Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band, the Supersuckers, Jesse Dayton, the All Togethers at Backstage Bar and Billiards, Tuesday Oct 25, 2016
I don't often get out during the week, but with a strong line up that was starting at a reasonable time (just after 8:30pm), I was lured from my house to Triple B on a Tuesday!
Opening slot was given to one of Las Vegas' premier acoustic combos, the All Togethers. With a constantly changing line-up, the band now consists of stalwarts Ken and Cindy (vocals and mandolin/banjo and stand-up bass) along with Mike, Brandon (guitars/vocals), Brenna (cello/vocals) and brand new cat, Ian, on the fiddle. Brenna is now playing her cello with a strap, enabling her to stand up while playing - one of the more unique sights you're likely to see with an acoustic combo! This did not hamper her playing in any way and she and Ian added nice flourishes to the songs. The set was mostly songs from their CDs, most performed with fine 5 part harmonies, along with Mike's "Sonata in Whiskey" and the big closer, "Baba O'Reilly" (this time with Ken on mandolin instead of the usual banjo)! Great set!
I was not familiar with Jesse Dayton before this eve, but he has worked with major artists such as Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Rob Zombie (!), Kris Kristofferson and even contributed to an album by the Supersuckers! Surprisingly that I didn't know who he was. This evening his rockabilly trio sported Blasters gear, showing where they were coming from, and pumped out a set of original rockabilly tunes highlighted by some superior guitar work by Jesse. The rhythm section was ace, as well, and added harmonies to the tunes, and even did brief bass and drum solos! Jesse interacted a lot with the audience and even got everyone to sing along here'n'there and entertained with songs with titles like "At Home Getting Hammered While She's Out Getting Nailed"! Fun set!
The Supersuckers no longer rely on a wall of Marshalls to make their point, as Eddie Spaghetti has put down his bass and now donned an acoustic guitar and the rest of the group play though small-but-tough sounding amps. Backed by Marty Chandler on guitar, Chris Von Streicher on drums and, for this evening, a return of Jesse Dayton on guitar, their sound is now slower and more country than the bombastically big rock of the old days. Yes, Eddie's stage persona is pure egomania, and they still do several of the older "hits" ("Born With a Tail", "Double Wide", "Coat Tail Rider", "Jackalope Eyes" etc.), though nowhere near as maniacally as before. There were actual ballads with plenty of harmonies (everyone sang), a slower spaghetti western number, country tunes about marijuana, a rockin' soul song and some old school high energy punk'n'roll. Eddie also got the audience to join in, singing along with songs, doing call'n'answers, recognizing that all songs were ending with "cha cha cha" so that the crowd would know when to cheer, taking a pic of the audience all flipping him off, and on'n'on! Unfortunately, the sound was kinda muddy throughout the night, with the bass drum FAR too loud (to the point of being chest-thumpingly painful) and the vocals too buried, so it was difficult to pick out everything. Guitarist Marty got to sing lead on a tune and pulled out all of the stops for his leads - and several times did some smokin' trade offs and dual leads with Jesse - the highlight of the set. Obviously, not the same as the old days, but still quite entertaining in a posing-rock kinda way!
Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band is really not that big - it consists of the Rev. on guitar and vocals, his wife Breezy on washboard and vocals and Maxwell on drums (and bucket). Their sound is old school country'n'blues, with Peyton pickin'n'slidin' on his vintage guitars and addin' a bit of bass with simply the lower strings (he did run it through a bass amp as well as his guitar amps). He comes across as a cartoon character - Bluto from Popeye, to be precise - while making faces and stompin' his big frame all over the stage, interacting with Breezy and Maxwell, as well as the audience, who they also got singing along with their songs. They're definitely a visual group and dig putting on a show - from their outfits and general goofiness to the Rev. kicking a cymbal'n'stand high in the air at the close of a song for their roadie to catch to Breezy setting her washboard on fire! (You could buy the washboard at the end of the night for $200!). Their well deserved encore was "Two Bottles of Wine" with Jesse and Eddie joining the mayhem with vocals, guitar and Eddie playing the bid damn bass drum while Breezy was burning things and the Rev. was wailin' away! Definitely a good time! (And I was home by 1:00! I hope that more local clubs adopt this policy of reasonably early weeknight shows!)