 7:30am. Clearly, my internal clock is a GIGANTIC JACKHOLE, hellbent on inflicting sleep deprivation torture until I crack and LOSE MY SHIT all over the local short-brim hat, plaid-shirt wearing, tattooed hipsters. I could live with the ungodly early rise if I drank myself into a stupor the night before, but I basically had A glass of wine. ONE. Which in and of itself is one very sad fact. No, my psyche just HATES MY FREAKING GUTS. Or maybe it's that bastard, Mercury in retrograde. Either way...

I call Asshole.

But I digress...

Saturday brought the DC/Baltimore contingent (Steph, Melissa and Sheila) to town for the third and final concert, which meant it was moving day for Cindy and me. No matter how glorious the accommodations at the King and Grove, there was no way five of us could fit in the teeny-tiny rooms. After having breakfast on the pool deck for the last time, *sniff* we jumped into a cab and headed SW to The Pointe Plaza hotel.

Neither Cindy nor I was familiar with Brooklyn. We had no idea where we were heading, but as we got further south below the Williamsburg Bridge we started seeing a couple Hasidic Jews wearing long, heavy coats, prayer shawls and big, furry circular hats atop their yarmulkes. Then a few more. Then several families. Then we realized we were the ONLY non-Hasidic people in the area. The hotel lobby (and hotel) was teeming with Hasidic families and elders.

furry hats in question above

And there WE were. Two white girls in shorts and tank tops standing out like a couple of harlots. Oh, Dude, the looks we got...  No one said anything to us, but I could feel the judgement. I kept waiting for the a finger wag and a couple "tsk tsk tsk" thrown our way. It was all rather fascinating being on the end of disapproval. But there we were, an Italian and an Eastern European girl being waited on by the Indian hotel staff in a hotel full of Orthodox Jews. America's melting pot personified right there in the lobby.

The two rooms we rented had single beds. Peculiar. Upon further research thanks to Steph, we discovered the separate beds were necessary sleeping arrangements for Orthodox guests to use when their wives are menstruating. Steph found this great site explaining Jewish law regarding kosher sex. Would not want to convert, but they got it all over the Catholics when it comes to getting busy. Sex is for pleasure and emotional bonding, not solely for procreation. (Score one for the Jews) The woman dictates when and where relations occur. (Score two for the Jews) And the man is bound by duty to please her. (Score three for the Jews) Abortion is also permitted if the mother's life is in danger. According to Jewish Lay, the fetus is not considered a life until birth. Surprisingly liberal thinking for a perceived strict culture.

Anyhooo, enough of that. After we got over our curiosity, or at least curbed it for awhile, the five of us piled into a van driven by an affable and patient man named Raphael. The six of us were to become good buds as Raphael was our DD for the evening. He was the man!! No matter where we were throughout the day, we'd call and he'd be there in five minutes. We were convinced he had mastered the art of astral projection.

not your father's flea market

Our first stop was the Smorgasburg in Williamsburg near the East river. Steph found this, too. She's the best researcher. Seriously, she should just scour the webs for people for a living. The Smorgasburg is listed as a flea market, but you won't find random vendors selling old, rusty junk from their basements. It's comprised of four long lines of booths offering every type of food imaginable. Incredible.

so that's what that smell was

At the bottom is a fenced in pop-up beer garden. Standing behind the white picket fencing, sipping our beverages, watching patrons go by felt more than a little like being the animals at a petting zoo. I half expected people to stroll over with a fistful of Cheez-its (the human equivalent of goat feed) for us to gobble in contentment from their hands.


bevy of babes

what about leaning?

And the view... Good God Almighty, it was gorgeous!

Meanwhile, back at the venue...

For their final evening at the Bowl, the band chose their third album, Too Far To Care, even though they had toured extensively last year celebrating its 15th anniversary. Steph and I were a wee disappointed they didn't choose to highlight Fight Songs for the finale, a CD that introduced a lot of fans to the Old 97's, including Stephanie herself, but you can't deny what a fantastic setlist TFTC is. It is definitely a crowd pleaser.

When Melissa is with us, we stand Ken side because she LOVES him and his guitars. She's the only fan I know who actually knows the name and model of each of his guitars. She gets so excited when he uses the shimmering green one.

I swear Melissa's entire summer was made when Ken walked over to our end of the stage and shook her hand when the show was over. It's the little things...

Quick note: I appreciate these four women so much. Each one of them is smart, witty, easy going and an utter joy to be around. There is no drama, just love, support and laughter. Lots of laughter. I'm thankful to these four men for providing the forum through which I am able to know these lovely lasses.

So, we made our way to the stage, Murry-side, towards the end of yet another tedious opening act. Being Saturday night, the crowd was a lot thicker than the prior evenings at this point in the game. It's a tricky thing, squeezing into the front amongst people who have been waiting longer than you. But most fans are cool, and I was able to make nice with the Chicago family beside me. We ended up having a great time singing together.

The air felt electrified when Rhett, Murry, Ken and Philip took the stage. They were going for it on this farewell romp in Brooklyn. Of course, they ALWAYS go for it. Trust me, they NEVER phone it in which is why you see so many familiar faces in the crowd time and again.

TFTC starts with their signature closer, Time Bomb. It's funny to see them rock out to this one without being all sweaty and exhausted. But they never hold back, and neither did the audience as they sang every word back to Rhett and Murry.

When they finished the album, the cheers were thunderous. I can't even imagine how invincible that level of response must make them feel. Damn! That must be exhilarating. The rest of the set had some real gems, New Kid, the One (from my personal favorite, Blame it on Gravity), Won't Be Home with the Heisman line. Ken even agreed to play his lone song, Coahuila!

They poured their soul into an impassioned performance of 504 as the set closer and blew the effing roof off! Strobe lights flashing, broken strings, guitars shredding, pogo jumping, fierce head banging, guttural screaming and unbridled fervor.


Perhaps the biggest surprise of the entire three-day run came after the encore break.


Outside of a Rancheros gig or two, I don't think they've ever played it as a band, or at least haven't for a very long time. So what if Rhett reversed the verses. It was big fun to finally hear. I've said it many times before, I have no earthly idea how he can remember hundreds and hundreds of song lyrics. His songs, cover songs, new songs he's still working on... Amazing. I am in absolute awe of his brain. Maybe he IS superhuman.

thank you, my dear mr. miller and company for a ridiculously fun run

Twenty years in and they STILL play with a reckless abandon usually reserved for 20-somethings. I don't know how they do it, but Holy Hell I'm eternally grateful they show no signs of stopping.

Although I was sad this incredible run was over, I honestly don't know if I could have survived another night. I was blessed with three amazing evenings at the altar of rock, spent with good friends, but I was ready to make the long journey on this

to this

and him.

my heart

Too Far To Care

Time Bomb
Barrier Reef
West Tx Teardrops
Streets of Where I'm From
Big Brown Eyes
Just Like California
Curtain Call
House That Used to Be
4 Leaf Clover

Mama Tried
The Other Shoe
Champaign, Il
The New Kid
The One
Let the Whiskey Take the Reins
Can't Get a Line
Every Night Is Friday Night
Won't Be Home
Beer Cans
Rollerskate Skinny
Time Bomb

Friday, July 5, 2013

NO. SLEEP. IN BROOKLYN... part two Wreck Your Life

Day two brought lots of sunshine and more heat to the five boroughs of Manhattan, and a way-too-early wake up call from my internal alarm. I was already at a sleep deficit having been up since 5am the day before. I didn't get to sleep until after 2am, but despite the curtained windows, my asshole body clock woke me at 7am, which is pure BS. I know. You feel really bad for me. Please hold your sarcasm until BINGO has been called.

After a little nosh at the hotel, I headed into Manhattan to meet up with Greg, from Dallas. His son, Collin wanted to check out NYU, so we buzzed around the Flatiron building, Union Square and eventually Washington Park.

Greg and I sitting in pub(l)ic art near Union Square

washington square arch
surprisingly no skaters selling "snoopies"

smart shit graffiti-the best kind

Collin's a sweet kid. His sixteenth birthday was coming up, so this trip with his Dad was his present. We had a nice time tooling around together, catching up. Greg is a lawyer with clients all over. It's uncanny how he can schedule meetings in the very cities the Old 97's are playing... ;-)

whistling boy

le sigh

Not wanting to squander the gift of a pool on a blistering day, I was Brooklyn and bathing suit bound. Cindy (from Pittsburgh) jumped in when she finally arrived later on. By that time, I had made pool friends and met a Pittsburgh ex-pat who grew up two miles from where we live now. She's lived in Arizona for 30 years, but happened to be visiting her son in Brooklyn. Burgher meet ups are a strange phenomena which occur all the time. We're everywhere.

oh hey, did you know we had a pool?

Human beings are funny. So we're all hanging out, in and around the pool. A lone, dark cloud perches overhead, and it starts to rain a bit. Half the people, who are wet already mind you, start freaking out and heading for cover. What the ef??!? WE ARE ALREADY WET!!! If you were made of sugar, you'd be melted by now. The other portion of folks left on deck... jumped in the pool. Again, what's that about? People. Are. Crazy.

Moving on...

Williamsburg is a really lovely section of Brooklyn. It's filled with little bistros, pubs and coffee shops. It's got a high hipster doofus factor, but not enough to detract from ones enjoyment. I felt safe walking around there even late into the night.

Cindy and I had the great pleasure of having dinner with Murry, the bass player at a charming sushi place on Bedford. We sat in the courtyard beneath an umbrella table and fruit-filled grape vines. The conversation spanned numerous topics, kids, gardening, demos for the new record coming up. I thought about recording his thoughts about their newest project to post on the 97's website, but didn't want to interrupt the flow and dampen the evening.

So, naturally as we get up to leave, it starts to rain. Fortunately, it wasn't raining that hard and was super warm. The drops felt refreshing. Besides, there was no pool to jump into. I still don't get that.

The cool thing about these road trips is at this point in the game, there's always someone I know. We chatted with the front-row gang (George, Maria, Tina, Denise). Philip stopped by to chat on his way backstage. Both he and Ken had brought their families with them. I was lucky enough to meet Philip's family unit the last day. The kids are beautiful and his wife is tiny and gorgeous despite having had two children. I kinda hate her a little. I kid. No, really. Kinda hate her.

too much hawt for the room

Anywho... Cindy, Tracey and I planted ourselves Murry side again near the end of the opener's tedious set. We had good luck the night before with a roomier corner and cooler air flow. Evening number two was dedicated to their second effort, Wreck Your Life. There are a number of personal favorites on this one, including my all-time favorite, Bel Air. I already have a fantastic video of the blue-eyed lovely giving me a smile during the intro so there was no need to record that one, but I was anxious to capture You Belong to My Heart and Old Familiar Steam... because I'm a ginormous nerd.

A song's whose rhythm is custom made for Mr. M's signature hip sway...

Gorgeous. I don't know how Rhett can hit that beautiful falsetto after all the rock and roll growling. I'm STILL hoarse after a week.

Tonight when they took the stage during Fat Bottomed Girls, the increased energy was palpable. They were charged up, putting an extra umph into every song. Rhett broke a couple strings and was extra fervent with his head bangs, pogo jumps and long notes. Ken grinded his guitars into the faces of those in the front row. Murry was extra bouncy, and Philip was crazy good with the backbeat. The very definition of "hard-charging." The four of them are so much fun to watch. Clearly they all had a great day with their family and friends. The audience was right there with them for the ride.

These four Texas gents were definitely having a blast on stage. There was lot of playfulness -- Ken teasing Murry and Philip not to screw up the intro to Por Favor, Rhett back-to-back with Murry yukking it up, Rhett drinking a tiny bottle of Jameson as if he were a giant.

Por Favor

The second part of the setlist was packed with GREAT stuff...Jagged, Busted Afternoon, No Baby I (where the title of this bloggity comes from. I know I have absolutely nothing to do with its placement on the list, but I pretend he's playing it just for me), the ever-rockin' Smokers and Won't Be Home, finally unleashing the full-metal jacket on the master set closer, Four Leaf Clover.

The show was riveting! High on the list of best concerts. Even Mike, their tour manager, was stoked about their performance and he's seen a zillion outings. People wonder why I go to so many 97's shows. They are amazing musicians, with enormous showmanship and boundless energy. They never EVER call it in, and it's never the same show twice.

Oh yeah, Rhett's long-time school friend, Robert Jenkins was present, and got a big shout out during Big Brown Eyes (in which he is mentioned for non-fans). AND Craig Finn from The Hold Steady was standing directly behind us in the VIP section. Kinda cool, right?

The end alwaysAlwaysALWAYS comes far too soon for my liking, but we all were happy campers. Sweaty, tired and sore, but very happy campers nonetheless. Thankfully, this run wasn't over yet. To quote Scarlet O'Hara, "tomorrow is another day."

microphone photo bomb
one of these damn days i'll capture this properly

Wreck Your Life

The Other Shoe
You Belong to My Heart
Big Brown Eyes
Dressing Room Walls
Bel Air
My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darlin'
Old Familiar Steam
Over the Cliff
Goin', Goin', Gone
Crash On the Barrelhead
Melt Show
No baby I
Cryin' Drunk
Rollerskate Skinny
Busted Afternoon
Can't Get a Line
Every Night Is Friday Night
Won't Be Home
4 Leaf Clover 
Por Favor
Murder Or a Heart Attack ("you write one song about a kitty cat...")
Time Bomb

Again, more photos on flickr.

NO. SLEEP. IN BROOKLYN... saddling up for an Old 97's trifecta

mr. miller being stage gumby
good lord, i love this shot

Where to begin...

Okay, so months ago it was announced my favorite band of musical men were to play three consecutive nights at the Brooklyn Bowl, performing their first three albums in their entirety each night.

Yes, please!

I love these four wiry Texans with every fiber of my music-loving heart. They rocked, punked and blasted through three momentous nights. The powers that be have pinned them as Alt-Country. Alt-Country, my ass! Yeah, maybe Alt-Country hopped up on steroids, Red Bull and whiskey. They shred that moniker every night they grace the stage. Son Volt they ain't, and I thank the Baby Jesus for that.

old 97's do not go quietly into the night

Phone calls were made, arrangements were set, time dragged on. Then, much like a wedding, the event came and whizzed by like a speeding bullet. Although to be honest, enough was packed into each day that 24 hours felt like 48.

Besides standing front row having my hair blown back from the shear power of their rocking out, occasionally anointed by a spray of Rhett-sweat, my favorite thing about these road trips is congregating with friends from near and far. Along with the usual New York contingent, there were a few extras. Sheila and Melissa hopped on the train from DC with Steph, Cindy from Pittsburgh and Greg from Texas whom I haven't seen in three years was in "on business" with his son.

But by far the greatest serendipitous moment was our long-time friend, Myra. She's a former Graham dancer currently teaching at SMU. Every year she returns to New York for one week to teach at the Martha Graham school.  We haven't seen her since 2009. It just so happened THIS was the week she was back in the Apple.

at the fabo hotel pool
jesus, could my head be any fatter?

STILL a Texas beauty

After I tumbled out of the Megabus, (which was awesome, btw. clean, comfortable, no bat-shit-crazy Greyhound types aboard. except for the need to dole out ones fluid intake, everything was cool. there was a bathroom on board that seemed clean, but still...eww.) Myra and I met up at Union Square and headed to Brooklyn.

I stayed at a swanky new hotel, King and Grove of Williamsburg located a block from the venue. Beautiful! There was a rooftop lounge and a salt water POOL! In Brooklyn?!? Hellz yeah!

a lounge with a view

And you better believe I used that puppy as soon as we got there. The humidity was at about 1000%. For this comfort alone, it was worth the stay.

how is this even Brooklyn??!?

We had a terrific time catching up in the breezy shade, consuming fancy-ass food and fruity cocktails. Geo and I miss her.

Anywho, I got to spend some quality time dining, dancing and singing with Marcy, Sarah, Tracey and the lone fellow, Sarah's beau, Vinnie. It was so fun to be in the pit with Marcy, singing our heads off. Brooklyn Bowl is really cool. The bowling lanes are adjacent to the performance area. There's a six foot knee wall separating the dance pit from the lanes. So people are literally bowling while the show's going on. There's a limited seating restaurant in the front serving surprisingly tasty food and kickass frozen Margaritas from a slushy machine. Apparently, they are known for their fried chicken, but who's gonna bounce around with a stomach full of greasy poultry. That would NOT end well. But seriously, Dude...the Ritas, different story. Yum!

There was a different opening act each night, none of whom we listened to except the end of the third. Truth be told, I'd support banning openers at 97's shows altogether, because really, what's the point. They're just irritating. The lone exception was the Travoltas. Now THAT was a fun opening act. In any case, I'd selfishly prefer the band play longer, like.. oh, I don't know... three hours.

The first night's album was their premier, Hitchhike to Rhome, an album they performed start to finish only once upon its tenth anniversary. So many great originals surrounding the three covers. I'm always struck by Rhett's enormous skill for constructing such well-crafted, smart songs at such a tender age of 22. They hold up 20 years later. Such an enormous talent.

and he still looks like he's 30

We planted ourselves Murry side and anxiously waited to hear those gems rarely placed on the setlist. The guys took the stage to Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls, Rhett rocking the white pants, holding his beer up high to the crowd and launching into St. Ignatius. Their energy filled the room, enveloping the crowd as they charged through their first album, clearly enjoying themselves.

The final official cut is Ken's Polka Thing. It's a short accordion solo. The word had gone out on Twitter and Facebook for help procuring the instrument. Luckily they found one, and Ken strapped that puppy on. His disclaimer to being rusty, was unnecessary. He did great!

Rhett joked that unlike the CD, we wouldn't have to wait ten minutes for the secret cut, then busted into Tupelo County Jail.

"We're Old 97's, Motherfucker!"

Ha Ha! I love them.

The rest of the set was filled out with other rare favorites, Lonely Holiday, a smoky Let the Whiskey Take the Reins, the always bouncy Can't Get a Line, and a never-before-experienced-by-me Making Love With You.

Dancing with Tears in my Eyes

(you can watch all my videos from each night here)

And then Ken hit the first strain of Time Bomb, and the usual mixture of exhilaration and sadness struck as Rhett leapt from the amp. It's always bittersweet. They cut loose with every ounce of energy left in them, working themselves and the audience into a froth... and then it's over. Boo.

But wait! There were two more shows with no waiting. :)

Hitchhike to Rhome

St. Ignatius 
504 (she had me singing gooooospel...)
drowning in the days (doot-n-dada)
miss molly
dancing with tears
4 leaf clover
wish the worst (a scream-singing fave)
old 97's theme
doreen (pure rock-no banjo)
hand off
mama tried
stoned (won't you linger...)
if my heart was a car (badass)
desperate times 
ken's polka thing (go ken!)
tupelo county jail
west tx teardrops
lonely holiday
champaign, il
rollerskate skinny (natch)
let the whiskey take the reins (smoking hot)
can't get a line (always fun)
every night is friday night (head banging good)
big brown eyes (YEAH!)
making love with you
dance with me
time bomb
(sad panda face)

Okay, so I FINALLY took my Nikon to the show, minus the embarrassingly conspicuous Penis 200 zoom lens. Good thing I didn't bother to lug that hefty bad boy, because I would have had nothing but images of their nose hairs and orthodontia, and ain't nobody got time for that shit. ANYHOO, after the first night, a lot of the photos came out pretty well. Here's a link to my flickr page, if you are so inclined to peruse the plethora of pictures.