Friday night the Star Bar hosted a show that will go down in the annals of my personal history as one of the best I have attended. The music was raw and unbridled as the Dex Romweber Duo and Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band treated listener’s ears to one hell of a night.
The evening began with the 1-2 punch of Dex and Sara Romweber delivering a sweet set of tunes on a trusty Danelectro and a well used drum set. With a new record out for consumption – Image 13 – the majority of the set list covered said record. From blues, to rock-a-billy to surf guitar Dex manipulated his road weary instrument to get any sound from it he saw fit while voraciously belting out the vocals. Sometimes his voice was smooth and bellowing much like Johnny Cash while other times it was loud and gravelly; but either way it sounded brilliant. The backbone of the music is Sara and her high octane drumming. She is a whirling dervish behind the kit, a blurred mass of hair and elbows as she plays at speeds that would make many a drummer squeamish. Their set, while short, was chock full of great tunes. The raucous “Mexicali Baby” demonstrated how wild the duo can get while the upbeat “So Sad About Us” and the instrumental “Blackout!” showed off their versatility. When the buzz of the guitar faded from the room folks were chanting for more music, they would get more but would have to wait until later in the evening.
Now I am not quite sure what Reverend Peyton is a Reverend of, but he sure as hell knows how to reach his congregation. With a mix of acoustic, steel and cigar box guitars the Rev and his Big Damn Band dished out a set of tunes that would have had the packed house following them to hell and back. Blues, rock and good old American roots music filled the air as the three piece band had folks clapping their hand, stomping their feet and screaming to the music. Trusted songs like “Devils Look Like Angels” sounded great and new tunes such as “Front Porch Learning” sounded like they had been a part of their repertoire for years. Dex and Sara returned to the stage for a rowdy version of “Two Bottles of Wine” to close the night out. In addition to the mighty fine music, the bands interaction with the crowd and the Rev and Breezy playing off of one another made the nights music that much better. Also, I believe that may have been the first time I have seen someone play a flaming washboard. A guitar yes, a piano yes a washboard, no.
Both bands really know how to put on a good show. They do not need any fancy effects it is about the music and their energy. When the evening ended everyone left tired and satisfied counting down the day until either band returns to town. Like I said before this was one of my favorite shows I have had the privilege of attending, even if Breezy called me out for supposedly “fake screaming” during a song. If you ever get the chance to see either of these bands I suggest you don't let it pass you by.