|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.
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
504 (she had me singing gooooospel...)
drowning in the days (doot-n-dada)
dancing with tears
4 leaf clover
wish the worst (a scream-singing fave)
old 97's theme
doreen (pure rock-no banjo)
stoned (won't you linger...)
if my heart was a car (badass)
ken's polka thing (go ken!)
tupelo county jail
west tx teardrops
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
(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.