Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – November 17th – The Bluebird

Photos by Johne Edge 

The Scene: On Saturday night, I found myself yet again fifteen blocks north of Denver’s zero point.  I love Colfax with its glowing neon signs inviting you into bars and restaurants.  It’s no longer the main thoroughfare that Kerouac wrote about in On the Road, but for live music it might as well be.  Three of the city’s biggest venues are on Colfax: The Fillmore, The Ogden, and of course The Bluebird Theatre.  After parking and walking to the Bluebird, I decided to avoid the cold night air and the line at the box office by ducking into the Goosetown Tavern for a beer.  Just across the street from the theater, the Goose was standing room only.  The tavern was filled with people looking for a good drink special and something to eat.  With my thirst quenched, it was time to go to work.

Waiting for my plus one to show up, I ended up missing the openers set.  Arriving long after doors, people were still in line to buy tickets for the nights show.  Camera in hand, I was able to make my way through the crowd to the front of the stage.  People continued to steadily stream into the theater, and soon the floor and balcony were filled to capacity.

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band: When Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band took to the stage they certainly confused more than one onlooker as there were only three people on the stage.  There was Breezy Peyton on washboard and back-up vocals, Aaron Persinger on drums (a stripped down drum kit that included a 5 gallon plastic bucket), and Reverend Peyton himself on guitar.  How could they call this a Big Damn Band?  Where was the bass player, and the other guitar player?

When the Reverend began to play, all questions were answered. He played Fingerstyle using each of the right hand fingers independently in order to play the multiple parts of the music that would normally be played by several band members. His thumb became the bass, while his other fingers played harmonic accompaniment, melody, and percussion simultaneously.   Closing your eyes, you would have sworn there were six people on the stage.

As it was, the trio ripped through an assortment of songs from their catalog and played with a Punk Rock fervor on songs like “Between the Ditches” and the fastest song of the night “Shut the Screen.”  “Devils Look Like Angels” with lyrics like “It’s hard to tell, it’s hard to tell… When Devil’s look like angels…And angels look like hell” reminded me of The Cramps back in the early 80’s.  Playing a three string cigar box guitar at one point, the Reverend further illustrated his musical prowess by making the simple instrument sound like a six string guitar and bass.

Midway through the show Denver resident Bob Schmidt, of Flogging Molly, joined the trio on a song playing the banjo and as the night came to a close, Schmidt once again joined the band on the encore “Two Bottles of Wine.”  Whether you like Delta Blues or not, the Reverend’s larger-than-life Fingerstyle guitar playing made this show more than worth seeing, it made it the only place worth being on a crisp Indian Summer Colfax night.

Energy: A
Musicianship: A+
Sound: A
Stage Presence: A+
Set/Light Show: B-

Overall: A


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Who Is Johne Edge

Wherever the music is, you'll find me with my camera, shooting on street corners, from barstools at clubs, from the side of the stage at theaters, and from photo pits in places like Red Rocks. Clicking away, trying to capture the emotive essence of music, and all those moments that we forget because of one too many Pabst Blue Ribbons.