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Posts Tagged ‘Old 97s’

Greg Won’t Be Home No More

Posted by evankessler on December 8, 2004

Today is a historic day in the history of my apartment. Greg Kessler has moved out. That’s right. After 6 years he has finally moved on to a new apartment in Tribeca. And so it goes. The world still turns and I still had to go to work, but after work I ran to CVS to get a Menorah for the first night of Hannukah. It seems CVS had a menorah for 30 dollars but no candles so I went to the stationery store 2 doors down and grabbed a festive candelabra and some candles for my celebration. I went home and lit the candles and said my prayers. Something was different when I arrived home though. It looked like we had been robbed due to Greg’s moving. There was no art on the walls and no pots and pans. I’m still taking inventory on what we don’t have anymore but rest assured we’ll be doing some shopping for the apartment this weekend.

After the ceremony I went to meet Arby, Marie Lyons, and her friend Connie at Fez to see Rhett Miller, lead singer of the Old 97’s in a solo acoustic performance. In the past few months I think I’ve raved about Mr. Miller’s songwriting capabilities rather often. Before we got to enjoy that, we had to endure a standup comedy performance that was pretty mediocre, yet it had its bright spots.

Rhett came on after the brief set and Marie noted his feminine appearance. I had to agree. Every time I’ve seen Rhett Miller perform either with the Old 97’s or solo, he looks more and more feminine. He has long blond hair past his shoulders that swings around while he does his equally girly guitar strum. Nonetheless, he is a clever wordsmith and can write some great songs. He opened the show with “Won’t Be Home No More” off of Drag It Up which did not disappoint, followed by a song off of his solo record, which was then followed up “Friends Forever” also from Drag It up. Overall he only did 5 or 6 Old 97’s songs as well as a 4 or 5 originals including 3 written in the past week and a song that he said would be on an Old 97’s Christmas album next year. Mr. Miller even through in a cover of the Kinks “Waterloo Sunset”. Probably the most enjoyable part of the show was the in between songs banter. In a way it seems like these are the best shows to go to because a singer doesn’t have an entire band to interact with and has to make himself feel at home with the crowd. He even confided with the crowd while performing the Fight Songs outtake “Villain” that he didn’t know how a part of the song went, so the crowd gleefully covered for him when it was time. The ended with the classic “Doreen” and the crowd was greeted moments later with an encore of “Big Brown Eyes”. It was really an excellent show. That was just the early show. I wish I was aware of the late show set list.

After Rhett finished, Arby, Marie, Connie, and I went upstairs for a couple more drinks and the topic of Connie’s breasts came up for some reason. I think because her shirt kept falling down and it wasn’t really meant to be an undershirt. Marie called her Tits Macpherson, which I thought was excellent for some reason, like some sort of 20’s Gangster. Anyway, I got a good laugh out of it and immensely enjoyed the show. I really want to thank Marie Lyons for coming through with the tickets and everything else in the clutch. It wouldn’t be the first time. Marie, I owe you more than one.

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Old 97’s

Posted by evankessler on September 24, 2004

I don’t really have much to say other than any concert that starts with “Barrier Reef” and ends with “Timebomb” off of Too Far To Care, is absolutely perfect by me. I saw the Old 97’s tonight for the third time since January and the third time in my lifetime but it was extremely memorable. I think my favorite moments were when anything from “Too Far to Care” was performed but for the most part it was an exceptional show. From all of the songs on Satellite Rides, Drag It Up, Fight Songs, and Too Far To Care, there could not be a more perfect concert. They even did a cover of Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried”. Rhett Miller and company do an excellent job of keeping the energy at a constant high during their performances. In my third time seeing the 97’s I felt equally as energized as the first time I saw them. I would love to be objective and tell you about flaws within the set but I just can’t find any; This band is extremely solid. Even Miller’s solo material “Come Around” and “Four Eyed Girl” were met with equal enthusiasm as other 97’s favorites. The band has an uncanny knack for keeping people tuned in and turned on to its sound. Nothing but bouncy country twang mixed with an ideal measure of pop perfection.

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Posted by evankessler on July 15, 2004

Two concerts in one day. Quite a Wednesday. This afternoon I went down to Borders in the Time Warner center to catch Ben Folds concert sponsored by I Love The 90’s. Mike Haigh, Jennie Friedlich, Vicky Ruggiero, Ruthie Fisher, Adam Starling and Mike Scher rounded out the concert crew. When we got there the crowd was much bigger than I think any of us had expected. We could barely see anything on the stage. When the show started we worked our way to the side of the stage so we could see better. Our sightline was a little better as there was a cameraman in front of us most of the time. Ben’s performance was pretty good if brief. He probably played 45 minutes or so. Not really that reviewable of a show seeing as the sound was bad and the view wasn’t that great so I’ll skip to the later event.

Stuyvesant High School: Home to the Impromptu Old 97’s Show

The Old 97’s at Stuyvesant High School downtown near the financial district was probably the best free show I’ve ever seen. This was quite the experience to see one of your favorite bands in a high school auditorium. Rhett Miller, Ken Bethea, Murray Hammond and Phillip Peeples kept the crowd rocking for about an hour and a half as they ripped through 21 songs that spanned their entire catalog, from 1994’s Hitchhike to Rome, to the yet to be released Drag It Up (July 28th). The band gave the audience plenty of reason to tap their feet as they opened with the rollicking “Rollerskate Skinny” and after slowing it down with “Lonely Holiday” the 97’s regained their good times bar band swagger with “Barrier Reef”, a personal favorite that contains several of my favorite Rhett Miller-isms. Amongst them, “So we tripped the lights fantastic, we was both made of elastic. I went through the motions with her. Her on top and me on liquor.” I think if I had to do a list of Top 10 clever lines Rhett Miller would have five of them and Eef Barzelay of Clem Snide would have the other five. Rhett took a rest on vocals and gave Murray the chance to sing lead on the new track “Smokers” but Rhett returned for another new track “New Kid”. After the two new tracks the band ripped through some old favorites. At one point Miller mused that he was pleased to be the opening band at the high school talent show. It was a dead on description of what the atmosphere felt like but we were all extremely pleased to not have to cheer for our friends crappy jam band or jazz-funk fusion group.
During “Designs on You” Miller went through half of the song playing with two broken strings on his guitar and lead guitarist Ken Bethea broke one of his strings and finished up on “Weightless” several songs later. Bethea even got to sing lead on “Coahuila” which he handles the lead vocal duties for on the upcoming release, his only lead vocal attempt in the band’s 11- year history. The set closed out on an extremely high note with their high octane Rockabilly tinged classic “Timebomb” off of 1997’s seminal “Too Far To Care” album. For the encore, the band muscled its way through renditions of fan favorites “If My Heart Was A Car”, “Victoria” and “Four Leaf Clover”.

The band’s energy radiated throughout the auditorium the entire show there was nary a dull moment. The crowd responded to the new tracks almost as enthusiastically as they did to their old favorites.

Overall, it was an excellent show made all the more satisfying by the unique venue and intimacy of the show. I had no problem seeing or hearing anything all show. It was priceless but ironically free.

Old 97’s Set List if anyone cares:
(* denotes new song)
Rollerskate Skinny
Lonely Holiday
Barrier Reef
Smokers *
New Kid *
Designs On You
The Streets of Where I’m From
W. Tx Teardrops
Bird In A Cage
Wish The Worst
The Devil’s Pay
Friends Forever *
Coahuila *
Can’t Get A Line
Big Brown Eyes

If My Heart Was A Car
Four-Leaf Clover

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Teen & A

Posted by evankessler on June 15, 2004

The headline of Today’s New York Post ran a story on the front page about how parent’s are getting their daughter’s breast implants as graduation gifts. Some people might argue that this is not front page news. I disagree. I think this is very important news. The headline read “Cup & Gown: Breast jobs new grad fad for girls”. Here’s how I think it should have read: “The Entire World Has Officially Gone Fucking Insane: Father Buys 18 yr old Daughter breast implants so she can attract more attention from the opposite sex and get laid more.” I don’t really know where I’m going with this other than, what happened to just getting your kid their 1st car. Or did she already have that. And what parent in their right mind is going to let their kid appear on the front page of the New York Post talking about how their parents let them get breast implants and mention them by name!!! Wow!!! $6,750 for a boob job for the girl who already has everything, well except for a C cup. Sorry, that article just blew my mind, so I had to mention it. I feel sorry for the parents for being so stupid and so much at the mercy of their teenage daughter. I wonder if that kid ever heard the word no in her life. I could expound on this topic and I’m sure it would be welcome but I think we all know how ludicrous this is.

Other than that front page calamity, not much of note really happened today other than I realized that I sing too much. I sing everywhere; In the shower; in the halls at work, probably in the subway, as I walk down the street. Not that I’ve never realized this before, but I always sort of wondered if it was annoying to anyone. I’ve never really been told it was, in fact I once had a former roommate tell me that he missed me injecting his name into whatever song I was singing as I walked through the apartment, but I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic. Some mornings I’ll be in the shower and halfway through the Old 97’s Too Far To Care Album in my head and I won’t realize I’m singing it. I think I’m being quiet because my roommate is sleeping in the next room but halfway through my shower I realize for the last 15 seconds I’ve been belting out Barrier Reef or Pulp’s “Bad Cover Version” and then I sort of try to muffle myself and think, I hope I didn’t wake anyone up.

Other times I’ll be walking down the street with my Ipod and just listening to a song that’s so good that you just can’t help but sing along. For instance when I was walking to the gym and Aimee Mann’s “4th of July” came on (aah the wonderful randomness of the Ipod) and I realized I was blurting out “Today’s the 4th of July. Another June has gone by…” Then I saw someone walking close to me and got slightly embarrassed because I had no idea how out of tune I may have been. I also came to the conclusion that that song is probably one of my favorites of all time. However, that notion occurs to me with about 15 different songs a day. Maybe I should make a list page of favorite songs, movies and what not. Not that anyone should really care what I like. I don’t really care that much about anyone else likes and it would be kind of self serving. Okay, I’m sold. I’ll do it.

Anyway, lucky for me I’m going to see Aimee Mann at St. Anne’s Warehouse next week. I’m really excited. I seem like a giddy schoolboy or something but I sort of get that way when I see one of my favorite artists who I’ve never seen before. Can you imagine me being giddy? Imagine me normally, all pseudo-stoned like. Keep that mental picture. That’s what I look like when I’m giddy. Maybe I’ll write a review for it the next day, but I’ll probably be too lazy. Even though you don’t care I’m going to paste the lyrics of this wonderful song for no apparent reason. It’s just one of those songs you listen to and think, how could anyone be this talented. And then you come to the depressing conclusion that you’ll never be that talented. Not that I’m a songwriter or anything. , Read it and see for yourself but you’d probably get it more if you heard it so go to http://www.aimeemann.com/

“Today’s the fourth of July
another June has gone by
and when they light up our town
I just think
what a waste of gunpowder and sky

I’m certain that I am alone

in harbouring thoughts of our home

it’s one of my faults that I can’t quell my past

I ought to have gotten it gone

Oh, baby, I wonder –
if when you are older –


you’ll wake up
and say,
‘My God, I should have told her –

what would it take?

But now here I am and the world’s gotten colder

and she’s got the river down which I sold her.

So that’s today’s memory lane
with all the pathos and pain

another chapter in a book where the chapters are endless

and they’re always the same

a verse, then a verse, and refrain

Oh, baby, I wonder –
if when you are older –

you’ll wake up

and say, ‘My God, I should have told her
what would it take?
But now here I am and the world’s gotten colder

and she’s got the river down which I sold her.”

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