I suppose I’m long overdue to make my first post here at HBAT. After all, Frank showed me which mat the key is under weeks ago. Of course, it helps to have something to say — and what better subject than a live show review, AND some insider info on the upcoming Old 97’s album?

The boys played to a packed house at La Zona Rosa in Austin this past Saturday. The set list was heavy on the rock, and the banter was minimal. The crowd was a little tame for an Austin show, with the exception of a rowdy crew up front, Murry-side. (It’s one thing to pogo through “Timebomb;” it’s another to, um, mosh. I highly recommend it.) It was everything we’ve come to expect from an Old 97’s show — strings were broken, booties were shaken, leaps were leapen.

There was one new song on the original set list: “Dance With Me,” which debuted at the recent memorial show for Carter in Dallas. A rollicking, happy tune that showcases more of the surf guitar chops Ken revealed in “Smokers.” Thereafter, Ken was supposed to sing “Coahuila.” Instead he stepped up to the mic and called for another new song, to everyone’s surprise (particularly Rhett’s ;]). I didn’t catch the name, but it was another rocker, and has me eagerly anticipating the new album even more.

I actually spoke to Ken a bit before the show about just that, and let me tell you, he is PUMPED. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him so enthused about an upcoming album. He compared the recording process to that of Too Far To Care, and he compared the overall sound to that of the Clash’s London Calling. He was extremely complimentary of the songwriting this time around, saying it’s the best batch of songs they’ve had to work with in years. You could tell he’s had a good time in the studio, and I expect the guitar work on this one to really crank things up a notch.

You lucky folks going to the Dallas show tonight, have fun! I am jealous. -jeff