More bands should take a leaf from the Old Crow's book and forgo a support act in favour of playing two sets. On Wednesday night the crack "old-time string band" effectively warmed up an already enthusiastic crowd with an opening 45 minute salvo drawn mainly from their latest album, Big Iron World. After a 15 minute break the second set included more songs like Wagon Wheel and Tear It Down that induce dancing, whooping and hollering. They opened with a fantastic cover of I Want You. This bodes well for a possible OCMS Play The Hits Of Bob Dylan album as the encore included Lay, Lady Lay sung in three-part harmony.
There's something infectious about seeing five blokes tear up a room with distinctly old-fashioned instruments, playing some very old songs. My tolerance for people chatting at shows is borderline dysfunctional but here I couldn't have cared less that a bloke standing next to me was playing along on a harmonica right in my ear!
As a veteran of seeing many bands of an Americana ilk, one of the other pleasures of an Old Crows gig is that the audience comprises far fewer bald men than I'm used to. Most of Wednesday night's crowd were under 30 and about a 50/50 boy-girl split.
But perhaps the greatest thing about Old Crow Medicine Show is that the band's five members seem to enjoy playing so much. Fiddle ace Ketch Secor is a charismatic front man but the rest of the boys (with possible exception of stoic guitjo maestro Kevin Hayes) play each gig as if it were their last. They get extra bonus points for introducing the band as Jim Royal, Armitage Shanks, Liam Gallagher, David Beckham and Basil Brush. Not bad cultural references from five Nashville cats.
Wagon Wheel Video