There’s just something about a literate, smart, quick-witted heartbroken man. The Old 97s, who take their name from an old country song, have for 18 years consistently been more like a college thesis than a scratchy old 45. Frontman Rhett Miller has an erudite way with words befitting his creative-writing background, even while draining his guitar of feedback and his beer bottles of their liquid inspiration. Live, the band is a throwback to the energy that made “alt-country” important in the first place before it got distilled by Prozac and commercial success. Get swept up in their sweet boozy twang on Friday, June 3, at the Mystic Theatre. 21 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. 9pm. $21–$23. 707.765.2121.