Celebrating their 25th anniversary, Reverend Horton Heat took to the stage in true Texan gun totin’, whiskey abusin’, wife beatin’ style. Judging by their show, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them back here for their 50-year anniversary in another 25 years. Yes, like Bigfoot Wallace of popular Texan folklore, singer Jim Heath is seemingly unstoppable.
Being the second of their sideshows, the venue wasn’t packed, making for a nice, intimate show, but despite the small crowd Reverend Horton Heat really came at you like a roaring steam train, and tied to the tracks, there’s really not a whole lot to do but sit back and take it like the bitch that they make you feel like. With angry, almost primal sounding drums, rockin’ guitar and a kickin’ double bass, standard to the rockabilly/psychobilly genre, their set list played out like the soundtrack to a Quentin Tarrantino movie, with all the action and gratuitous violence included.
They’re just about as fun as a live band can get, their on stage antics and humorous lyrics making for a very light-hearted performance. Their songs are definitely a bunch of foot-stompers, and surrounded by a bunch of billies, (rockabillies, psychobillies, hillbillies, etc), you really do feel as though you’re in a ten gallon hat bar in downtown Dallas.
While the faster tracks were a lot of fun to watch, they really seemed to heat things up in slower tracks ‘Loaded Gun’ and ‘In Your Wildest Dreams’. With the seductive guitar and bass pairing in Loaded Gun gently slipping you into a darker place, it was easy to feel yourself getting lost in the hazy sounds and melancholy vocals.
Heath’s crispy voice rang out clear as a whistle, sounding absolutely brilliant. For a man of 51, this guy really knows how to rock ‘n’ roll, with all the swagger you’d expect only of a high class pimp. His occasional witty banter in between songs really kept the show going. He had obviously done the ol’ vegemite behind the ears trick, saying he loved Australia, even our vicious drop bears.
The tracks from the new album, in this reviewer’s opinion, weren’t as strong as some of the older tracks, with a more country and western sort of vibe than the straight up ‘country-fed punkabilly’ of previous releases. It wasn’t long until they reverted back to the classics though, the borderline maniacal bassist Jimbo’s voice screeching out like a dying crow in ‘Psychobilly Freakout’.
Arguably one of the top psychobilly bands out there today, and whether you’re a part of the scene or not, their raucous sound should be appealing to anyone, and even if you don’t dig the sound, there’s no question that their music will get you up and moving.
The Reverend Horton Heat plays one final show of the Australian tour at Billboards in Melbourne tonight Friday 17 December – there will be a handful of tickets on the door.
Reverend Horton Heat Australian Tour coverage on Tone Deaf
Watch the video of JIMBO performed live at The Espy
Check out our photo gallery of the gig at The Espy