A small, but vibrant crowd found their way to Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins, CO, Saturday night to see Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band tear up the stage. Many seemed to already know what was in store, and I feel sorry for those that missed it.
With their second album on the SideOneDummy Records label, “The Wages,” under their belts, the Big Fam Damily (as the reverend likes to refer to it) is poised to take over the world with their hardcore hillbilly country rock blues soul. Comparisons to other bands are not forthcoming, although I haven’t seen country mosh pits like this since Hank III came to visit the Fort.
According to their official bio, “The Big Damn Band is very much a family affair, with the good reverend on finger-style resonator guitar and lead vocals, his wife “Washboard” Breezy Peyton on washboard and vocals, and distant cousin Aaron “Cuz” Persinger on drums and bucket.” Their chemistry onstage was obvious, and the harmonica and slide guitar melodies were infectious. Sitting or standing still while the Peytons perform is completely impossible.
The first song was “My Soul to Keep” and the 29-year-old reverend looked just like an angry Amish lumberjack, complete with suspenders and false hair attached to his face as a beard that seemed to have its own personality. Their second song, “Mama’s Fried Potatoes,” got the crowd singing along, loudly, which the reverend encouraged all night.
The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band hails from Southern Indiana’s Brown County, and their third song, “Fort Wayne Zoo” talks about how his brother stole a chicken from the Fort Wayne zoo. “Cousins on Cops” had a dedication in the intro to go with it about the reverend’s article he contributed to the magazine “Alternative Press.” During the driving beat, the reverend swings his guitar around like a gun, gets quiet for a bit before excitedly singing, “it catches on fire!”
The reverend’s move is to slide his harmonica on the guitar. He warned that no one should steal this move and that his own grandpa tried to stab his band’s drummer over less. It was awesome and hilarious at once.
After each song he gave a nice little bow and the introductions to songs were priceless. “It’s a funny world sometimes,” he said before going into “What Go Around Come Around.” “The vast majority of people want to be good, I think. But we played with this band that was just Mean!” It made him upset, and he wrote this song to let it go. “Didn’t your momma raise you right?!” he shouted. With his a mashed potato voice, he warms up the song like a slow ride before it breaks into a hardcore jam.
All his songs are written about true things that he knows well. He explained that he wrote “Sure Feels Like Rain” ten years ago and that we should, “keep in mind, I wrote when I was a 19-year-old.” He makes the guitar sing and the mini solos of washboard and bucket drum make the crowd go wild. He comments that it’s “pretty dry here,” and Breezy chimes in that the elevation’s kicking her ass.
The previous night in Denver, Bob Schmidt of Flogging Molly performed “Everything’s Raisin’ (But the Wages)” with them, and the reverend hoped it would be just as good without him tonight. The crowd sang along, enjoying every minute.
Next he broke out a guitar-like contraption made from a cigar box, some 1x2s and three strings. He said that he wrote this song, “Easy Come, Easy Go,” last week and it’s not on any album. The lyrics were so true; “They can say all that they want to say/You can’t please them all anyway.”
The video for “Clap Your Hands” is outstanding, and reverend Peyton said, “If you haven’t seen it, you should punch yerself in the face. When you wake up tomorrow with a big ol’ bruise, you’ll remember to go watch the Big Damn Band video.” He also mentioned that everyone in the video were “volunteers who believed in us.”
At the end of the show, they went off the stage and the crowd immediately chanted, “One more song!” They came back out and said, “Let’s really get wild. None of this half-assed shit. I want y’all to get ape and bat shit crazy.” The encore song was “Two Bottles of Wine” and Breezy acted like a man in the audience was giving her washboard head before she lit the washboard on fire.
The crazy amazing show ended with everyone smiling. They’re on a tour of North America and then on to Europe, so catch Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band wherever you can, before they catch on fire!!
Breezy’s Set List:
1. My Soul to Keep
2. Mama’s Fried Potatoes
3. Ft. Wayne Zoo
4. Sugar Creek
5. Worn Out Shoe
6. Creeks Are All Bad
7. Cousins on Cops
8. What Go Around Come Around
9. Sure Feels Like Rain
10. Everythings Raisin’
11. Red Buds
12. Easy Come, Easy Go
13. Clap Your Hands
14. Train Song
15. Walmart Killed the Country Store
16. Dts or the Devil
17. Born Bred, Corn Fed
Encore: 2 Bottles