Freshers’ Week 2008 – Hayseed Dixie – QMU

Cormac Beagan & Gerry McKeever

It all started a long time ago, in a valley named Deer Lick Holler. A crew of young boys managed to get their hands on a couple of AC/DC records.  Only having an old 78 to play them on, they took on a slightly different perspective to rock. When they started recreating the music in the only way they knew how, Rockgrass was born. This genre  has seen them make five studio albums, an EP and tour Europe.

The wonderfully unique Hayseed Dixie took the stage at the QMU on Tuesday of Freshers’ Week, to a crowd divided between excited officionados and the drunken bewidered, as is tradition during live music events at freshers’ week.  Now, there are some things that only balding violin and banjo playing hillbillies can get away with, like wearing tie-dye wife beaters while playing stunt-metal on a banjo.

The gig was amzingly tight as expected from the mavericks, with the most impressive section being the duel playing of the banjo by the two brothers, Deacon and Dan. They played one hand each, the song building to a climax until the entire band were playing two instruments.  A truly glorious spectacle almost vindicating embarrising Dads everywhere.

With a set list that included “Highway to Hell”, “Ace of Spades” and a truly great rendition of the “Duelling Banjos”, Hayseed Dixie struck a nice balance between comedy and blistering Banjo solos, and with the subject matter of the songs centered around drinking and dancing, the Qudos masses were behaving suitably.

The extraordinary energy of the bearded fourseome really lit up the night.  It’s great to see such showmanship and a really polished performance.  While a gang of balding hillbillies could have been seen as rather a controversial choice for Freshers’ Week by the QMU, by the end of the gig the dance floor was packed, and Hayseed Dixie had found a special place in the hearts of many freshers.


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