Friday, January 21, 2011
Old 97's return rock 'n' roll to its rightful place
Singer-songwriter-rhythm guitarist Rhett Miller led the Old 97's through an original set of energetic rock 'n' roll at the Galaxy Concert Theatre in Santa Ana on Jan. 20.
Alt rock. Folk rock. Hard rock. Modern rock.
Heck, whatever happened to plain ol' rock 'n' roll?
Well, rock 'n' roll made a well-deserved return to the Galaxy Concert Theatre in Santa Ana on Thursday night courtesy of the Old 97's.
Admittedly, there is plenty of alt country grit in the Dallas, Texas-spawned quartet's sound, but watching the Old 97's tear it up in a loose and engaging 90-minute concert played out in Orange County was refreshing.
And indeed, watching the Old 97's I could imagine that Buddy Holly might well be doing this exact mix of roots rock and country rock if he had been born 50 years later.
Led by singer-rhythm guitarist Rhett Miller (seen above in a photo I snapped at the show), the band's approach was much like it was when I caught them at the Hootenanny Festival in Irvine last summer. But that is clearly part of the outfit's appeal. Simply put, Miller, lead guitarist Ken Bethea, singer-bassist Murry Hammond and drummer Philip Peeples rocked.
It didn't matter whether the Old 97's were playing some of their better-known stuff ("King of All of the World," "Four-Leaf Clover," "Question") or new material off their 2010 disc The Grand Theatre, the band's approach was authentic, engaging and raucous.
Several new songs were standouts, notably the forceful rocker "Champaign, Illinois," the rollicking "Every Night is Friday Night (Without You)" and similarly fast-paced "A State of Texas."