I’m glad that I’m not a photographer or videographer, because any images I may have captured from this show simply would not justify what it was like to be there. This year, instead of my traditional route of going to a friend’s house, lighting sparklers, and ringing in the new year with a glass of sparkling cider and phone pictures ready for Facebook, I decided to go out to see some live music, celebrate with fewer friends and more strangers, and one big damn band.
The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band took over the Bluebird Nightclub on December 31, 2011 and blasted off so many good vibes for the arrival of 2012. I’ve been fortunate enough to see this band in the past, and every setting has brought on a different, high-energy experience. For those who are Big Damn Band novices, when you attend your next show, expect to become a yelling, dancing fool, because there is no way to enjoy this band standing still. After my first rockin’ NYE Big Damn Band experience, I’ve decided to use my observations to put together a few rules of the road for anyone planning to see the band’s NEXT New Year’s Eve experience.
1. Expect No Introductions
As the Bluebird crowd anxiously awaited the tell-tale signs that The Reverend Peyton and his crew would soon grace the stage (flickering house lights, diminishing house music, anonymous bar employee announcing the band), instead, Peyton and Co. simply jumped on stage and started playing. No warming up the crowd, no introducing the purpose of the night, they just took the stage and took control. It was great, and set things off with a bang.
2. Prepare to Get Wet
For everyone who wants to be in the front row, don’t come dressed in your best. One playing of “Two Bottles Of Wine” ensures that someone will get on stage with some wine, shake it up, and spray it all over you…twice. Such was the case as Seattle accordion player and special guest Jason Webley took the stage to sing, yell, and douse the crowd with alcohol.
3. There’s never an inappropriate time for a solo break
I didn’t see it coming since the first two songs were so fast, I expected a little more time before Breezy Peyton jumped for front to solo with her washboard behind her head. In fact, I don’t think anything could have prepared me to expect that. But it happened, and it was great. Only three songs into the set and everyone ripped into solo mode, Breezy, the Rev and Cuz and it was electrifying.
4. Get Your Drinks Early
This band will literally play you right up to the last seconds of the New Year, so make sure you get your NYE libations ready at least 10 minutes before. This way you can have enough time to work through the thick crowd to get the bar, wait through the line to order your drink(s) (or avoid the line), and have enough time to get back to the stage and your friends to countdown the new year.
Dance, shout, sing, high-five strangers, even if all you can do is tap your toes and nod your head. Don’t be too cool for school, you will be the only one standing still in a room FULL of people having a great time.
6. BRING FRIENDS!
No one wants to be standing alone as the clock counts down, plus this band is so crowd-engaging there is nothing better than jumping, shouting, and singing along with a friend by your side. It makes for a great memory, and hopefully the start of a new tradition. If you are a Big Damn Band veteran, treat someone who isn’t with their first Big Damn Band experience.
7. Fire is a Prop
As the show was coming to its end (post encore), I noticed Breezy marinating the edge of her washboard with beer, and then there was fire. It was AMAZING, and everyone was drunk enough to run toward her, rather than away.
8. Have Fun
It’s as simple as that.