his is the first time in the last several years that I have only been able to attend one concert on the Old 97's tour stop. Usually, they play more than one local show and I attend them all. I don't mind driving all over Southern California to catch them. Sadly, my new job prevented me from attending the Friday night show ( One that included special guest Exene Cervenka). I also nearly missed part of Rhett's opening set as we were running late to the show on Saturday night. Luckily we walked in about a minute before he took stage and managed to get drinks and a great spot. The curse was lifted!
Rhett played a short opening set, maybe six or seven songs. He started the set with a song that I absolutely love, Lost Without You, off of his latest album, The Dreamer. I loved the last show with Rhett and the Serial Lady Killers, but it was nice just to have him and the guitar up for a few songs. He also played a song that I have never heard and had been pitched to be part of the Too Far To Care album. I wish that I could remember the name of it and will need to do some research to figure it out.
After Rhett's set, we had a longer opening set by a Nashville band called Those Darlins. They frequently tour with the Old 97's, but this was the first time that I had seen them perform. I have been introduced to many fantastic bands via Old 97's shows and was very excited to see Those Darlins. I listened to some of their songs on Youtube prior to the show and had a mixed reaction. Some of their songs have great nuanced lyrics and are catchy. In particular, I liked Screws Get Loose and Be Your Bro. Be Your Bro is an especially great song, a hilarious/edgy take on why men and women sometimes can't just be friends. I liked the studio versions of the songs, but I didn't care for the band live. It was just loud and difficult to discern the clever lyrics. I felt like this band was potentially better than what I saw at the El Rey. If my only exposure to them had been at this show, I wouldn't have been interested in them. They had a really long opening set that felt like it would never end. It only built the anticipation for the Old 97's!
Old 97's are my favorite band, so this is going to be a glowing review. I love them and they never put on a bad show. The first half of the concert was the Too Far to Care album in its entirety, which means kicking off the concert with Timebomb. Timebomb is traditionally the song that they use to close the show, last song of the encore. Myself and I am sure, every hard core fan in the audience was wondering what on earth they play to close the show. Well, they did Timebomb, again. Timebomb twice in the same night = awesome! The Too Far To Care album is one of my favorites and it really makes for a great set. It was the first time I've heard Salome done live, great stuff. They also played maybe an additional fifteen songs that are fan favorites. I know it's popular and that they often play it, but I was happy to hear Doreen, which is my go to song for singing along as loud as I can when driving on the freeway.
Here is a shot of the band courtesy of Dan. I was so engrossed in the show, that I couldn't be bothered to take pictures.
A few thoughts on the venue. This was the first time that I had visited the El Rey for a concert. Many years ago, I used to attend the monthly Club Make-up at the El Rey, which was a lot of fun and much missed. I think that this venue works well for concerts. The parking was easy, ten dollars in a structure about a block away. When I used to come for the club, we would always have to hunt for street parking. The structure makes it easy. The venue is clean and well managed. Nice bar staff with average prices for drinks. I like that it's standing room, we had a great vantage point and security was everywhere, not that I noticed any problems. Fans were dancing, singing along and respectful to one another, just as any great concert should be!