Old 97’s & Nicole Atkins – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA – May 2, 2017
The reliable rock of Old 97’s makes them one of the best modern bands. Their latest record, Graveyard Whistling, is more country than anything they have done in a while and their live programming reflects this. From the first notes of Most Messed Up‘s “Nashville,” lead singer Rhett Miller jumps right into the mode of charismatic front man, smiling with sweat and swagger. And the crowd at Union Transfer last week ate up every ounce of their current record and back catalogue.
Nicole Atkins, who opened with a strong set that featured tracks from a forthcoming record, joined Miller and company on the biggest highlight from Whistling, “Good with God.” The sing-alongs on classics like “Barrier Reef” and “Timebomb” were highlights. From note one until the final jump of guitarist Ken Bethea, the combination of Miller, Bethea, bassist Murry Hammond and drummer Philip Peeples is a rare sight of cohesive pure rock and alt-country fun. Here’s to many more records to come that will make the anthemic “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive” even more accurate.