Guest Reviewer: Kath Runciman
I first would like to address the venue for this gig.
Having never been to Wakefield’s new venue, Warehouse 23, I was unsure what to expect for the evening. What I experienced was polite, pleasant staff who were attentive and supportive and who showed a level of empathy with disabled audience members, I feel has to be mentioned, as there were several large motorised wheelchairs, several visually impaired and hearing impaired people there and what I saw was a superb level of support to ensure that they had the best experience the venue could offer. Yes, there is still room for improvement but I don’t think I’ve seen that level of genuine inclusivity in any venue before….well done Warehouse 23.
So….downside…..no support band, so there was a long wait before Hayseed Dixie came on, but for me, that is the only negative of the night.
Once on stage, Hayseed delivered on of the most fun and enjoyable gigs I have ever experienced. The level of energy from the band members and musical ability was superb and they competently carried the audience through renditions of classic rock tracks, hip hop, Britney Spears (only for a moment, fortunately) and triumphant renditions of classic tracks such as Bohemian Rhapsody.
John Wheeler engaged with the crowd brilliantly with a blend of banter and interesting (and insightful) political commentary on issues both American and British. He finished a staggering rant quoting several philosophical and scientific theories, with, “I’m not just a redneck, I’m an educated redneck and that’s something to be afraid of“.
Getting back to the music, renditions of Motörhead‘s Ace Of Spades and AC/DC‘s Highway to Hell whipped the crowd into a sea of horns up waving hands and when they broke into Journey‘s Don’t Stop Believing, young and old embraced their inner Glee demon and sang along and danced equally. The band also introduced the crowd to some of their original material from the No Covers album which was well received.
The musicianship was phenomenal and the band members, apart from Jake ‘Bakesnake’ Byers on acoustic bass, swapped between instruments and showed a level of classical aptitude, mixed with thundering rock interpretation that was awe inspiring for its execution and truly brilliant. The fiddle playing (as a classically trained and experienced concert violinist) was breathtaking at times and beautiful in moments of classical and softer renditions, something which in a climate changing in temperature constantly due to the mere heat of the crowd in such an intimate space, was very impressive.
Finishing with a staggering rendition of Pink Floyd‘s iconic Comfortably Numb, the audience were left with no doubt, that Hayseed Dixie had given their all to Wakefield and after 5 minutes, all of the band were in the bar with the fans, drinking, signing autographs, having photos and selfies done and relaxing, no sense of rushing away, a genuine desire to meet, greet and relax with the fans who supported them, old and new.
If you see Hayseed Dixie are playing a venue near you, if you need to feel the joy of music and the fun of not taking life too seriously, you cannot go wrong with a trip to one of their gigs. 10/10 and thank you for an amazing night.