Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - Spiegeltent, Edinburgh, 23 July 2016

“Fun fun fun,” as the Beach Boys put it – although in the case of the Reverend Peyton, I’d guess his daddy supplied a pick-up truck rather than a T-Bird.
Hayseed Dixie’s bluegrass attack on AC/DC is a bit of a glib reference point for the dungaree'd Rev and his Big Damn Band, but it’ll do for starters – and drummer Max Sentenay can sure as hell smack out a rhythm with the kind of on-the-money regularity that would fill Phil Rudd’s shoes.
The Reverend Peyton goes with cigar box
It’s worth saying that the Damn Band is in fact far from Big, comprising as it does just Josh ‘The Reverend’ Peyton on guitar, his other half Breezy on washboard, and Sentenay on drums and, er, $5 bucket.  But the three-piece do make a big sound, with the Rev to the fore, electrifying the picking of old fashioned country blues guitar with a simple approach.  “The bass player in this band is my thumb,” he says, “and the rest of my right hand plays the lead guitar.  There’s no pedals up here.  The sound comes from two hands playing a real instrument, some speakers, and your ears.”
Into the mix along with the country blues go some spoonfuls of hillbilly and cajun, and a soupçon of Springsteen’s Nebraska on amphetamines.  It’s punkish, and simple, and it works.
Highlights include the frantic ‘Bean Blossom Boogie’ and ‘Mama’s Fried Potatoes’, and they chuck in covers of ‘When My Baby Left Me’ by Furry Lewis, and Bo Diddley’s ‘You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover’, the latter one of numerous songs that has the audience shaking it’s collective tail.  Clapping, stomping and screaming is also actively encouraged, while Breezy is prone to augmenting her washboard by slapping the head of a bald punter standing at the front.  They can do more than just get frantic though, and prove it on 'Pot Roast And Kisses', which has a rhythm and a guitar line as delicious as its title.

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band are the sort of outfit that put smiles on the faces of their audience, and you can never have too many bands like that.

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