Written by T.J. "Red" Arnall and famously covered by Johnny Cash, the song "Cocaine Blues" advises its listener to "Just lay off that whiskey and let that cocaine be."
Sara Brickner Old Crow Medicine Show played The Moore Theatre on Thursday, October 8.
Well, Old Crow Medicine Show's advice took a different turn when the band played their rendition of the old hit on last night at the Moore Theatre. Specifically, they changed the words to "Take a bong rip/But let that cocaine be." I am pretty damn certain that's what I heard. Of course, this band, in spite of their old-timey sound, has a broad appeal. Country music fans like them, too, of course, but judging from the look of the crowd last night, a good subset of their audience consists of people who probably listen to more Dave Matthews and Jack Johnson than Hank Williams and Bob Dylan. Thing is, even people who claim not to like country will admit to liking Old Crow Medicine Show, not just because of their astounding musicianship, but because they are engaging showmen who take visible joy in performing. It's infectious. Even though they played many of the same songs they're famous for and have been performing for years ("Wagon Wheel," "Caroline," etc.) -- songs they play at almost every single show -- they still manage to look like they're having the best time of their lives, every time.
Though Ketch Secor is charming and oh so easy on the eyes, the ham of the group is definitely Willie Watson, a guy who nods his head so fast when he plays it looks like he's having a seizure, has thighs about as big around as my calves, and is capable of running laps around the stage while playing his guitar without even breaking a sweat. He also broke so many strings that I'm pretty sure he had a completely new set on his guitar by the end of the show. It's no mystery to me why he's so skinny. That man must burn 1,000 calories onstage every single night.The only thing that could've possibly made the show better is if there had been space to dance -- the Moore is a seated venue -- but dancing in the aisles was strictly verboten, and there wasn't enough space to do more than wiggle enthusiastically in front of your seat. Even the people who tried to sort of edge out into the aisles to give themselves a little more side-to-side room got quickly smooshed back into the seats by a pair of stern, seemingly tireless security guards. Next time they come, I'd like to see them play Marymoor Park. The band said they'd return to Seattle in the spring, but if it means waiting a few more months to see the band in a space that facilitates dancing and is big enough to accomodate all of OCMS' raucous fans, I'd consider it worth the wait.