Saturday Night: Old 97's at Sam Houston Race Park

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Photos by Angelica Leicht
Old 97's
Sam Houston Race Park
April 6, 2013

So, very rarely is it possible to see a decent band for six bucks. However, it was entirely possible to do so at the Sam Houston Race Park this past Saturday night.

Oh, and not only could you see a band for way freakin' cheap, but that band was the Old 97's. I adore them, with their twangy, rowdy, country music about time bombs and mustangs, and that made the whole $6 cover charge even more flippin' badass.

In case you aren't familiar with the 97's, they're this percussion-heavy, punk rooted alt-country band that reps our neighbor (Dallas) as their hometown. Fronted by Rhett Miller, with Murray Hammond on bass, Ken Bethea on guitar, and Philip Peeples on drums, the 97's were some of the early pioneers in the '90s alt-country movement, and they're a pretty rad country band, if I do say so myself.

So I was stoked to be able to see a band that I really enjoy, but I was slightly wary of going to the race park to do so. It's a great place to bet on ponies with cheeky names, but having never been to a concert at the Sam Houston Race Park, I was a little confused on the logistics of how this was going to take place. I half expected to have to jump a fence or be assaulted by the smell of horses the entire concert.

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After I lost my ass betting on my dirty-named ponies, I ventured out to see what this race park meets concert venue was all about. As usual, it turns out I had nothing to be wary about. (I should really stop this whole making-assumptions thing and start trusting the professionals. They probably know what they're doing.)

The folks at SHRP have this sweet little setup that they've put together outside, with plenty of room to park your rear by the stage. There's even a grassy area for those of you who tend to prefer the lawn seats at Cynthia Woods.

Tons of folks had dragged in blankets to chill out on after all the cheap beer. I followed suit and roughed it on the grass, sans blanket, and I'm glad I did. Sitting under the stars, graced by Saturday's awesome weather, listening to the Old 97's was awesome.

The Old 97's are known for putting on a really great live show, and they did just that Saturday night. They opened without a ton of banter; Miller and company launched right into their mellow, story-filled country music, throwing out "Won't Be Home" and "Dancing with Tears in My Eyes" back to back.

The 97's weren't big on anecdotal interludes on Saturday, preferring to let the music communicate for them. They didn't make much time for the asides you often have during live shows; they filled the time onstage with their songs instead.

Location Info


Sam Houston Race Park

7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway W., Houston, TX

Category: General

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