Concert review by Brittany Woolsey
Greased-back hair, flannels and Pabst Blue Ribbon were popular Saturday night at the House of Blues, Anaheim when a packed crowd of punk, rockabilly and psychobilly fans gathered at the venue for The Reverend Horton Heat.
As Jim “Reverend Horton” Heath kicked off the set by proclaiming, It’s a Psychobilly Freakout! the crowd dispersed into a frenzy of mosh pits to the mostly instrumental song.
Throughout the night, the trio of rockabilly rockers played songs from each of their 10 albums, even from Space Heater, which Heath deemed as the group’s “worst album.”
Despite having been around since the mid-’80s, The Reverend Horton Heat rocked as hard as when they first began, if not harder. As the rowdy fans moved around the dance floor, the band showed a never-ending amount of energy as Heath would repeatedly move toward the front of the stage to show off insane guitar solos. During Party in Your Head, Heath took the guitar solos one step further as he stood atop Jimbo Wallace’s standup bass, as Wallace also continued playing.
The band, recently announced a three-album record deal with Victory Records and was joined by past drummer Scott Churilla, delighted fans with original songs like Galaxy 500 and Bales of Cocaine, as well as a cover of the Stray Cats’ Rock This Town and Chuck Berry’s Run Rudolph Run.
Despite some vulgar lyrics, The Reverend Horton Heat also proved that they also had a chivalrous side. “We’re going to play a slow romantic song for the ladies,” Heath said before playing In Your Wildest Dreams, which inspired couples to slow dance throughout the crowd.
“When we come to Orange County, it’s jaw-dropping,” Heath continued. “Orange County has the hottest women. In Anaheim, you’ve got the hottest chicks in the world. In Anaheim, the guys are ugly as shit.” However, nothing was more captivating than the guest appearance of Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys.
Not only did Biafra join The Reverend Horton Heat for some of their original songs, including Jezebel, but he also sang The Dead Kennedys’ classic, Holiday in Cambodia and Too Drunk to Fuck, as well as a cover of The Animals’ hit House of the Rising Sun.
As Biafra constantly moved about the stage, he was extremely animated, jumped into the crowd and completely captivated the fans, who screamed for him to come back on stage once he was done. In fact, the audience seemed to get a bit smaller once Biafra exited the stage. Unlike typical concerts, the crowd was weak when asking for an encore, either because of the late hour or the range of ages in the crowd. However, once a few fans began chanting for the “Rev” to come back on stage, more of the crowd caught on and began chanting along.
Once the band came back on stage, they played Bales of Cocaine and Big Red Rocket of Love. “I’ve been in this band for 26 years,” Wallace said. “I’ve learned a lot. Wanna know a secret about the Reverend? This band is in love with country music.” With that, The Reverend Horton Heat broke out into a faster version of Johnny Cash’s I Shot a Man in Reno.
The encore also saw the return of Biafra, who emerged in a flashy red button-down shirt as he performed The Dead Kennedys’ rendition of Viva Las Vegas to close out the energetic show.
Overall, The Reverend Horton Heat and its fans showed that – no matter what age – rocking good times are always possible, and rockabilly is a hell of a lot of fun to dance to.
Look out for their debit release with Victory Records in 2013. Their music is currently available in stores, and online outlets such as iTunes. The Reverend is currently on tour; to find out when they’ll be in your area go to www.reverendhortonheat.com. You can also visit their social media page at Facebook.