New Heathens
10Aug/09Off

Is "PLAY THE WEIGHT" the New "Freebird," Or Just Some Annoying Guy?

Can't believe I almost went the whole summer without seeing a "proper" concert and when I did, boy was it a good 'un.

Saw Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Old Crow Medicine Show and Justin Townes Earle at the beautiful Beacon Theater last Thursday. Went with a handfull of great friends and it was a wonderful evening.

The only ominous part was some dude with a bullhorn of a voice behind me who kept yelling, "PLAY THE WEIGHT!!!" in between, during the intros and during the outros of every song.

I got the vile creep of deja vu when from this chucklehead. Last summer I walked out of an acoustic Black Crowes show at Town Hall because I was seated right in front of a some jackass who in between, during the intros and during the outros of every song shouted, "PLAY THE WEIGHT!!!"

Do we have a new and novel annoying trend on our hands here, something to overtake "Freebird?" Or is there one dude, a singular fount of obnoxious, fingerpainting with verbal feces on the canvas of concerts in New York?

It's OK to yell, "PLAY THE WEIGHT" if you're trying to coax Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Mavis Staples or Van Morrison back for an encore. Having sung the song in a bunch of bars with coverbands like The Goods, I'll give a pass to anybody who yells at me to sing it (beats being asked to sing AC/DC [who I love but can't] or John Denver [who I hate and won't]).

When they were unmarred by "Weight Guy," Gillian and David were my favorites. When they played "Miss Ohio" I got the chills and their cover of Dylan's "Queen Jane Approximately" stuck in my head for days.

Old Crow were damn fun and writing about them gives me an opportunity to re-tell the story of the night the New Heathens jammed with their main singer dude.

We were playing the only straight bar in Provincetown, Mass. and we covered Old Crow's "Tell It To Me." Some guy sitting at the bar perked right up and sang along with every word. I kept thinking onstage, "Why does that guy look so familiar?"

During a setbreak I walked over to him and said, "Hey, looks like you really enjoyed that Old Crow Medicine Show song."

He shot back, "I'm IN Old Crow Medicine Show! I sing that song! That's MY band!"

Holy shit! It was none other than Ketch Secor, fiddleman, harpman, guitarman and writer for Old Crow. He was up visiting his lady, who was studying creative writing at the university in P-town.

I told Ketch we HAD to have him up with us to do that song again.

"Great!" he said. "Do you guys know Wagon Wheel too?"

When I told him that, sorry, we didn't Ketch said, "Oh it's real easy, I'll show it to you."

And he did. We had a ball. It's even on YouTube, though I apologize for the video and audio not being in sync.

That show was so much fun, in fact, nobody even shouted for us to "PLAY THE WEIGHT!!!"

Tell It To Me:

Wagon Wheel

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