About half an hour into The Reverend Peyton Big Damn Band's concert at Steamboat Ski Area on Saturday, washboard player Breezy Peyton declared the audience in front of her one of the least enthusiastic crowds the band had ever seen.
It sounded a little harsh, but it was a fair assessment. The Rev. Peyton's band plays a fusion of country blues and sheer craziness that doesn't make sense in front of a crowd that doesn't seem to be listening.
The band's stage presence is inspired by the punk rock bands the band shares a record label with, and also from the Rev. Peyton's approach to performing - he doesn't understand why you'd just stand there to play, and certainly doesn't understand why you'd just stand there and watch.
In theory, the Rev. Peyton leads a country blues band. In practice, the Rev. Peyton leads a band that's incredibly hard to wrap your head around. His vocal style is unique to the point of incomprehensibility. The music is about as rootsy as can be found at any live show in 2009, but it's more of a throwback than the kind of country blues many audiences are used to.
And because of that, I love this band. They gave one of the best and most interesting and most honest live shows I've seen in Steamboat.
When things slowed down enough for it to get cold on stage, the Rev. Peyton tossed out blistering guitar intros and high-powered songs like "Your Cousin's on 'COPS'" - songs that he doesn't have to make up because life is interesting enough to sing about.
Breezy Peyton would hold her washboard above her head and play all the auxiliary percussion hanging from it (did I mention this band has a full-time washboard player? That was a big sell for me). Jayme Peyton forced even more energy into the mix from behind the drum kit.
I like The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band because there aren't any other bands like this one, and that's not something I get to write often.
Yeah, it can take a second to get used to the fact you're not likely to understand most of what the Rev. Peyton says when he sings. And the band probably is better suited for a 500-person concert club with a bar than it is for an aprÃs ski show.
I'm glad the winter concert series booked them anyway.