Hayseed Dixie
@ Leeds Irish Centre

It’s a really strange audience here – beardy old metallers, bikers, curious younger ones, T-shirted blokes, a smattering of cowboy hats and a man in denim dungarees. Some will be curious and some will be converts – Hayseed Dixie are a strange concept. Initially a joke – a bluegrass AC/DC covers band – and still a joke, just one that has matured into a band with a woider range of cover and some original material. What they do adds up to a show. In a similar way to The Bloodhound Gang or Bowling For Soup, they set up an evenings entertainment – working banter and tall tales and jokes into songs and paying attention to giving us a good time. Although you’d think the joke had worn thin by now, the good-natured piss-taking gives me belly laughs. Add to that doing a few jigs to the banjo and mandolin and everyone had a good time. I saw people struggling to stand up when they heard the bluegrass cover of Judas Priest’s Breaking The Law. The guitarist has huge mutton chop sideburns, there is a banjo, the guitar / fiddle is in tie dye and dungarees, as is the mandolin, who scampers about grinning. He sports eyeliner and a headband like an elderly and shrunk Jon Bon Jovi. Dirty Deeds Done Cheap exemplifies Hayseed Dixie’s belief that all good songs have four key elements:
cheating and

They proudly tell the tale of a reviewer describing their latest album sleeve as being the worst atrocity ever and declare they ‘don’t trust a man who doesn’t have to pay for his records’. Then they launch into a jaunty reworking of Sabbath’s War Pigs! The Sex Pistols’ Holidays In The Sun becomes a ballad. Chat and hillbilly jokes lead to an enormously jiggy banjo rave-up version of Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls. Poor taste jokes about blow jobs on dogs precede the original song; I’m Keeping Your Poop In A Jar, which leaves everyone wetting themselves laughing. Classic line ‘the moonshiner’s daughter….. makes me liquor all night long’ from another original song sums up the level of humour….

Many songs, like Quo’s Down Down are not really transformed, just arranged differently and the metal roots don’t lend themselves to the dance-fest of contemporary bluegrass bands like Yonder Mountain String Band but the relentless bad taste and fabulous good-naturedness of the band, allied to the laugh of reinventing overly serious songs as jigs, add up to a great night out.

Ross McGibbon