Between the chain restaurants, bass from club music echoing down Broad Ripple Avenue or frohawk douchebags wearing sunglasses at night; it is getting seriously depressing around here these days. On this frigid Indianapolis night, The Vogue (and its signature radiant marquee) sadly serves as the only true shining beacon of hope in a rock and roll scene for Broad Ripple. A once proud battleground for a local music renaissance has now willingly forfeited its regional title to the upstart Fountain Square. Though every once in a while, The Vogue hosts local bands like Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and shoves the needle into the vein. Some artisan swig whiskey blues is exactly the B12 shot this once cultivated wasteland needed!
From “good ol’ boys” to plaid clad hipsters, Rev. Peyton draws a crowd that is as eclectic as its music.
While people patiently waited, the opening band Crys (from Indianapolis) took the stage. They immediately burst into an abortion of psychedelic surf rock. Being mostly instrumental and pulsing reverb, the music was only occasionally interrupted by the lead singer’s incoherent high pitched wails. A junky classroom projector shimmering over a bowl of water served as the tacky backdrop to Crys’ music. One person with the band had the sole job of tapping the water to the beat of music. No…seriously. I don’t think many were too disappointed when the set prematurely ended. Crys’ music is maybe bearable after swallowing a bag of mushrooms but those of us with only two Newcastles; we got lost on this mythical journey of insignificance.
The Vogue is now an annual ‘homecoming’ show of sorts for Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. This show was no different with the band recently finishing a string of European dates. Now back in the States to surge through the last leg of the tour; Breezy Peyton (washboard/harmonica/vocals), Aaron “Cuz” Persinger (drums) and Reverend Peyton (guitar/’bass’/vocals) took the stage to vigorous applause. After a brief thank you, the band quickly went into the fist-pumping refrain of “That Train Song”. Reverend Peyton methodically slid up and down the rails of his vintage steel body acoustic guitar, segmenting the bustling rhythm. Giving a regional nod of recognition, the bluesy finger picking clinic of “Plainfield Blues” intertwined flawlessly into the fresh backwoods sing-along “Easy Come Easy Go”.
Rev. Peyton’s fifth album Between the Ditches was released in August and briefly went to #1 in the iTunes Blues charts. So it should be no surprise that most of tonight’s set list was dedicated to their biggest album to date. The boot stomping verse structure of “Big Blue Chevy ‘72” whipped the crowd into frenzy as Rev. Peyton supplies the charging bass riff by thumb thumping the top string. “Shake ‘Em Off Like Fleas” and the new single “Something for Nothing” were fitting recourses that solidified the rock infused prairie blues that the band has trademarked so well. Thankfully, the band didn’t forget to play some older material. The contemporary classics like “Mama’s Fried Potatoes” had us all bellowing the chorus while “Clap Your Hands” had us all doing exactly that and following Peyton’s instructions in unison.
After a brief departure, Rev. Peyton, Breezy and “Cuz” came back out and performed their chanting encore “Two Bottles of Wine”. Although I was secretly hoping for my personal favorite “Your Cousin’s on Cops”, but I was far from disappointed. Overall, Rev. Peyton and his Big Damn Band put on a riveting show. No matter the size of the venue or audience (as they started gaining notoriety at The Melody Inn), Peyton and company always play with unbridled enthusiasm and if you happen to be in the crowd, it is infectious. Broad Ripple: With bands like Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and other emerging local acts gracing the stage of The Vogue, there may be hope for you yet.