It always feels good to see a good solid Old 97s show. Caught them last night in Denver, and as always, they delivered. For a band that never really gets that much radio play, they have really built a following off of their great albums and solid live shows over the years.
Kind of funny how, even though they are done with major labels, likely for good, they have this solid fan base of people in the range of ages from about 30-45, who incidentally are a demographic that has money. Hence, I would speculate that touring and merch sale income may be as good for them as it has ever been.
Hayes Carll, who I've seen a number of times, but many years back when he was still playing solo, did a great opening set. His music is really growing on me. The songwriting is top notch, and I think he's found a good sound for his voice. (although take a little bit of the roadhouse sound out and it would be absolutely perfect, in my opinion.) Before him, I Love Math, featuring Philip from Old 97s and members of the Deathray Davies, played a short opening set...which I missed. and am really bummed about. Saw them about 4 years ago and loved the show, so I'm really sorry I didn't get to see it.
The 97s were obviously pushing their new record, so lots of material off of that. Sorry not to hear the best song off of that album "This Beautiful Thing," one of Murry's songs, but the new album has got some great material. As with any Old 97s show, they push the new stuff, always mixing in the older stuff. Through that process they figure out what's great live and what's less great, and next time you see them, they'll have the new stuff more fine-tuned and cut out those that don't get the crowd's attention.
Now this is not in order, but since I'm an official Old 97s junkie, here's the set list they played off of each album:
Hitchhike to Rhome:
Stoned (it's just not the same in Denver as a Dallas show, where everyone sings along)
Wreck Your Life:
Big Brown Eyes
Too Far to Care:
Big Brown Eyes
Crash on the Barrelhead (this made my night)
Drag It Up:
Won't Be Home
The New Kid
Also, to start the encore, Rhett played "Come Around," from his first solo album The Instigator, and "Wave of Mutilation" by the Pixies and "I Wanna Be Sedated" by the Ramones.
Like I said, lots of stuff from the new album, which I won't list off, but overall a fantastic show. Hope they stay on the road a while with this one and maybe come back through town.