Reverend Horton Heat: Multifarious

It’s been four years since I have seen Reverend Horton Heat. The last show I witnessed the magic that this band projects was at the Wakarusa Music Festival in 2006. Coincidentally, it was the first review that I ever wrote. I was anticipating the same amount of energy, if not more since the show was in Boulder, and they always have a great cult following here. One notable pre-show note that I made was about the ticket prices. Tickets before the day of the show were only $12.50, and tickets at the door the day of were almost $30. I was really surprised at that major difference, but as soon as the opening band hailing from San Diego, Deadbolt, graced the stage the people filed in quickly. After all, who wasn’t drawn to the band when they started blasting out power tools with sparks of red hot medal gleaming on stage. All of the band members wore sunglasses so they weren’t affected by sparks.

Shortly the “-billy” filled night of music started with some voodoobilly as Deadbolt got things started. I really enjoyed this opener as their music reminded me a lot of Quentin Tarantino soundtracks, especially their opener “Who the Hell is Mrs. Valdez.” Then, by the fourth song “Truck Driving Son of a Bitch,” they pulled out a snake to wrap around a guitar, and that was just one of the band’s entertaining antics. They brought out a piece of wood to break like a karate student, but the first guitar player failed to break it. The other guitar player came to his rescue and shattered it on the first try. As the band made their exit after a terrific set, the lead singer said, “Thanks for coming out to see the legend Reverend Horton Heat. He’s a legend in his own time, just like we are legends in our own minds.”

The power trio known as Reverend Horton Heat, which is the stage name for the guitar player and singer from Dallas, Jim Heath, opened big with “Big Blue Car.” Heath nicknamed himself after the country music legend Johnny Horton. The crowd was already plenty warm after Deadbolt, and now they were moshing immediately. Soon the famous clicking sound of upright bass player, Jimbo Wallace, amazed the crowd for the first time of the night with “Time Right Now,” a song once featured in a Drew Carey Show episode. After the third song, I left the front of the stage with bodies flying everywhere. I went to use the bathroom, and as I was washing my hands, someone bursts through the door with blood squirting everywhere from his face. The country-fed punkabilly came to a full tilt during this time as I heard “Callin in Twisted,” blasting from stage. I quickly got a drink and made my way to my spot just in time for “Galaxy 500,” another song that was played on television when Heath brought the fellas to play on The Late Show with David Letterman. When the band played “Bales of Cocaine,” I couldn’t help but think of that poor guy in the bathroom. I don’t really know if he had a hard time in the mosh pit or a hard time with these party songs. The crowd was seriously dedicated to this band. It was a lot more crowded than I anticipated, and just as they went into one of their most famous songs “Psychobilly Freakout,” which I have to admit was first introduced to me by Guitar Hero II. It’s one of my favorite songs to play on the Playstation game because of the technical prowess allotted to it by the game makers. This was a turning point in the night. The energy was fed from the solo that was screaming. After the song, Heath thanked the gracious crowd in Boulder, and started talking about the people who still have their Christmas lights up. On a whim, Heath began discussing a Greensleeves story and tore into the English classic hymn due to the “What Child is This?” lyrics followed by “Run Run Rudolph.” I know for a fact that the whole scenario was unplanned, which made it everything a live show should be. Then, the Reverend told another story about peyote and a certain cactus in Texas (that doesn’t really grow in Texas), and all the diehard fans knew that “No Saguaro in Texas” was next. The show did not let up or let down one bit. The band played a myriad of their classics, which ended with an amazing drum solo, a slap happy bass solo, and a medley during “Big Red Rocket,” which included a Dallas theme song, “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Smoke on the Water,” and Led Zeppelin teases.

The band was feeling it, and it was evident. They did a lot songs and teases that were not on the setlist at all. The train doesn’t stop rollin’ for these Texans. They have a plethora of tour dates scheduled, and if you haven’t seen them, they are one of those must see bands multifarious capabilities.

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