I write a review for all the concerts I attend. For some unknown reason, I had a lot of difficulty writing about last Sunday’s Old 97’s show at the Southgate House. I’m not sure why I had so much trouble. The concert was great. It took place at my all-time favorite concert venue. I had an appreciative, non-annoying concert-going partner. We got to the venue early and snagged the #1 table in the entire building. The opening act was interesting and unlike anything I’d ever seen before. The music playing in between the sets was intriguing*. The Old 97’s were fantastic, as always. The songs from Blame it on Gravity fit in well with their older material far better than I thought they would. I got to hear a lot of personal favorites like “Lonely Holiday”, “Barrier Reef”, and “Rollerskate Skinny”. Sure, I had to sit through lowlights like “Question” and “Bloomington”, but the vast majority of everything the Old 97’s played was exciting tinnitis-inducing rock & roll. And yet, I can’t really think of anything to say about it. All I can come up with is a mean-spirited paragraph about the opening act. Here it is:
The opening act was Charlie Louvin, a member of the Grand Old Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. He’s mostly famous for being half of the Louvin Brothers, a duo that recorded a lot of country hits back in the 1950s. It was cool to see a living legend, but things got a bit repetitive after a few songs. A mumbly 80 year old is only entertaining for a half dozen songs. He played twice that. Personal highlights included “Cash on the Barrelhead” and “Great Atomic Power”.
That’s all I could come up with. As soon as I started to write about the headliner’s performance, I was struck by an overwhelming sense of writer’s block. Should I write about Rhett Miller’s prettiness and how practically every woman in the audience got lightheaded when he turned around and shook his rump?
Should I write about the undisguised look of disgust on Ken Bethea’s face when Rhett decided to perform “Bloomington” as an encore? Should I write about how the show started out non-smoking, but switched to smoking as soon as someone tore down the sign and threw it in the garbage? Should I haul out the old anecdote about how I used to think “Question” was about committing outdoor sodomy? Should I share the low-quality video clip of Rhett singing the best line in “Rollerskate Skinny”? Does the internet really need another low-quality video clip? Does the internet really need another poorly-written concert review? Do I over-hyphenate? Should I write about how I thought I was going to see my brother at the show, but never did actually find him? Should I write about how I saw an old roommate of mine who I hadn’t seen in about ten years, but didn’t bother going downstairs to say hello to because I am anti-social and grumpy? Is that even relevant? Is that too personal? Am I asking too many questions? Are these paragraphs too long? Have you lost interest?
Forget this! I’m just going to share the setlist and a few concert-related pictures and call it a review.
Main set: The Fool/Lonely Holiday/Melt Snow/No Baby I/Crash on the Barrelhead/Busted Afternoon/The One/Murder (Or a Heart Attack)/Doreen/Wish the Worst/Color of a Lonely Heart is Blue/Question/The New Kid/Victoria/Here’s to the Halcyon/Smokers/My Two Feet/Early Morning/Barrier Reef/Rollerskate Skinny/The Easy Way
Encore: Come Around (solo)/Our Love (solo)/Bloomington/Dance With Me/Timebomb
[* = Anyone know a “ba-ba-ba” song that features the phrase “roman candle winters”?]