Talk about a powerhouse line-up of bands. With Old 97’s, Bob Schneider and the Bottle Rockets all taking the stage on the same evening, it was like winning the music fan lottery.. Somebody that does booking at the Jones Assembly in OKC definitely earned their paycheck for this one. It was one of those shows that saw a crowd energy build early, and amplify to an exhaustive state by show’s end.
While many in the audience were there to specifically see the Old 97’s, undoubtedly each band gained some new followers as a result of some great performances.
The Bottle Rockets took the stage first as the audience was still mostly trickling in. Undeterred by the slowly forming crowd, Frontman/guitarist Brian Henneman, guitarist John Horton, drummer Mark Ortmann and Keith Voegle on bass played their impassioned set in a manner that demanded attention. They most certainly seemed to capture it. Celebrating their 26th year as a band, Henneman explained early that their set would backtrack through the band’s history. Starting with the title track of their most recent release on Bloodshot Records, “Bit Logic” the band gave us a guided tour all the way back to their humble beginnings in Festus, MO. Alongside their neighbors, Uncle Tupelo and other contemporaries such as Whiskeytown and the Jayhawks, the Bottle Rockets are one of the forefathers of what we now refer to as Americana. Their set was high energy, fun and full of great memories. Highlights included the rollicking “I Love My Dog”, “Happy Anniversary”, a cover of Doug Sahm’s “I Don’t Want To Go Home”, and of course “1000 Dollar Car”and “Radar Gun”.
Check out the Bottle Rockets here for more information: http://www.bottlerocketsmusic.com/ and our review of their recent album, here: REVIEW: Bottle Rockets Kick It Up a Reflective Country Notch in “Bit Logic” and our interview of Brian Henneman, here: Interview: Bit by Bit Logic: Conversation with Brian Henneman of the Bottle Rockets
Next up was Austin’s pride and joy, Bob Schneider. You really can’t pigeon hole Schneider. The minute you think you’ve got his music style figured out, he’s going to change it, and therein lies his charm. Americana, funk, blues, poetry, electronic you name it and Bob has likely dabbled in it in some form or fashion. As a result, Schneider has won more Austin Music awards than any other musician to date, fifty-five as of last count. If you’re at all familiar with the level of talent Austin possesses, that’s pretty damn impressive. Additionally, Schneider has maintained a weekly residency at Austin’s Saxon Pub for 16 years, and presides over a fourteen year , invitation only, song writing club. That club, called “The Song Game” includes Hayes Carll, Patty Griffin and more. The requirements of the club are that members write at minimum of one song a week or be removed from the club. To date, Schneider has written well over 1500 songs. On this night, Schneider took the stage with his band that included Jon Sanchez on guitar, and long time collaborator Bruce Hughes on bass for a pretty eclectic set. Playing songs from throughout his vast repertoire, highlights included the title track from his newest album, “Blood and Bones” on his own label, Shockorama, the crowd favorite, “40 Dogs (Romeo & Juliet)”, “Tarantula” and a completely different arrangement of “Lake Michigan”. I hadn’t seen Schneider live in a few years, but I now can’t wait for the next opportunity. Check out and lose yourself on Bob’s expansive webpage here: http://www.bobschneider.com/
Headlining tonight were Texas Americana pioneers, Old 97’s. Without question, they were the band the majority in attendance were there to see, and by the time they took the stage, the audience has swelled and become a crowded sea of bodies along the stage rail. Touring in support of their newest, “Graveyard Whistling” from ATO records, the boys kicked things off with “I Don’t Wanna Die In This Town” from that album, before backtracking a bit to 2014’s “Wheels Off”. Throughout the course of their fiery set, the band roared through some nearly two dozen songs displaying their impact upon the genre. Highlight for me centered around 1999’s “Fight Songs” with “Crash on the Barrelhead” , “Jagged”, and “19”all represented. Frontman Rhett Miller certainly brought his version of “loud folk” front and center, expertly delivered by his bandmates, Murray Hammond on bass and vocals, Ken Bethea on lead guitar and Philip Peeples on drums. By the time the band concluded their 3-song encore of “Let’s Get Drunk & Get it On”, “Four Leaf Clover” and “Timebomb”, the band and audience was a sweaty, exhausted and no doubt happy mess. The Old 97’s continue their tour dates on into August, so you should have plenty of time to catch them this year. Find oyt all the information by visiting their page: http://old97s.com/