Five thoughts: Reverend Horton Heat (December 4, Vinyl)

Traveling preacher: Frequent Vegas visitor the Reverend Horton Heat.
Wayne Posner, Erik Kabik Photography
Jason Harris

1. “Psychobilly Freakout,” the Rev’s best known song, appeared early in the set and is perhaps the best intro to the three-piece band if you’ve never heard it before. Psychobilly is an amalgam of many genres—mash up some country, a little surf-rock and a helping of swing, blend them at the highest speed possible and you have a good idea what this show was like.

2. To play at such speed requires technical precision, which all three members of RHH have in spades. The Rev, Jim Heath, is a quick-picking assassin, nailing the guitar on both speed and accuracy. Upright bassist “Nature Boy” Jimbo Wallace plucks that thing with such aplomb, he just might be the Ric Flair of the instrument. And drummer Scott Churilla pounds hard and keeps the back line sturdy.

3. Heath, a fan of puns, toes the line between humor and reality with his banter. He mentioned that earlier in the week he was in an emergency room in Albuquerque for seven and a half hours. It was believable until he disclosed the cause of the incident: an overdose on Tums.

4. Heath said, “Our albums have slow songs, but when we play live we don’t play slow songs …” The crowd roared. And Heath continued, “...until right now.” RHH then launched into an early ballad from its catalog, “It’s a Dark Day.”

5. Three swell covers helped fill out the set. “The School of Rock and Roll” by Gene Summers and His Rebels, “Run Rudolph Run” by Chuck Berry (which saw The Rev and Jimbo swapping instruments) and Johnny Cash’s “Big River” all got a pyschobilly makeover.

  • It’s clear his adolescent rage was about more than shock-rap antics; it was born of unprocessed pain. Today, his music paints a portrait of a ...

  • Last month Sting announced a new greatest hits-style album, “My Songs,” is coming out on May 24, with new versions and reinterpretations of 15 of ...

  • Also on the bill: Billie Eilish, Lil Wayne, Janelle Monáe, Vampire Weekend, Zedd, Portugal. The Man, Rüfüs Du Sol …

  • Get More Music Stories
Top of Story