Monday, December 10, 2012

Old Crow Medicine Show @ The Electric Factory x 2

The Milk Carton Kids
The Lumineers
@ The Electric Factory
Philadelphia, PA
August 4, 2012

It is a wonderful thing being able to see one of your favorite bands live.  It is even better being able to see that band more than once, especially in a fairly intimate venue.  I discovered Old Crow Medicine Show in early 2006.  I fell in love with them straight away!  I was in a musical funk, disgusted with the popular music on the radio at the time.  I detested most things that were offered to us via the main stream.  Ironically, I found OCMS’s old timey sound refreshing, even though it sounded like it had been around for decades.  I immediately made the crudest “mix CD’ I could for my best friends and passed the music along to them, because, let’s face it, it was awesome!  The music, the voices, the stories---it was all good.  We consumed their music like fuel and obtained all that we were able to from whatever sources we could find.  I was in the beginnings of dabbling with guitar play at the time and Wagon Wheel was one of the first songs I played.  Their music will always take me back to that time of my life. 

On the streets of Philadelphia, on route to The Electric Factory.
I was lucky enough to make the trip to see OCMS at The Electric Factory in Philadelphia in 2009 for The Big Surprise Tour.  It was amazing and one of the best performances I had been to at the time.  I got to see Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings in the Dave Rawlings Machine, which was very epic.  Old Crow and the gang put on a hell of a show!  After busting out into a very exciting rendition of Billie Jean in honor of Michael Jackson’s recent death, the night ended with everyone on stage together performing The Weight.  It was marvelous.  I was also lucky enough to see them again this year in August at the same venue.  It was interesting to compare the different line ups.  The first time I saw OCMS Willie Watson was with them, and his shrill, melodic voice was my favorite.  This second time I saw them they had Critter Fuqua, a founding member, with them again, but had also dropped Willie Watson.  It was a wonderful show, but I missed the sound of Willlie.  Overall, however, it was a great performance and it was interesting to compare the sounds and show of then and now while also being able to check out two great opening acts! 

On August 4th there were two opening acts at The Electric Factory, The Milk Carton Kids, followed by The Lumineers.  We weren’t sure what the opening acts would even be when we ordered our tickets, so seeing these bands was just icing on the OCMS cake!
The Milk Carton Kids, an indie folk duo hailing from Los Angeles, California, I found very pleasing.  They were dressed in suits, reminiscent almost of the early Beatles or Buddy Holly, but their sound was more reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel.  They came across as somewhat timid in their gentlemanly attire, although the lead guitarist was pretty bad ass!  These guys only formed in 2011, but have recorded two albums, Prologue and Retrospect.  I loved their sound. 

The Lumineers were excellent!  They have gained mainstream popularity lately after releasing their self-titled debut album in April of this year and it was a great surprise getting to see them perform.  They had great energy and were a crowd favorite.  Many of the people we talked to that night were there to see The Lumineers.  One fan in particular informed me that they had just recorded their first album, after playing together for ten years.  This person also informed me how members Jeremiah Fraites and Wesley Schultz bonded through music after the loss of Jeremiah’s brother, Joshua, in 2001.  I was also told how they played the NYC scene together with little luck, until moving it out to Denver, Colorado and meeting up with their cellist Neyla Pekarek.  Their fans were very into them and obviously knew their shit.  I think a good amount of the people were actually there to see The Lumineers.  Jeremiah was very interactive as the drummer and brought a bass drum up front to use by a microphone as he sang back up.  I had never witnessed upfront percussion that was so energetic before.  Wesley and Jeremiah were very enthusiastic and and Neyla was very impressive on the cello.  Their music is fun and on this night they even did a version of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues!  They were a great show.

Old Crow Medicine Show is a great live band.  If you have never seen them, I highly suggest trying to catch a show!  They have an energy that is hard to capture in words.  Having seen them both times it was interesting to see how things change and how much things stay the same.  At the time of this concert I hadn’t heard their newest album, Carry Me Back, which had just came out in July of this year, so I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into, other than knowing what I got into last time.  The first show was great, but I hoped to be a LITTLE less intoxicated on this night! 

OCMS, as I said, are without Willie Watson now.  I’m not sure as to the exact reason of the split, but they told him to go eat a sandwich and wished him their best...or something to that nature.  He actually left to pursue a solo career in LA, I believe.  Their sound is the same and yet sadly different without him.  I had been watching a lot of videos on YouTube of Ketch and Critter performing together.  They have a great chemistry and sound amazing together so I looked forward to seeing them perform together live.  They also had a new man with them they introduced as Chance McCoy.  “I see what they’re doing with his tight pants and his long hair,” my friend said.  Chance was an obvious Willie Watson replacement, but a promising one at that.  It was in no way the same, but by the end of the show we decided it wasn’t that bad. 

The plus side to having Chance with them now was his ability to play more instruments.  He played the fiddle along with Ketch, and added a different feel to things; he was high energy and very eager on stage.  He was a good addition but still lacked the voice and presence that Willie Watson brought to the plate.  Overall they still had really good energy and it was jolly fun.  They were definitely enjoying themselves.  Ketch and Critter were great together and it was awesome to hear more of the original sound with them together again.  A lot of favorites were played, some old, some new.  Wagon Wheel just isn’t the same without Willie.  They played some songs off of the new album.  My husband, who was not with us at the first show, drove us down and was here with us this time.  We enjoyed beverages and listened to live music for hours while meeting and talking to some really good people.  We had a very good time at this show.  They ended the night with everyone on stage doing The Band’s The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and then lastly Dylan’s I Shall Be Released!!  It was glorious! All of the bands were great, I recommend them, and I highly recommend The Electric Factory in Philadelphia.  It is a truly awesome venue!  

- Missie Sue


The Lumineers:

Old Crow Medicine Show:

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