Words by: Patrick Shamel :: Images by: Nick Henderson
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band :: 09.12.07 :: Knuckleheads Saloon :: Kansas City, MO
Nestled in the heart of the industrial part of Kansas City known as the East Bottoms, Knuckleheads Saloon is not your average place to see a concert. Known to many as a blues "biker bar," the interior prominently displays photos of musical legends from Elvis to Willie Nelson. There are open jam sessions nearly every day of the week but the outside concert area is what truly makes the Saloon unique.
| Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band :: 09.12|
Aside from all the randomly lit neon signs, an old caboose offers seating for patrons wanting to watch the show from a different vantage point. A train rolls along the tracks parallel to the venue nearly once an hour. So, it was only natural that Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, a delta blues trio from the greater Indianapolis area, would hold an official release party for their new EP, The Gospel Album at Knuckleheads.
The Big Damn Band really isn't a big damn band at all, comprised of Reverend Peyton on acoustic slide guitar, his wife Breezy Peyton on the washboard and brother Jayme Peyton on the drum kit. Although the name is ironic, don't underestimate the power of delta blues music when the Big Damn Band rolls through your town.
The turnout was a bit disappointing for this show but these musicians are in it for the music not the money, playing the gig in front of 50 or so as if it were no different from playing for a crowd of 1,000. "You gotta remember, they all paid the same amount of money. Whether there's five people or 500, they all get the show they deserve," Reverend Peyton said.
| Breezy Peyton & Jayme Peyton :: 09.12|
The Big Damn Band opened their set with a rousing rendition of "Aberdeen," a song from their Big Damn Nation album that has solidified its opening position in their shows over the last few months. From the very beginning, you could see the body language exchanged between all three members of the band. It was obvious that they were deriving energy from one another. This shared energy is what sets them apart from other bands. Whether it's the Rev rhythmically kicking his brother's cymbal during "When You Lose Your Money, Learn to Lose," the slack-jawed Breezy striking the washboard so fast one expected to see blood seep through her Franklin batting gloves, or Jayme nearly destroying his five-gallon bucket (and his vocal chords) during "Mud," there was never a dull moment. "I hope people feel like our music's honest," Reverend Peyton said. "I feel like our music's universal."
Humor definitely plays a huge role in the band's live show. It is surprising that Random House hasn't approached the Rev with a book deal yet, as he has a knack for recounting the life stories that inspired the BDB's original songs. Stories of Jayme being turned away at the Canadian border on their way to a festival ("The Persimmons Song"), the Rev and Jayme's father being kicked out of one of their shows due to his intoxication ("My Old Man Boogie"), or seeing Breezy's cousin on the hit television show Cops (titled, appropriately enough, "Your Cousin's On Cops") have elicited more than a chuckle at shows.
After telling Jayme to tune his five-gallon bucket, the Rev said, "Don't get carried away, this is where I show off." It was a lighthearted moment before they started "Let Your Light Shine," a song off the new EP. Unfortunately, shortly before the Rev began his solo, he broke a guitar string. Quickly rounding up a member of the audience to assist him in changing it, the band went into another song from The Gospel Album, "I Shall Not Be Moved."
| Reverend Peyton :: 09.12|
The highlight of the show did not come until near the very end. They played "My Soul to Keep" to close before the encore. Toward the end of the song, as the Rev played bass notes with his thumb, a quiet, mellow fadeout was ushered in that some may have thought was going to end the show. Instead, he began to play "When The Saints Go Marching In" with the slide, quickly garnering everyone's undivided attention, even leading some to quietly sing along.
Of course the highly energetic show could not end on this note, so after a brief run-through "Saints" they went back into one final verse of "My Soul to Keep." They returned for a stellar encore consisting of "Some of These Days" and "That Train Song," adding more onto the heaping pile of irony, given the location of the show.
For right now, the band will continue their seemingly endless touring regimen. Relying on the characteristics of their live show, the Big Damn Band will undoubtedly continue to expand their extensive fan base from coast to coast (and even overseas), placing heavy emphasis on their raw onstage energy. "The music that we play is no different than music played in the 1920s," Breezy said. "But the energy is a lot different."
JamBase | Promised Land
Go See Live Music!