Rhett Miller & The Believers Friday April 14, 2006 Rex Theater Pittsburgh, PA
w/ Garrison Starr
Garrison Starr autographed ticket stub. Nicolai who? Fuck him.
My Valentine/Four-Eyed Girl/Nineteen/Brand New Day/Things That Disappear/Fireflies/Lonely Holiday/The El/I'm With Her/Rollerskate Skinny/Delicate/Salome*/Question*/Timebomb*/World Inside The World/I Believe She's Lying/Come Around/Help Me, Suzanne/King Of All The World/Dressing Room Walls/Ain't That Strange/Murder (Or A Heart Attack)/Barrier Reef/Buick City Complex/This Is What I Do/Singular Girl/Our Love/Meteor Shower/Four Leaf Clover
What a fun show. Sure it's cornball, sugar-pop, but what's wrong with that?
I get to the Rex late and Garrison Starr is already on. What a great venue. They took out the theater chairs since I've been there last and now I walk right up to the lip of the stage. Perfect! She was very cool. She maybe had the best between song banter I've heard all year. She was riffing on Reba's Doritos commercial to a 'T'. Funny shit.
Of all the pics on the site, my wife jealously freaks over this one. Wedding ring? That's not a wedding ring, baby!
Seriously, this has become THE room in the city. My buddy Joe said the best thing about the venue (besides the fact that Yuengling drafts seem to be on special 24/7, the acoustics are killer, perfect size room room for the acts booked, not a bad sightline in the joint, and the staff is professional and courteous) is that the floor slopes at a SLIGHT angle so that everyone can see.
He was rockin' and the show was a blast. 'Nuff said.
Rhett Miller autographed solo CD covers
Rhett commented that he was really happy with the way the live album came out. I agree!
Yeah, I produced these.
Rhett Miller and Garrison Starr autographed show flyer
Preview article from The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Thursday April 13, 2006
Rhett Miller's debut solo CD was called "The Instigator," the title alone implying a bit of impish rebellion.
So, what to make of his second release, "The Believer," and all that title's earnest associations?
Simply, life has thrown Miller a giant-sized change-up. No longer single "and never waking up, ever," Miller is married and the father a young son with a baby girl on the way. He's moved from the nexus of New York City to the placid Hudson Valley in upstate New York, where his wife's family is from.
"I love it," says Miller, who performs Friday at the Rex Theatre on the South Side. "I wouldn't change, even though it's very different. So, I chose 'The Believer' even though when I wrote the songs I wasn't aware or didn't think about the implications of that phrase. ... It has a lot to with how I've gone through stages where I was feeling sorry for myself, or really just being miserable, and thinking there wasn't a lot out there worth living for. Nowadays, I feel quite the opposite. There's a lot that I believe in now. It's an un-ironic title, which isn't very cool, but I can't help it."
The title isn't the only thing that isn't exactly hip. On the cover of "The Believer," Miller is wearing a dark purple jacket and a purple shirt, a "Rod Stewart look," he says.
But those elements are superficial. When he's not leading the alt-country Old 97s, Miller excels at purely pop songwriting, and "The Believer" is filled with irresistible gems.
For this album, however, Miller did take a retro approach. Wanting to incorporate strings, he and producer George Drakoulias briefly flirted with the idea of using a live orchestra via an ISDN line. Instead, Miller employed chamberlain string wizard Patrick Warren, who has worked with Aimee Mann and Michael Penn, to produce the lush arrangements that evoke another era of music.
"I think there were a bunch of decades when music was a lot more fun," he says. "I know it was always a business thing; I'm not kidding myself by thinking it was really ever that different. But, I really feel like it got way more cynical in the '80s. Nobody really cared about the quality of the music, they just were trying to figure out what would sell faster. That's a generalization, and there was a lot of great music being made. But, I thought a lot about the '70s; not just the sound of the '70s, but the ethic of the '70s. Beauty was not a bad thing. Beauty did not automatically pigeonhole you into some weird record-store-clerk-favorite-band-that-nobody-ever-heard-of kind of thing."
There's little chance of that happening, especially with his live band, The Believers. The group features New Cumberland, W.Va., native, Angela Webster, whom Miller calls "an amazing drummer." And, Miller seems pretty confident the rest of the live band will provide a fairly rousing show.
But, don't expect Miller to outlive his welcome. An aspiring writer -- he has a short story, "Weakest Shade of Blue," in the forthcoming MTV Books "Lit Riffs" series -- he doesn't ever see himself in his dotage singing rock 'n' roll. A novelist, that's how Miller envisions himself in the future.
"It's my dream, and it's something I've been gearing up towards my whole life," he says. "I chose music as the first portion of my creative life. There's nothing worse than hearing an old man singing about making out with some chick, and that's what I seem to write about."
Rhett Miller supporting The Clarks Friday June 18, 2004 Chevrolet Ampitheatre Pittsburgh, PA
w/ The Pat McGee Band, Good Brother Earl
Rhett Miller autographed ticket stub
Stoned/Lonely Holiday/The New Kid/Designs On You/Rollerskate Skinny/Question/Four Eyed Girl/World Inside A World/Dressing Room Walls/Murder (Or A Heart Attack)/Come Around/Barrier Reef/Our Love
This was my 37th birthday and I wasn't really interested in spending $30 to see The Clarks who I would normally see in a bar for a $5 cover. So the wife and I go to the venue to hang outside and listen to Rhett and leave. Hey, we're there anyway so I start the "...any extras?" spiel. Some lady has a fist full of extras and offers us two for what she paid, $75! Maybe next time lady. (Seconds later she gets rid of them!) A few minutes go by and some guy offers one for $10. The missus has to go the bathroom so I give her the camera and tell her to meet me here after Rhett. A few seconds later some guy walks past and says, "No, no extras." He then doubles back and tells me to follow him. He is on the guest list and gets me in for free! Rhett comes out and plays a fun set to a disinterested audience and as he's leaving the stage I ask him to meet me outside. He is very appreciative since I was one of the few there applauding, and signs my Old 97's setlist from 2001, my Instigator tour setlist from 2002, my Fight Songs CD cover, and my Instigator CD. Super cool guy and still another night to go!
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Rhett Miller supporting The Clarks Saturday June 19, 2004 Chevrolet Ampitheatre Pittsburgh, PA
w/ The Pat McGee Band, Good Brother Earl
Buick City Complex/This Is What I Do/King Of All The World/
Jagged/Ziggy Stardust/The New Kid/Won't Be Home No More/Come Around/
Nineteen/Question/Murder (Or A Heart Attack)/Big Brown Eyes/Our Love
Second night of a two night run. He varied the setlist a bit and sounded as good as the first night. The crowd, however, was worse than the previous night in their ignorance and total lack of respect. At one point some assholes start chanting, "Here we go Steelers, here we go!" Rhett was trying to explain that being from Dallas, the Steelers broke his heart as a kid. He took it as best he could. Such an embarrassment. Rude audiences for the opener burn me up. Like this time.
Rhett Miller autographed Old 97's Fight Songs CD cover
Rhett Miller hand written autographed setlist
Rhett Miller and the Instigators Tuesday November 19, 2002 Rosebud Pittsburgh, PA
Things That Disappear/The El/Jagged/Come Around/I Want To Live/Rollerskate Skinny/Your Nervous Heart/Four Eyed-Girl/St. Ignatius*/Big Brown Eyes*/Question*/Timebomb*/This Is What I Do/Indefinitely/Hover/Terrible Vision/Murder (Or A Heart Attack)/Point Shirley/Barrier Reef
Encore: World Inside The World/Lonely Holiday/What I Wouldn't Do/Our Love
Some people were dismissing Rhett's first solo album as too "pop". Hardcore alt country enthusiasts are a very prickly bunch when their favorite artists try to stretch out a bit. I think The Instigator stacks up with anything the Old 97's ever put out. The solo version of ' Timebomb' he did left my jaw a hangin'.
Rhett Miller autographed The Instigator CD
Old 97's autographed Rhett Miller hand written setlist
Old 97's Monday April 16, 2001 Rosebud Pittsburgh, PA
Old 97's (sans Rhett) autographed ticket stub
Bel Air/Lonely Holiday/Barrier Reef/W. TX Teardrops/Rollerskate Skinny/King Of All The World/Salome/Up The Devil's Pay/Murder (Or A Heart Attack)/Doreen/Wish The Worst/Crash On The Barrel Head/Designs On You/Bird In A Cage/Oppenheimer/Can't Get A Line/House That Used To Be/Big Brown Eyes
This was a very fun time. The best venue in the city hosting this little known band.
Rhett Miller autographed Old 97's Alive And Wired CD cover
From Letters To The Editor,
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Friday April 20, 2001:
Old 97's a 4-star act
After reading Ed Masley's three-star review of the Old 97's new release, Satellite Rides, in Weekend (April 6), I just have one question for Ed: What's a band gotta do to get a four-star review from you?
This is the best CD to come out so far in 2001. Call it rock 'n' roll, call it country, call it alternative. It's simply one of the best.
I always enjoy reading Ed's articles in Weekend. But he's starting to remind me of a college English professor who won't give anybody in the class an A. Ed's living in the past, still waiting for The Old 97's to pull out "the 'Time Bomb' beat." Meanwhile, Satellite Rides has 13 crafty and catchy tunes. It's the first masterpiece of 2001.
I hope Ed had a chance to see The Old 97's at Rosebud on Monday. It was the best small-venue show I've ever seen. It was like seeing The Replacements and Wilco rapped into one! The energy from the stage was contagious. The audience loved the new material as well as the old. These guys are the real thing.
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