Old 97's plus Tommy Stinson at the National (Richmond, Va. - July 22, 2014)
Saw a great concert by the Old 97's last night here in Richmond, VA. Opener was Tommy Stinson, and it was at The National - - a beautiful, old converted theater with an excellent sound system. Good crowd for a mid-week concert here, and they were into both Stinson and the 97's.
Stinson went for about 40 minutes, played mostly guitar, and was accompanied only by a keyboardist who sometimes added harmony vocals. They actually pumped out a fair amount of sound for just a couple of guys. Seemed like he played mostly newer compositions that he said he was composing at his "new abode up in Hudson, New York". I thought I vaguely recognized one tune, but I'll be the first to 'fess up that I haven't kept up with Stinson's post-Mats output very much, being confined to his Bash & Pop album 'Friday Night is Killing Me', and his first solo album 'Village Gorilla Head'.
The Old 97's kicked it right out of the gate, and maintained a full-tilt gallop through much of their hour and forty-five minute performance with only a couple of slowdowns. They hit a lot of my early faves ("Barrier Reef"; "Timebomb"; "Doreen"; "West Texas Teardrops"; "Big Brown Eyes"; "4 Leaf Clover"; "Streets of Where I'm From", etc), mixed in liberally with songs off of their new album 'Most Messed Up', and it was amazing how well the mid-90's material blended seamlessly with the new songs. They, of course, mixed in some other songs as well, including "Rollerskate Skinny"; one of their compositions with Waylon Jennings ("Iron Road"); and a couple of Rhett Miller solo songs (including "Question").
They were joined by Stinson towards the end of their set, and the volume increased to near-ear-splitting levels (my ears were still ringing this morning). They closed their main set with a Clash cover and then an absolutely ferocious "4 Leaf Clover". They came back after the obligatory walk off-stage for their final set that included the crowd-pleasing "Doreen" and "Timebomb" songs.
Glad I saw this one.