Concert Review: Daddy Long Legs @ Hill Country Live DC (6/22/19)

Daddy Long Legs
Daddy Longs Legs (Photo from FB @officialdaddylonglegs)

Daddy Longs Legs are legit!

It’s possible you had good plans on Saturday, June 22nd, but if it didn’t include witnessing the blues and roots rockers Daddy Long Legs live at Hill Country, you were wrong.

Very wrong indeed, because no one in attendance failed to have a good time.

For all their energy and the loud, exclamatory music they played for the half-full Hill Country, New York’s Daddy Long Legs only have three musicians. Brian Hurd (aka Daddy Long Legs) on vocals, harmonica and sometimes guitar, Murat Akturk on guitars, and Josh Styles on drums. They have a particular aesthetic and sound from a different time and place, that fully embraces their blues, punk and rock influences. Brian with side burns, black vest and shiny belt buckle. Murat with a velvet vest and a mullet like he dreamed to be born a Ramone. Josh with long rock hair and sunglasses.

Some in the crowd knew what to expect, while others got their first taste of Daddy Long Legs. The second song they played, “Evil Eye” is a legit blues rock stomper, and the harmonica came out front and center, a common theme throughout the night.

Their single “Glad Rag Ball” also highlights Brian’s guttural lyrics over the roots rocking drum beats and guitar riffs. Wave after wave hit us, each song in succession, and much like a hell-fire preacher shouting brimstone in a back woods tent, we could not stop listening. We did not want to stop.

Brian flat out walloped our eardrums with his blaring harmonica, in ways I’ve never heard live. Don’t sleep on the harmonica (aka blues harp), sometimes it takes no prisoners, especially in the hands of Daddy Long Legs. Whenever the harmonica reached his lips, Brian’s eyes searched and pierced your soul, sweat finding a path down his temples, taking the measure of each patron in turn. When his eyes found me, I felt a wry smile creeping in. Maybe I passed muster, but he brokered no tells before he moved to judge whether the next person was sufficiently enjoying the quivering notes of the sermon he preached. I hope we all passed judgement, but there are always sinners.

Both these thoughts will enter your head when listening to Daddy Long Legs: ‘That’s exactly like the last song, and what I expect roots rock to sound like everywhere, always’ and ‘Holy cow, that is awesome, never stop playing!’

They played 16 or so songs, many songs from their third album, Lowdown Ways (out via Yep Roc Records), and a couple of covers. They performed a similar set last November at Hill Country Live, shame I missed that.

Another single from Lowdown Ways, “Pink Lemonade”, jars out more of those ‘awesome’ thoughts with its thumping bass, and “Death Train Blues” is a fiery, frenetic plea for your soul to be saved, and maybe the most intensely labeled type of blues possible.

“Be Gone”, ending the main set, sounds just like another revival with a “Saints Go Marching In” vibe, and was probably my favorite song they played, even though I’d heard it all before. ‘One of these mornings, you’ll be singing a different song. But I’ll be gone!’

After a two-song encore, they were sadly gone, but not before Brian gave us all, the converted, another searching look. Odds are promising they’ll be back, and you won’t be wrong to skip out on your original plans and join the sermon live.

Evil Eye
Winner’s Circle
Back Door Fool
Glad Rag Ball
Mornin’ Noon & Nite
Blood From A Stone
Bad Neighborhood
Ding Dong Dang
Pink Lemonade
High Flyin’ Baby (The Flamin’ Groovies cover)
Death Train Blues
Fire and Brimstone (Link Wray cover)
Be Gone

Long John’s Jump

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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