I’ve lived in Nashville, Tennessee for going on nine years at this point and since my residency here I’ve only traveled to Memphis one other time for a show. You see, the stretch of I-40 between Nashville and Memphis is called Music Highway — but to me it’s just flat out BOOOOORING.
[We're All In This Thing Together]
This past Sunday was my second trip to Memphis to witness Old Crow Medicine Show and The Felice Brothers. After an (actual) enjoyable three-hour road trip and a pork-pulled sandwich from Tops the mood was set for what was witnessed at the completely new-state-of-the-art venue venue in Memphis — Minglewood Hall.
I’ve had the opportunity to see the Felice Brothers a couple of times this past year, and to be perfectly honest – their 45 minute set was the sole reason I traveled to Memphis. But the music lover I am, I decided to stick it out just to see what Old Crow had to offer. READ ON for more…
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a piece about my shitty experience with the Lucero crowd. My experience with this show was the exact opposite. My friend and I arrived really early, so we got into the venue and up front with relative ease. Eventually, as happens at every show I attend, some six-foot-something gentlemen and his girlfriend (who usually happens to be comparable to my meager height of 4’11″) gets right in front of me. Obviously I had been there a while, waiting patiently for the show to get underway, but it was no matter to them. After witnessing this, one of the fans already riding the rail offered me her spot. I must admit, I was in a state of shock but I took that opportunity and ran with it.
I sparked up a conversation with a different couple behind me and when his girlfriend went to grab a drink the guy showed me a ring he had in his pocket as he was planning to propose to her sometime during the show. It amazes me how much people are willing to share when they are excited and nervous, but nonetheless what a great memory to have before the music even started! Even though I didn’t get their names — I wish them the very best in life (for those of you keeping track at home, she said yes).
Finally, it was time for the Felice Brothers and when they arrived on stage I was surprised to see that their lineup changed. Their drummer, Simone, was not in attendance for one reason or another and the Felice’s brother-in-law, A.A. Bondy, who happens to be on a tour of his own was helping out on guitar for this special show.
The show kicked off with Big Surprise and then led into one of my personal favorites, Run Chicken Run. After a couple of songs, some of the Old Crow boys joined the Felice Brothers on a few numbers and this started the theme of guest spots for the rest of the evening. The band also played a couple of tracks that will appear on their new album set for an April release. One such track was a rousing rendition of the Memphis Flu – which was quite appropriate considering I actually got ill going to Memphis.
After a great set of music by the Felice Brothers the boys in Old Crow were set to take the stage in their last show of the U.S. leg of their tour in support of their new release Tennessee Pusher. After a couple of tracks to warm up in the first set, the band immediately launched into three tracks from their new release. The first set closed with Minglewood Blues, an obvious nod to the new venue.
The second set is where things got interesting. During Hard to Tell I saw the fastest guitar string change I’ve ever witnessed and the band kept going like nothing had even happened – a testament to their professionalism. During Methamphetamine the Felice Brothers band members joined Old Crow and managed to turn the rest of the show into a family affair. The highlight of the evening for me was We’re All in This Thing Together that featured Ian Felice on vocals for a verse. The encore almost turned into another set with both bands tackling each other’s songs and then a triple threat of covers including Tonight’s the Night, Lay Lady Lay, and finally Ziggy Stardust.
Before I conclude this recap of the evenings events I wanted to share my thoughts on the new venue in Memphis. Short answer: LOVE IT! In my full-time job I manage a small venue here in middle Tennessee and I’m absolutely jealous of the amenities they have. The light rigging, the way it’s setup to the ease of actually getting in through the will call lines could put Memphis back on the Musical Highway map – right back where it belongs on the muddy banks of the Mississippi. The only qualms I had was the fact that they didn’t have their liquor license (yet) so only beer was served and the grating on the front of the stage tore my hand up pretty bad while trying to get a few snaps of the camera in. I can’t wait to go back next month for Umphrey’s to see what other changes they have in store.
Setlist courtesy oldcrowfans.com:
The Felice Brothers Set: (entire set with AA Bondy on electric guitar)
Run Chicken Run
Murder By Mistletoe (w/ Willie on electric)
Whiskey In My Whiskey (w/ Gill on banjo and Willie on electric)
Cypress Grove (? title) (w/Gill)
O the Vampyre (w/ AA Bondy on vocals)
Penn Station (w/ Morgan on scrap metal)
Old Crowe Medicine Show
Fall on My Knees
Tear it Down
Alabama High Test
Motel in Memphis (w/ James and Searcher Felice)
Hard to Love
I Hear Them All
Mother Earth (w/ James Felice)
Hard to Tell (willie breaks a string)
Tennessee Pusher (w/ Ian Felice)
Methamphetamine (w/ the Felice Brothers)
Mary’s Kitchen (w/ the Felice Brothers)
Wagon Wheel (w/ the Felice Brothers)
Were All in This Thing Together (w/ the Felice Brothers)
Tell it To Me (w/ The Felice Brothers)
Frankie’s Gun (w/ the Felice Brothers)
Tonights the Night (w/ the Felice Brothers)
Lay Lady Lay (w/ the Felice Brothers)
Ziggy Stardust (w/ the Felice Brothers)