SXSW Live Shot: Rev Peyton's Big Damn Band

Indiana trio delivers a last-ditch revival

Briefly squelching the Americana vibe hanging over Lamberts Thursday night, Orange County’s Well Hung Heart, led by vocal enforcer Greta Valenti, couldn’t contain its performance to the tiny upstairs stage. Thankfully they didn’t try.

Calling out an old, wannabe rapper friend on the hip-hop diss “Bullshit,” Valenti stalked the loosely gathered crowd, whipping her bright blue hair to guitarist Robin Davey’s jerky riffs.

“I’m calling out your bullshit, bitch,” she howled.

If the New Orleans-born singer/actress had time, she could mine a fortune slinging Licensed to Ill.

Damn Power Trio: Rev Peyton, Breezy Peyton, and Ben Russell (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

Rev Peyton & his Big Damn Band – the barrel-chested evangelist, his wife and washboard wiz Breezy Peyton, and drummer Ben Russell – struggled out of the gate with tech difficulties, but the Indiana native just doesn’t quit. As the sound crew scurried around testing cables, he coaxed the crowd into a clump and delivered a thundering acoustic verse.

Amp issues resolved, Peyton promised a return to rock & roll. Breezy threw him a smirk. “Try not to break any more shit, Rev,” she quipped.

The Big Damn Band sparked in 2006 as a result of Peyton and Breezy’s “whirlwind” romance. When their eyes meet during “Let’s Jump a Train,” the first cut from February’s So Delicious, that same connection remained palpable. Full-steam, the Rev delivered each verse with the intensity of a last-ditch revival, as if his very salvation depended on his scorching slide guitar.

Maybe Johnny Appleseed had a son nobody knew about.

Noting that backwoods anthem “Raise a Little Hell” drew interest on Reddit last month, Peyton admitted, “I had to look up, really, what Reddit was. I knew it was one of those Internet things.”

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Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band, SXSW Music 2015, Well Hung Heart, Greta Valenti

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