I had the pleasure of getting to see Hayseed Dixie kick off their UK and Denmark 2016 tour midweek at The Garage in Glasgow. [Yes, we know the header image is the ABC. We didn’t have a spare photographer on Wednesday night! Mosh]
I have been aware of this American bluegrass rock band for a few years now, but this was my first chance to see them live and I jumped at the chance. Although my home town is Aberdeen, and the second day of their tour, it was good to get to see them at the larger Glasgow venue on the opening night. So I did arrive already knowing I would like most, if not all, of their music, and with high expectations of enjoying myself I wasn’t to be let down.
Their first album A Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC kicked off the band’s career in 2001, and since then they have branched out to cover a wide range of rock classics as well as original compositions often following a satirical style. Onstage, the lead singer ensured that term ‘educated rednecks’ was one which described them well.
The evening was kicked off by support band Thirteen Stars with southern rock tunes which I feel was a good match for opening up the night. Hayseed Dixie gave them a good shout out on stage and mentioned they are also utilized as merchandise sellers and get to take a cut. It’s nice to see this kudos given out, and recognition that any bands that get to be the main act were once a support act too.
After a short break, Hayseed Dixie took to the stage and kicked off with a great lively classic of “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. You can see right from the start that this band enjoys being on stage and engaging with the audience. This brings a great energy to the gig, and a buzzing atmosphere with the crowd often singing along, clapping, whooping and arm swinging about the place. The song “In the Backyard” caused quite an eruption. Despite it being a Wednesday, the venue was pretty busy with crowd mainly made up from long time fans which added a good ambience.
I had been listening through various albums before attending the gig, and had grown to really like a song which they played on the night and described as the “greatest protest song“ – “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (originally by Twisted Sister). With their acoustic set up, and their skill level, “Duelling Banjos” was a must and they did it justice.
The night was wrapped up with an invigorating medley of songs interspersed between “Highway to Hell”, including with some Elton John “Tiny Dancer”, “Freebird” and “Eternal Flame”.
Chatting with one of their long standing fans, I was told that the band loved to mingle after gigs. This was indeed true as they mentioned on stage at halftime that they’d come out into the crowd and have some banter and selfies with the fans. Unfortunately I didn’t partake in the mingling this time and will be kicking myself for a while, a Hayseed Dixie selfie would be one I’d be very proud of.
Reading their Wikipedia page shows this band love to tour and play various festivals with some quite impressive stats including “the only band who have ever headlined English festival stages at both Castle Donington Download Festival and the Cambridge Folk Festival in the same year”- Wikipedia
For the main part, I really liked how the stage was lit up, and the various color combinations used. It was easy to see the band, and was a good background. The issue was the large, football field like, blinding white lights that were not just used during some song breaks, but in the middle of songs too. This got pretty darn irritating.
I am not someone that really knows much about the ‘acoustics’ of a venue. I mainly come away with an opinion that things sounded crap or ok. I’m usually found complaining about the mixing and not being able to hear vocals clearly, but I was impressed at how clear everything came across.
Access / Stairs
I couldn’t quite believe the amount of stairs in The Garage. I literally walked through the doors, stopped and stared. I then did a u-turn and asked where the lift was. I was told there was no lift, to which I replied “you are kidding me’. So I took a few deep breaths and hauled myself up them. Once I handed over my ticket, there was then even more stairs. After arriving in the hall I realised I wanted to use the cloakroom, but this involved more stairs. I think next time I attend the venue, I will require a burly man to carry me.
If you are looking for a lively gig that keeps you boogying and bopping to familiar tunes then I highly recommend you see these guys live. I will definitely grab another gig when they come round again, and get a bigger gathering along with me. My regular listening playlists already have a lot of their material dotting around.
2016 Lineup (showcasing a new banjo player)
- John Wheeler (credited as Barley Scotch) – vocals, acoustic guitar, violin, mandolin, piano
- Hippy Joe Hymas – mandolin, acoustic guitar
- Jake “Bakesnake” Byers – acoustic bass guitar
- Tim Carter – banjo
Tour Dates 2016
- November 2 – Wednesday – Glasgow, Scotland – Garage
- November 3 – Thursday – Aberdeen, Scotland – Garage
- November 4 – Friday – Dundee, Scotland – Beat Generator
- November 5 – Saturday – Edinburgh, Scotland – La Belle Angele
- November 6 – Sunday – Belfast, Northern Ireland – Empire Music Hall
- November 8 – Tuesday – Pocklington,England – Pocklington Arts Centre
- November 9 – Wednesday – Middlesbrough, England – Westgarth Social Club
- November 10 – Thursday – Pwllheli, Wales – Hafan Y Mor Holiday Park (HRH)
- November 11 – Friday – Canterbury, England – Westgate Hall
- November 12 – Saturday – Worthing, England – St. Paul’s Arts Centre
- November 13 – Sunday – Southampton, England – The Brook
- November 14 – Monday – Ipswich, England – Corn Exchange
- November 16 – Wednesday – Helsingør, Denmark – Toldkammeret
- November 17 – Thursday – Copenhagen, Denmark – Pumpehuset
- November 18 – Friday – Odense, Denmark – Posten