Review of Caleb Caudle and the Bayonets and the Lonely H at the Rocket Club by lydia see up on Blurt Online
Rocket Club · Asheville, NC
BY LYDIA SEE
It is refreshing to stumble upon music of high quality made by bright-eyed, bushy-tailed young bucks on the scene, as it serves as a reminder that essential music traditions are not dying off with the aging greats, but rather being appropriated respectfully for a new generation of ears.
The thing that separates aforementioned young-bucks like Caleb Caudle and the Bayonets and the Lonely H from the rest of the copy-cat trash emerging in the rock and alt-country realm right now is a sense of authenticity stemming from an obvious commitment to originality yet an ability to feature an homage or two to the musicians and bands who’ve inspired them.
At the Rocket Club in Asheville, NC last Thursday night, Caudle and his Bayonets had the difficult task of rowdying up a nominal crowd, but met it head-on, with such enthusiasm and ferocity that the large room felt at once full and alive. Set opener “So Gone” was ripe with jangly, back-porch-cum-whiskey-fueled-speakeasy guitars echoing Ryan Adams and Jeff Tweedy. “Throw me to the Wolves,” awash with a vintage Stones meets Benji Hughes feel, juxtaposed the high-energy “Our Heaven,” which is “around two minutes and forty seconds, so you know it’s from the heart,” according to Caudle. An impeccable “Dead Flowers” was a standout, with help from Mark Fredson from the Lonely H, followed by the ‘90s prog-rock feel of “As You Please,” with a grand finale of rough and raunchy “Corners” finishing out the tight set. Caudle’s sharp songwriting is brought to fruition by the diligent talents of the Bayonets: Kyle “Hacksaw” Caudle on bass, Chad “Gruesome” Newsom on Drums, and Stephen “Make em’ Holler” Pollard on guitar, and their chemistry live is articulated seamlessly.
The Lonely H quickly took the stage, and shook the whole of West Asheville with the explosive opening of “Out West,” during which Fredson croons “we could make love with our starry eyes” like a young Robert Plant without an ounce of pretension. The Lonely H’s sound is emulative of the great classic rock bands of the ‘70s, made all the more impressive when considering that no member of the band was alive during the genre’s hey day.
“Other Side of the Water,” with its catchy build up, begs to be listened to while dancing on a bar, with bangin’ rhythm work by Ben Eyestone (drums), and Johnny Whitman (bass). The doo-wop slowdance stunner “White Horse Tears” is the perfect soundtrack for a solo bike ride through the rain, thinking about the girl that got away. A joint effort between both bands on The Lonely H’s beautiful “The River” from their new album Concrete Class and The Band’s “The Weight” closed out the set.
The impossible culmination of the evening, however, was a post-breakdown private acoustic rendition of the supergroup (a composite of all eight musicians) The Rebel Bandits’ ballad “Outlaw My Dick” which demonstrated the ability of two groups traveling together to truly push the envelope of tour bromance, and actually write some pretty good tunes in the process. (See photo, above.) This show marked the last night of The Rebel Bandits’ run together, meaning that The Lonely H will continue on with the rest of their tour, eventually ending up back in the Pacific Northwest, and Caleb Caudle and the Bayonets will resume charming the pants off the Southeast.
[Photo credit: Lydia See]