Words/Pictures/Video by Bradley Darby
Everyone’s favorite bluegrass band that features a gas tank bass invaded the Old Rock House stage in St. Louis once again for yet another stellar show. Split Lip Rayfield, the 3 piece touring machine from Kansas, brought their blend of punk and metal inspired bluegrass music back to the Old Rock House stage. The last time they stopped in was last fall with the Legendary Shack Shakers and Mountain Sprout, one of my favorite shows of 2011, also at the Old Rock House. Jeff Eaton, the man behind the gas tank bass pictured above, known as the Stitchgiver, is actually from a little town called Gumbo, Missouri which is just a few hours from St. Louis. There is always a welcoming crowd for the Split Lip boys when they come through the Gateway to the West and this was no exception, and we even got to witness a small bluegrass mosh pit at one point!
They started the night off with “Flat Black Rag” and then mandolin/guitarist Wayne Gottstine took things over for “All The Same”. It was then onto Jeff Eaton’s first featured song, “Love Please Come Home”" before Wayne took the mic back for “Moving to Virgina” and “The River.”
Wayne switched from mandolin to guitar for “Never Make It Home” while Jeff armed himself with his trusty kazoo for a rocking solo . During “Kiss of Death” we even had the aforementioned mosh pit break out right in front of the stage featuring two booze infused fans going at it while Eaton slapped away at the Stitchgiver. Banjo picker Eric Martis then introduced Jeff to the crowd as Nikki Syxx, to which the crowd cheered… one fan booed loudly, and Martis replied “only one guy had the right response!” (Good job Ben!) At this point the crowd was growing restless as Eaton took over again for the always depressing ”Pinball Machine”, one of my personal favorites.
Each Split Lip show features a toast to their fallen friend, and former guitarist, Kirk Rundstrom and tonight was no different. After “How Many Biscuits Can You Eat?”, another great tune during which Jeff Eaton is damn near incoherently growling about eating biscuits in the morning we were asked to raise a glass to Kirk, and then it was “I’ll Be Around”, the title track to their most recent album and only released after the passing of Rundstrom. The last song of the night was “Redneck Tailgate Dream” before they stepped off the stage to catch their breath.
After about a minute off the stage, the guys came back out and said they had one more for us… and then went right into the face melting “High Price of Necromancy” and then the fan favorite and sing a long, “Used to Call Me Baby.” They finished out their one song encore with “Dont Believe That You’re Someone” and finally “Outlaw.” One song left huh? What a bunch of liars!
Overall, it was another great evening out with Split Lip Rayfield and I look forward to seeing them again next week at Wakarusa as well as at the end of June when they hit the BloomHeavy River Romp Festival in Grassy, MO (just 2 hours south of St. Louis)