Erik V. Huey/Starbelly
Pearl Street Warehouse, Washington, DC
February 10, 2023
OK. So, I did not know about Erik V. Huey or the Surreal McCoys before I saw the show. Sue me.
God, am I glad I went. Erik Huey’s performance – the release party for his first solo album; a new collection of songs entitled “Appalachian Gothic” – was nothing short of a celebration of the good, the bad and the ugly of Erik Huey’s home turf – West Virginia and western Pennsylvania. From the first note to the last, high energy flowed bidirectionally over a strong, low latency connection between Erik and his audience. Five bars. Verizon couldn’t do better.
Augmented by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, who produced Appalachian Gothic, Baltimore-based rockers Starbelly delivered the grit and the glow that was Huey’s performance. Of course, the Appalachian Gothic album was the centerpiece of the show. High points of the set included “You Can’t Drink All Day,” “Dear Dad” and “The Devil is Here in These Hills”, covering alcoholism, child abuse and coal-mining angst, respectively. Mass murder and fucking also made topical appearances during the show. I’m sure other sins and vices were represented, but I was pretty busy photographing.
Despite the dark nature of some of the material, the mood was upbeat and transcendent. Erik Huey commanded the Pearl Street Warehouse stage and provided many close encounters with the audience. Spirited versions of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and the Stones’ “Let It Bleed” pleased the crowd, and the Zeppelin/Cash mashup “Whole Lotta Folsom” rocked hard and got laughs. (I’ve heard Folsom Prison Blues and Pinball Wizard also work well together).
I can’t recommend an Erik V. Huey live show highly enough, and I am looking forward to many listens of the new album.
The aforementioned Starbelly, comprised of Bryan Ewald and Cliff Hillis on guitar, Greg Schroeder on drums and Dennis Schocket on bass, delivered a strong set of mostly original material to open the show and warm up the crowd. I will be keeping an eye out for their performances around the DC area because I’d like to hear more!
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Interview: Erik Vincent Huey Brings Coal Dust To “Appalachian Gothic”
Vote for Appalachian Gothic here: https://americanahighways.org/2023/02/01/vote-for-favorite-album-of-january-2023-dec-2022/
Find more information and tour dates here: https://www.erikvincenthuey.com
Find information on Starbelly here: https://starbellyfour.bandcamp.com
and Eric Ambel here: https://www.ericambel.com