There are many music genres that fall under the strong, long arm of rock. Usually attracting niche audiences, few can promise to entertain across a multi-genre crowd in one night. Hayseed Dixie, the creators of rockgrass, however, are kings of rock and roll, glam, prog, metal and more.
Currently on a UK/Europe tour, the university campus venue in Hatfield was a strange choice of venue for a Monday night. Absent of financially bereft freshers and gig goers who probably still nursed weekend hangovers, the auditorium held a sparse crowd. However, less is more and it is quality not quantity that over-rides situations like these.
Throughout the two hour set, I was more than aware that I could not shift the grin on my face. It wasn’t just the denim, wiry facial hair or scraggy knees. Nor was it an appearance that suggested the potential to swill illegal liquor by the light of the moon or join a dance in the barn with the devil himself. Hayseed Dixie play other people’s rock songs and their own, at a mesmerizing, finger-bleedingly fast pace. The quartet is a riot of southern American, steel string musicianship which is second to none. Brandishing a banjo, a bass, a mandolin, a fiddle, an acoustic guitar and howling harmonies to die for, the band have been playing songs about “drinking, cheating, killing and hell” since 2001.
With no less than eleven albums tucked under their dungaree straps, this tour has celebrated the first album, A Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC, played it in its entirety. Songs including Dirty Deeds, A Touch Too Much, Hells Bells, Back In Black, and Whole Lotta Rosie, were played by forty fiery fingers that could set fret boards ablaze. The second half of the set invited requests from the intimate crowd. The band demonstrated a talent for international languages, singing in German before singer, John ‘Barleyscotch’ Wheeler, introduced a masterpiece rendition of “the greatest killing song ever written,” Bohemian Rhapsody.
It wasn’t all about covers by any means; original Hayseed Dixie material like I’m Keeping Your Poop, was disturbingly entertaining, but the evening ended with Black Sabbath’s War Pigs, Alice Cooper’s Poison and finally Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb, which raised the roof and some goosebumps.
There is wily genius in the comical delivery of every song that Hayseed Dixie play. This is one beautiful, beardy, rockgrass phenomenon that I highly recommend you check out if you haven’t already. Go to!
For the rest of the tour dates this year checkout: http://www.hayseed-dixie.com/Appearances.html