Reno’s Rant: Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers

I got to see another “bucket list” show this past Thursday, July 13th up in Erie. While all of the great shows of Roar On The Shore were going on that week, there was a hidden gem in Erie on Thursday at a little venue call Basement Transmissions. The venue looks like a bank converted into a concert hall with pillars on the outside giving off and very cool vibe as you walk in. The show didn’t sell as well as I was hoping for as a big fan of the band but that was to my benefit.

The band is Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. If you remember back in the mid 90’s, an album came out in 1996, Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy by The Refreshments. There were a great combination of upbeat, alt-rock sound with great story telling and a cool southwest vibe. Their first album featured singles, Banditos and Down Together, along with fan favorites, Girly, Mexico, Nada and more. They got little record company support after their second album and internal issues resulted in the guitarist and bassist being replaced and a change in the band’s name to Roger Clyne And The Peacemakers. They continued with the southwest sound and continued a tradition of great songwriting and story telling through 8 studio albums including their latest, Native Heart.

I first heard “Banditos” on a rock station down in Charlotte, NC and was pumped to get a promotional copy at the record store I worked at and played throughout the store constantly. Thanks to the lack of record company support after their first album, I kind of lost track or the band but continued to keep Fizzy Fuzzy Big And Buzzy in constant rotation in my personal cd library. Thanks to the internet, in 2011, I became introduced to what the band had been up to since the change to Roger Clyne And The Peacemakers (RCPM). I devoured anything I could hear from them and loved all that I had missed.

I went from being a fan of a band who had a great album that I loved to a fan of a band with a great library of music! I quickly realized that they were a band that I wished I could see live. You can imagine my surprise and delight when I saw that RCPM was coming to Erie! It was a no brainer, I was going!!!

I was disappointed that the crowd was so small because a big crowd means that they might come back but a crowd of 50 or so meant that the show was moved from the main hall to a small corner stage in a back room and I was at a table right in front of the stage.

The show opened with Gabriel Kelley who had been touring with The Allman Brothers but due to the passing of Gregg Allman, that tour was cancelled so RCPM asked him to hit the road with them. Gabriel put on a great set. He has a real passion for the songs he sings and did an amazing cover of the Allman’s, “Come And Go Blues”!

Roger Clyne And The Peacemakers took the stage, sans drummer PH Naffah, there was a story of Chicago, learning to drive a zamboni and playing for the Blackhawks but they rocked the house. You would have never known that they were only playing to a crowd of 50 or so, they brought it! They did many of their tunes from Fizzy Fuzzy Big And Buzzy, many of their other fan favs (they took A LOT of requests) and several new tunes off their new album Native Heart! RCMP must have played for the better part of 2 hours and included some very fun/funny originals from guitarist Jim Dalton! The only thing missing was Banditos. I really wish they would have ended the show with the hit but it was a hot and muggy night in a venue with no a/c and hot stage lights blaring down on them, after 2 hours, I couldn’t blame them for ending with Nada. One of the ironic points of the night was when they played the new song, Fun, which features the line, “I’ve got a few strings left on this guitar,” toward the end of the night and by the end of the show Roger had broken a string on his acoustic…I guess his guitar decided the night was done.

All in all, it was an amazing show, well worth the years it took me to finally see them. I hope they make it back to our area again and the crowd is bigger this time! They put on an amazing show and Basement Transmission is a great little venue to see a show. I can’t wait to see who else they bring in to Erie in the future!

Until next time….Cheers!

Reno