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The Old 97’s with Robert Ellis at The Bell House

I had no plans to go out last night. Then a critical mass of my friends (okay, two) turned up at The Bell House to see The Old 97’s with opening act Robert Ellis. And you know me and peer pressure…

Both bands were phenomenal. I’d never knowingly heard a minute of either group and I was immediately caught up in the music.

From Old 97s at Bell House in Brooklyn – July 14, 2011

Guitarist and singer Robert Ellis from Houston and his alt-country-speed-bluegrass-punk-metal band tore the place up.

From Old 97s at Bell House in Brooklyn – July 14, 2011

I was particularly impressed by the guitar acrobatics of Kelly Doyle, who crashed through one inventive and highly precise riff after another and soloed with joy and fire.

From Old 97s at Bell House in Brooklyn – July 14, 2011

The Old 97’s took the stage in a roomful of adoring fans. The energy in the room was high and extremely positive.

From Old 97s at Bell House in Brooklyn – July 14, 2011

As I mentioned, I’d never heard one of their records, but they write the kind of songs that you immediately feel like you’ve been listening to forever. Catchy melodies, clever lyrics and good playing.

From Old 97s at Bell House in Brooklyn – July 14, 2011

It was hilarious to hear a man as gorgeous as Rhett Miller sing about losing at love to a better-looking man. Who could that have been?

From Old 97s at Bell House in Brooklyn – July 14, 2011

Lead guitarist Ken Bethea was a furnace all night long. And he some showed great Rock Tongue (TM), too.

From Old 97s at Bell House in Brooklyn – July 14, 2011

Bassist and vocalist Murray Hammond typified that Austin-style, punk-influenced country that is so much better than what passes for country on the radio. And watching him sing and play was just as much fun as hearing him.

From Old 97s at Bell House in Brooklyn – July 14, 2011

These guys are playing again tonight (7/14) at The Bell House. Do yourself a favor and go.

Published in Concert Recaps

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