Sunday, January 03, 2010

On the Eve of New Year's Eve, I visited the Sons Of Hermann Hall to witness the Old 97's, Rhett Miller, and Murry Hammond put on a musical show. For those who are not familiar with the venue, the Sons of Hermann Hall is a two story structure with narrow staircases leading to a second floor firetrap ballroom. In case of fire or chemical weapons attack, the best strategy is to grab small people and throw them through the glass windows then jump to the pavement below. Mild breakages and tendon and ligament damage are the worst case, provided you remember to crawl away from the bodies raining down from above. Since the hall was built in 1911, fire codes apparently do not apply.

Safety issues aside, the Old 97's, Rhett Miller, and Murry Hammond put on a great show. The energy in the crowd was amazing. To say they ripped through their act is an understatement. It made me exhausted just watching it. They played four straight nights, from December 27th to the 30th, and claimed to have not played the same material twice. I don't see how that's possible, but it is always best to make grandiose lies in the interests of self promotion.

I never know what to say about musical performances, other than I was impressed and the crowd loved it. You had to be there. Hammond opened with some slow dirges and played some far out instrument like a harmonium. I think it was a harmonium, or the strangest accordion ever. No matter. He was excellent, only diminished slightly by the background chatter during his performance. Rhett followed with a solo set. After a brief intermission, the Old 97s formed the superconfiguration and played a set at breakneck pace. Really wunderbar. More people dancing than I've seen at a show in a while. Don't miss these exciting new musicians who are just bursting onto the scene here in Dallas, Texas, when they come to your home town, along with their harmonium.

1 Comments:

Blogger Joe M. said...

I'm not sure just how much of this post is intended as irony (--fuck irony--) so you'll have to put up with my own unclever over-obviousness.

1) the band did not repeat a single song over the four nights except for "Timebomb," which they played at the end of each night. I was there all four nights.

2) it is a harmonium. For more harmonium and yodeling goodness, check out Hammond's 2008 album I Don't Know Where I'm Going But I'm On My Way.

3) and the most obvious: these musicians, while exciting, are hardly new. The Old 97's have been around as a band since 1993/94.

12:25 PM  

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