Labor Day Weekend began with a big damn show at Birdy’s Friday night. Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band took the crowd to church at 9 p.m. sharp. Backed by a drum set and a washboard, Reverend Peyton hollered the blues with a roar that shattered time and transported the crowd back to 1920s Louisiana. The crowd clapped along as he exorcised demons from a Dobro steel guitar with his fancy slide work. I stood slack-jawed as the 20-something bluesman transformed the Birdy’s stage into an old Southern revival.
After the Reverend’s “big damn baptism,” Indy residents got a taste of Philly rock as Marah took the stage with Springsteen-style jams. The two guitarists even stepped down to jam in the crowd. The lead singer, a self-proclaimed poor man’s son and Kerry supporter, belted out poetic lyrics about downtrodden life in Philadelphia with a vocal delivery to match Springsteen. Marah also featured a pedal steel player whose slide work approached George Harrison. The pedal steel player took the crowd from the heartland rock of South Jersey up I-95 to the East Village with a Latin-infused punk number called “Cuidado.”
After performing a relaxed country cover of Bobby Darin’s “Nightclub,” Marah pulled out the stops and got down in the crowd for an extended jam that lasted nearly 20 minutes.
This was one of the most intense live performances I’ve ever witnessed, and some of the hundred people in attendance agreed. Marah is an act worth seeing.