Aftermath: Old 97's Match Their Grayer, Mellower House Of Blues Audience

Some British band - it may have been the Thompson Twins - once sang about what a drag it is getting old. Aftermath is getting on in years, but still young at heart, which is what compelled us to go check out a similarly more seasoned Old 97s at the House of Blues Saturday night.

97's shows used to be plentiful, back when Elektra was banking on them to usher in a wave of alt-country profits. Aftermath fondly remembers packed shows at the Satellite Lounge - including a December 1998 barnburner with the Gourds - and a memorable gig at Fitzgerald's in August 1999.

That was right after the release of Fight Songs, when stardom seemed inevitable, though it was mostly memorable for being 120 degrees upstairs, melting the makeup off all of front man Rhett Miller's new groupies.

That was before the dark times, before Sugar Ray and Ricky Martin took over the radio and pushed the 97's and others back onto the porch. They made a try for mainstream radio, taking a turn into pop territory before going on hiatus while Miller pursued a solo career.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar