Old 97's(Pt. 2)


June 15, 2005

*Please read our first review of the Old 97's at the Austin City Limits Festival before reading this one.

The Old 97's play great country-rock with a pop sensibility. The almost-packed house at Tipitina's Wednesday night was a testament to that.

Too bad the twelve year-old quartet from Dallas wasn't quite as good as they were in Austin. At the Austin City Limits Festival, the Old 97's played on a big stage to hundreds. They seemed larger than life, which was a result of the size of their audience and the band's energetic approach to the material. They rocked hard and kicked its ass. Their confidence level was high, and they played like they had something to prove. Like, "We're FROM Texas, and screw the rest."

At the beginning of the concert at Tips, bassist/vocalist Murray Hamond joked that the Old 97's were gonna play a 7 1/2 hour set of their whole catalog and that the doors were locked. Vocalist/guitarist Rhett Miller laughed while waving off Hammond's comment. Looking back and realizing how tired they looked, Hammond was probably making light of how bad they felt by suggesting the other extreme.

In addition to the band's lack of energy onstage, the mix in the club was wimpy. It didn't have any balls, any "umph." The bass and drums were way too low in the mix. A friend actually witnessed the soundman mixing the band on the fly as the concert began.

So, that being said, the band survived by the strength of their songs and the audience's familiarity with them. It'd be very easy to get into a mediocre mix and performance if you loved a song and knew every word.

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