Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band @ Bluebird Theater 9.14.11


:: Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band ::

:: Austin Lucas and the Bold Party ::

:: Hoots & Hellmouth ::

:: The Bluebird Theater  ::

:: September 14 ::


Photos by Josh Elioseff  (

Words by Guy Errickson  (thenakedstage.Net)



Hoots & Hellmouth

Whether ripping Rockabilly licks or tooling around with a more folk-ballad approach, Hoots & Hellmouth plays modern music on old-timey instruments with vigor and aplomb.  Excellent singing aligns with star-nursery energy, subtleties and tone Nova into a pulsar nebula of sound and excitement.  After eight bassists in five years, and founding member Andrew “Hellmouth” Gray (Guitar, Vocals) leaving the band to return to his first love, teaching, the group seems to have found a stable, knock-out throw-down lineup, and even though opening the show they made it a worthy evening long before any other performers had stomped to stage.  Although the night was still young…


Their 2007 debut Hoots & Hellmouth (MAD Dragon Records, a university imprint out of Drexel and distributed by Warner) won the 2008 Independent Music Awards (IMA) for Best College Record Label Album.  They’ve been named to Kickstarter’s Hall of Fame for their campaign “It came from the woodshed!,” one of the 100 most successful in the company’s history.  Hoots & Hellmouth’s new album is Salt, released October 2011.



Austin Lucas and the Bold Party

Featuring Austin Lucas’ unique blending of folk and punk somehow creating a very accessible pop-punk-outlaw vibe that had the audience more that riled up, Austin Lucas and the Bold Party managed to put a fire under the already steaming dancefloor.  Prolific to say the least, Austin has put out nine releases in the last five years including full-lengths, CDs, EPs, vinyl, and albums with Chuck Ragan, most are largely family affairs with his highly talented relatives.  While Austin sings and wails on guitar, his band is a rotating cast of high-energy characters, appropriate as he also plays lead guitar in the Orc-core (yes, there is such a genre) group Guided Cradle based in Prague (Czech Republic).  The story of how he got there and then on to the Bold Party is worth a trip to his web pages


Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band

Crazed.  And Crazy Good.  Simultaneously playing intensely exquisite melody, rhythm, AND the bass riffs on the low strings, The Rev (as he is known to his legion of fanatics) is joined by his wife, rubboard wunderkind “Washboard” Breezy Peyton, and Aaron “Cuz” Persinger augmenting his rock-a-billy cocktail kit with an amazingly versatile plastic “washtub,” adding a flair to the proceedings that of late has even become hip in low-fi modern urban settings.  They say they’re the only band in America with a bucket endorsement, see them and you’ll know why!  With the extra depth of the bass kick drum firing up a huge sound that could be straight out of a drum & bass rave, yet with layers upon layers of ripping subtleties in the rhythmic progression that will hurt your brain if you try to dissect them, so stop thinking and dance!


This ain’t a “concert” it’s a mountaintop hootenanny the first vigorously warm, exuberant day of spring where everybody is friends and neighbors, an extended family affair while that nutso uncle is just killin’ it!  The Big Damn Band takes “High-Energy” polyphonic rockin’ and slide-led country Blues to a truly insane level, and do it for 250 performances a year, plus rehearsals, plus songwriting, the oh-so-fun business and promotions, and of course jessetn a spell on the back porch jammin’…  Given that two-thirds of the group is a couple living in Indiana’s least-populated county and the third is their cousin, one can suspect that happens a lot on those “days off.”  Or at least their mad skills and absolute mastery of their musical toys would seem to indicate that is the case.  Ah, a musicians work is never done, and that beer ain’t gonna drink itself…


Not content to cover unknown gems and turn beloved standards into diamonds, the Rev writes dazzling melodies and quirky, catchy, slice-of-a-very-different-life lyrical masterpieces, equally adept at creating memorable images and getting the audience fully involved – heart, body – and blood alcohol content.  He plays an ancient steel body National, an old wooden Resonator, a Flat-Top Gibson, and stoking the crowd even further, a 3-string actual Cigar Box Guitar while on stage – really! & stunningly!!  Imagine the Blues & Rockabilly version of 6-string wizard Richard Thompson, on an atomic speedball…  You might find yourself peaking into the wings, trying to figure out where the bass player and other guitarist are being hidden.  They aren’t, everyone is very much right out there on stage – and they were voted Best Band of the 2010 Warped Tour!


Widely known among the faithful for over-the-top performances, those present truly loose all the cares of everyday life and are fully rapt in the exalted revival, a spectacular reminder of the human animal transformed through belief and raw adrenaline. The Whole Fam Damily from 2008 was as high on the Billboard Blues charts as # 4.  Their newest albums, out on Side One Dummy Records, are 2010’s all-original The Wages, and Peyton on Patton, their own versions of Charlie Patton songs released summer 2011.  And yes, it’s not just metaphorical, Breezy literally lights the washboard aflame!



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