WOW! That’s the way most people felt after the rollicking and high energy show put on by the Old Crow Medicine Show last night at the Pines Theater at Look Park in Northampton. It was a perfect night for a blanket over your knees, and a jacket, as the encroaching fall spelled an end to the humidity of August and the onset of autumn.
The Pines is such an ideal combination of the outdoors, and intimacy due to its relatively small capacity. The crowd was about 1700 or so, and they can fit 2300, so everyone was comfortable, both dancers and sitters. We were glad we brought our low-back chairs after watching a volunteer chair-policer make people move their taller chairs back.
The band came out sparkling with lead singer and fiddle player Ketch Secor setting the tone with “Cocaine Habit, Tell it To Me,” and launched their old-time foot-stomping string music that never stopped its excitement all night long, until the encore brought out a softer side of the band with an acoustic Bob Dylan song. The band has focused on Dylan’s iconic album Blonde on Blonde with a full remake of the whole album, and we got a few of their Dylan renditions last night, including “Just Like a Woman.”
Their biggest hit, Wagon Wheel, was a blaze of glory, the energetic playing keeping everyone on their feet, and smiling. They also played Levi, dedicated to a soldier from Virginia who died in the desert of Iraq. I was hoping they would play my personal favorite from Big Iron World, “My Good Girl,” but they choose other great tunes from their vast repertoire and made everyone, including me, happy.
Ketch did stretch it a bit when he kept talking about being in Northampton, even including a joking reference to ‘Cumby’s’ and the Red Sox, but it was clear that since they first played this area, “when the first Bush was president” people here have always been big supporters. Now they’ve moved on to becoming members of the Grand Old Opry and winning Grammys. It’s always fun to see a band succeed like they’ve done, nobody deserves it more than these hard-working twenty-somethings from Nashville.