Last updated on October 30th, 2023 at 04:34 pm
As the temperature drops and sunset comes earlier, many Minnesotans begin to look indoors for entertainment. With Old Crow Medicine Show in town, the Palace Theater in downtown Saint Paul was the perfect place to get out of the house while staying out of the cold.
I walked down the cobblestone alleyway that leads to the front entrance, and as usual, I was struck by the nostalgic feel I get from turning that corner and seeing the century-old Palace Theater marquee and lines of people eagerly waiting their turn to get in out of the cold.
I arrived at the venue early, so I got a slice of pizza from the newly opened Wrestaurant at the Palace. This collaboration between First Avenue and Wrecktangle Pizza brings a new option for food and drink located in the space directly next to the Palace entrance.
Upon leaving the eatery, I got into a conversation outside with an older gentleman named Ed. He said he lived just a few blocks away, and noted how easy it was for him to simply walk to the show. We talked about many past Palace Theater shows, and he said he had come to the Slowdive show a couple of weeks ago.
The opening band was Them Coulee Boys, a five-piece folk band from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It’s always nice to see a local(ish) band playing at the Palace, and I’m sure these boys were thrilled to be opening on such a big stage. They had no lack of energy, and their stage presence was rambunctious and endearing.
During the set break, a curtain descended behind the stage setup. Printed onto the curtain was a black and white picture of an old grain silo with the words “OLD CROW” graffitied on the side in bold block lettering.
The band took the stage with five out of the seven musicians wearing cowboy hats. The frontman had a sort of insane energy to his stage presence that the rest of the band seemed to feed off of the entire night. With a wild look in his eye, he switched from guitar to violin to harmonica and back again seamlessly, sometimes playing multiple different instruments on the same song.
Members of the band would take turns dancing across the stage with hoedown bravado. At one point, the pianist finished his dance by ripping his buttoned shirt open. At times it felt like I had shown up at a barn party, long after the moonshine had been broken out.
There were a couple of times during the set when the frontman would slow the band down and tell stories backed by music. During these moments, I felt as if I was transported back to the Wild West around the campfire, where cowboys would play their banjos and guitars to pass the time.