The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band with Leopold & His Fiction 4.3.15

Hodi’s Half Note
Fort Collins, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

Fort Collins has not had the best track record with audience turnout in recent months. So I was happy to see that a line out the door when I arrived at Hodi’s for The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. This power trio consists of the good Reverend on anything with at least three strings, his wife Breezy Peyton on washboard, Ben “Bird Dog” Bussell on drums and all three sharing vocal duties. They are Americana distilled through the finest of filters with most of the music feeling like it was written on a front porch where the mosquitoes fly freely. Hailing from the wilds of Indiana, The Big Damn Band tours prolifically clocking in a couple hundred shows or more a year. This current tour is in support of their recently released EP, So Delicious. This is the fifth album from Reverend Peyton and it’s a ball of fire from start to finish. In fact, much of their set list would be dedicated to the tracks off of the new album, but first, Leopold and His Fiction.

Watching Leopold and His Fiction at Hodi’s felt akin to seeing a young Gogol Bordello playing soul infused folk metal. The band maintained an expressive exuberance throughout their set. The whole package equated to pure authenticity. Leopold and His Fiction are yet another Austin-export, although lead singer and founder, Daniel James, is from Detroit. That heavy D-Town soul percolates throughout their rock-focused repertoire. Leopold and His Fiction have played over 300 shows in the last year and a half. Their intense tour schedule has landed them at the Voodoo Experience Music Festival and Fun Fun Fun Fest, as well as sharing the bill with Dwight Yokam and ZZ Top. They are an unusual formation in the music world, like a sapphire or an eggplant that totally looks like Richard Nixon. Songs like “Caving In” and the rowdy “Cowboy” were highlights of their opening set.

Illuminated signs at the back of the stage read ‘So Delicious’ and featured a blue neon pig. The trio took the stage and immediately got to work with an inspired “Raise A Little Hell.” Their sound is rustic slam folk dominated by the cavernous vocals of Josh “The Reverend” Peyton. They proceeded with “Let’s Jump A Train” (something you should never do), which was also off the new album. Digging deeper into their catalog fans rejoiced for a snappy “Easy Come Easy Go” and furiously fast “Mama’s Fried Potatoes.” The Big Damn Band went into “Hell Naw,” which was inspired by the death of the cell phone. Watching The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band it’s half shred fest, half story time, but it’s 100% mesmerizing. “Front Porch Trained” is a reference to how the Rev learned to play guitar. They went into “When The Saints Come Marching In” before covering Willie Dixon with a scorching “You Can’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover.” For the encore, the Big Damn Band invited the members of Leopold and His Fiction to join in on a “Two Bottles of Wine” sing along. Both bands gave utterly inspired performances. The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band is set to embark on an extensive European tour in support of So Delicious, so it may be some time before you can catch them live. Musically, they continue to do exactly what they set out to do. They are writing boisterous, beautiful music full of life and experience. The silliness of songs like “Pot Roast and Kisses” is juxtaposed against intricate, unique guitar-work and powerful percussion. One thing is for sure, The Big Damn Band will never put on a lackluster show.

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