Over the weekend: The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band at the Bluebird Theater

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The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
Friday, Jul 10, 2009
Bluebird Theater

Better than: The Rev's last show at the Bluebird

Although Reverend Peyton might be an ordained minister, the singer and guitarist looked like he was possessed at times during Friday night's show at the Bluebird. Sometimes, usually when he was knee-deep in fingerpicking frenzy, he'd sneer with eyes wide open and stare at the crowd, almost as if in a trance. My friend Rob was convinced that Reverend Peyton made a deal with the devil to play guitar so goddamned well.

After opening with "Aberdeen," Peyton and his Big Damn Band (it's just his wife Washboard Breezy and his brother Jayme) kicked up a ruckus with "DT's or the Devil" and Peyton sang, "Is it the DT's or the devil that makes you shake like that?" Hell, I was starting to think the devil was making him play like that too.

While Peyton's a damn fine slide player, his right-hand picking technique is remarkable. And since they're minus a bass player, Peyton can keep a bass line rolling on some songs like "Let Your Light Shine" using his thumb while his the fingers picked up a fury. And that has to be a hell of a work out keeping that up for the whole show, especially since they motored through some of tunes at top speed.

The set was heavy on the band's latest album, The Whole Fam Damnily, with tunes like "Mama's Fried Potatoes," "Worn Out Shoe," and "Your Cousin's on COPS," which was inspired by a true story about Weezy cousin. Peyton talked about how the tune "Wal-Mart Killed the Country Store" made the store keep The Whole Fam Damnily off its shelves and how he wrote "Persimmon Song" when he was homesick for rural Indiana.

They also dug out a few from The Gospel Album, including some killer version of "Let Your Light Shine" and "Glory Glory Hallelujah and pulled out a new tune tentatively titled, "My Brother Stole a Chicken from the Ft. Wayne Zoo," which was inspired by a true story about Jayme.

After whipping the crowd into a frenzy on "When the Saints Go Marching In," the three came out and did "Two Bottles of Wine," which Peyton wrote with Jason Webley. While Peyton and his brother keep the tempo banging along, Weezy lit her washboard on fire and held it over her head. A hell of a way to end a hell of a show.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: This was my fifth time seeing Peyton and the band just keeps getting better, which might be due to the fact that the three are the road so much.
Random Detail: Peyton said that Washboard Breezy is a great niece of Col. Sanders.
By the Way: While Peyton might looked possessed on stage, he's still an incredibly nice guy.

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