It’s Monday night, worse yet, it’s Monday night in Omaha, Nebraska. Oh sure, the College World Series is in town this week if baseball is your thing, but if you’re looking for that uplifting religious experience that will save your immortal soul from the pits of hell, how about you spend a night being “saved” courtesy of the man himself, The Reverend Horton Heat?
It’s been over 25 years since Jim Heath took on the name The Reverend Horton Heat and began taking his psycho-billy show on the road with his trusty sidekick and upright bass playing bad ass, Jim “Jimbo” Wallace, but you would never know it. These men prove that age really is just a number and no matter how many times you see them live, they never disappoint.
Tonight’s show at The Waiting Room in Omaha was the final stop on the band’s current tour, supporting their latest release a retrospective “25 to Life” that came out last year. The band was unable to tour last year after the departure of drummer Paul Simmons, but now with former Supersuckers drummer, Scott Churilla back behind the kit, the band was back and ready to tour. Churilla was with the Reverend from 1994 to 2006 and as Heath said at the show “the drummer who has played the most tour dates and on the most albums with the band”.
Before the Dallas, Texas natives took to the stage the band Ha Ha Tonka, originally from Springfield, MO and now based out of Chicago and signed to the Bloodshot Records label warmed up the crowd. Their mix of Americana, Bluegrass, Folk and Country has a great sound and was well received by the crowd.
After a quick set change, the stage went dark and from the opening riff of “Psychobilly Freakout” off the band’s very first album (released in 1990) or as younger kids may know it, that one song off the Guitar Hero game and then going on to play a song off each of the band’s nine albums, “Lonesome Train”, “It’s Martini Time” and the bass player’s anthem, “The Jimbo Song”, the shows momentum never stopped.
Reverend Horton Heat’s “Psychobilly Freakout”
Among the hits and fan favorites that spanned the band’s long career, Heath and company peppered in a few cover songs, like a fun cover of “Johnny B. Goode”, which features a rare appearance of The Reverend taking over playing the upright bass and Jimbo taking the lead on the guitar, and a fantastic cover of the Hank Williams, Jr. classic “Big River”, plus giving the crowd a taste of music from their forthcoming album, due out sometime later this year on the Victory Records label.
The band played for about two hours, including the encore, they kept the crowd going with their own kick ass brand of rockabilly music and high energy stage antics that have become what fans come to expect. The ever animated Jimbo Wallace on bass, throwing the upright up in the air and the always fun to watch, laying the upright bass on its side and never missing a note while The Reverend stands up on the side and plays a mean guitar solo. Plus the always witty banter from the Reverend with the crowd, everyone seemed to have a great time, not just the crowd but the band as well. They commented that this was the last stop on the tour and it seems that they may have saved the best and most fun crowd for last.
Now just because Heath, Wallace and Churilla aren’t exactly what you would call “young kids” anymore that doesn’t mean that they don’t still know how to tear the roof off of a place, they do. And as for the crowd, it was a mix of buttoned up to bikers, rockabilly queens and pompadour wearing men, The Reverend Horton Heat has always been to this reviewer has always seemed to play the type of music that everyone can agree on. All the elements are accounted for from Country, Bluegrass, Rhythm and Blues, to a little bit of good old fashioned Rock and Roll. As always, if you see a handbill or flyer advertising the Reverend Horton Heat is playing in your town, do yourself a favor, buy tickets and go to the show.
The band is going overseas for a show and then taking a break from the road for a little bit, but not too long, they’ll be back on the road in North America in August.
For details on where to find the band, log on to http://www.reverendhortonheat.com
Written by Christina Lawler