Between the "Music and Media" and "Travel" sections at Borders' Lovers Lane branch last night, the Old 97's celebrated The Grand Theatre, Volume One's official release date with a 45-minute set, followed by a signing session for anyone fan enough to buy the new album in the store.
The band's appearance kicked off a three-day Texas tour of in-store performances (Waterloo in Austin today, Houston's Cactus Records tomorrow). And, while last night's venue choice might seem to put the band back in Chili's territory, if anyone can avoid looking out of place getting rowdy in a chain bookstore, it's these guys.
"It feels a little funny to be so loud in a bookstore," Rhett Miller pointed out between songs.
And the 97's were plenty loud for the tight quarters they had to work with, stuck on a rug between the maps and the discounted $9.99 audiobooks. Miller jumped around, screamed and flung some sweat onto the front row, Murry Hammond strolled around doing his shotgun-blast-from-the-hip move with his bass, and, 20 feet away, one steadfast history buff remained seated in a comfy chair, flipping through a book of White House photos from the 1960s.
Nearly everyone in the store, though, was gathered around for the show--around 150 people in all--but a small crew of cameramen gathered around the band filmed the set for live streaming online and eventually, I'm guessing, in the store's collection of live performances.
They played 12 songs before sitting down to sign CDs--including eight songs off the new record, and "Curtain Calls," by request for a girl sitting on her mom's lap in the front row. After the jump, you'll find a set list, more photos and video of their new album's mellow-drunk anthem "Let the Whiskey Take the Reins."
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The Dance Class
The Grand Theatre
West Texas Teardrops
Let the Whiskey Take the Reins
You Were Born to Be In Battle
Murder (Or A Heart Attack)
Every Night is Friday Night (Without You)