If you are uninitiated to who Hayseed Dixie are, the only way to make sense of what you are about to read is to go listen, pick out any of their songs you find on Spotify, you might recognise a name that sounds familiar like, 7 nation army, Ace of Spades or Walk This Way, give it a listen and enjoy. That’s what the evening was all about, pure fun, enjoyment and some bloody good music.
First up of the night was support act Emma McGrath, if talented acoustic music is your thing, then definitely give Emma a listen. Walking into the show as an almost unknown McGrath and drummer made the stage their own, displaying that she is full of personality just bursting to get out and a very talented performer who sings and can play multiple instruments.
The only downfall for Emma is the show itself, having her as a support artist to a band like Hayseed Dixie is just an odd combination and not one you would expect. Much to her credit though, she addressed the issue, simply laughing at the fact that they wouldn’t be the sort of band you would expect to see in support and pushed on to introduce herself to the crowd and show off exactly what she can do. If i’m ever to catch Emma McGrath live again I would hope it would be in a more suitable tour, either way though, the reception at the end of set was a signal that she won a fair few members of the crowd over. Keep an eye out for the name Emma McGrath, i’d expect and hope you’ll hear it again soon.
P.S. Train circumstances meant I wasn’t able to take photos, hopefully this can be corrected sometime soon.
Well, where do I begin with these guys, it has to be one of the more casual, uncaring entrances to a show I have ever seen from a headline act. Most of the time you’d expect to see all instruments set up perfectly and have some dramatic music hit over the speakers as the band come out. Not Hayseed though. One by one they came onto the stage, the only thing set up before was the microphones, first up was lead singer John Wheeler and then gradually the rest, all with instruments in hand, placing their cases and alcohol to the back of the stage and one by one setting up their instruments. Something about how nonchalant this was just made me smile from the off.
Instantly their personality shone through, even before they started playing, as the rest of the band were setting up, singer Wheeler was just happily miming away to what ever country hit was playing over the speakers. They soon busted into their first song of the night and the talent on display was quite impressive, it didn’t take long before mandolin player Hippy Joe Hymas was off, I would easily equate him to being the Slash of the mandolin, that guy can play and he didn’t stop moving the entire set, he was going from pulling faces at members of the crowd to then just about giving the finger to everyone he made eye contact with.
As they were roaring through their set, it was amazing to see how seamless they could go from one well known rock song to another, I couldn’t keep up with the amount of songs they fit into one, they would go from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody to Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On to Rolling Stone’s Paint It Black in a flash, and it all fit marvellously in with one another, this happened so often this reporter just couldn’t keep up with all the different songs they steamed through one after another, fitting it all in together.
On the rare break in between songs, there was plenty of comedy on offer to, Lead singer John Wheeler just loved to chat away, interact with the crowd, one part in particular is making the entire audience whisper ‘F*ck yeah’ every time he said ‘THE America’ as well as casually took the piss out of both England and America. It’s a testament to the band that as this year will be their 18th birthday as they quickly pointed out ‘you can buy guns and have debt, but you can’t drink in America’ that they seemed to have this much enjoyment and energy on stage, if Hayseed Dixie are in town near you, I fully recommend going to one of their shows and just seeing it for yourself.