Rev. Horton Heat…. The name alone, draws a crowd of music lovers that most have never seen. 32 years of psychobilly music straight out of Dallas, TX. These heavy hitters of the punk rock scene are hitting the streets of Denver tonight to open their 5-day straight gig at the Larimer Lounge. Their music would be best described as a perfect mix of country, surf, punk, big band, swing and rockabilly to create luscious sounds you are immediately consumed in.
Opening night was intense to say the least. On stage first were the local Denver boys of Reno Divorce! With eager anticipation from the crowd, Brent strapped on his guitar and smoothly belted out the notes that quickly made them go wild. Immediately dancing and singing along, the floor was packed and cheering the boys on as they played the rest of their set. Evoking a very Mike Ness feel, Brent croons to the audience as they sway to the rhythm of his guitar. This was obviously not my first time watching Reno play a show, but I am never less than impressed by what I see each time they take the stage. Their talent shines above most others and are one of the biggest pulls that Denver’s Rockabilly scene has. Reno will be in the studio making new music for us soon and with Tim Jadowski returning to the lineup after a 3-year hiatus, their upcoming tour of Europe in July should have them rocking the Rebellion Festival in England pretty hard!
Next up were the SuperSuckers. Never having seen these guys before, I had no idea what to expect… well except for great music that is! What a fun time. These boys hit the stage and the crowd erupted with cheer. Apparently, they happen to draw quite the crowd just on their own! With a very dirty, southern rock vibe; they got the floor moving and shaking right along with them leaving everyone pumped to see the Rev play.
After a brief intermission, Rev Horton Heat takes the stage to a sold-out house beginning their set with “Big Sky” and leading slowly into one of their huge hits “Psychobilly Freakout”! My first time seeing them live and I am blown away. Such a commanding stage performance that I would urge all of you to see this show before they leave town! Jim’s amazing vocals and insane talent on the guitar, leading the way for Jimbo on the upright bass. After playing “Zombie Dumb”, one of the new ones from their most recent cd; Jim begins the story of the night they were offered a record deal, oh so many moons ago. It all began with a tour that was to lead them to play a show in Seattle. After many tries to get ahold of the guy there for the show and with no success, Jim turns to Jimbo and asks what he thinks they should do… Jimbo replies with “Let’s go to Seattle”. So, with no real show to play, they arrive at the venue only to find out they had been lied to. They decided to stay a few days and during that time ended up getting offered to play at the Vogue theater… for free of course.
So, during the show while playing “Psychobilly Freakout” Jimbo ends up breaking a bass string which he tries to remove, the string is so thick and sharp, it immediately gashes him as he begins to bleed all over the stage. During one of the breaks of the song, Jim turns to Jimbo to find out if he wants to continue or cut the song short to attend to his gaping wound. Jimbo replies with making a bloody cross on his forehead, with his own blood of course and the show goes on without a hitch! The boys got offered a record deal that night and on stage here, launch themselves into the song “J-I-M-B-O” and the crowd goes wild!!
Just when I thought the night couldn’t get better. The Rev announces that they have a special guest joining them on stage tonight for a few songs. Jello Biafra from the Dead Kennedy’s takes the stage wearing a cape and funny little hat. Anyone that said punk was dead should really come out to this show. As I closed my eyes, I was immediately taken back in time to when music could move you in so many ways. I opened them to Jello dancing around to “jezebel” and was pulled into the night. When Jim led into the intro to “Holiday in Cambodia”, I don’t think there was a single person standing still. The circle pit grew and there were people (Including Jello himself) crowd surfing and stage diving, bringing that old school punk feel to life once again. Talking on stage about how music used to be and all that he is currently involved in, Jello launches into “Too Drunk”, another crowd hit and they go wild pushing up against the small stage. Being this close to the action was very surreal. A full night of such amazing music that I could not imagine anything topping this. The show capped with “Viva Las Vegas”, I was left in awe. The boys left the stage and Scott closes out the night with a drum solo. I have never been so entranced, but Scott is a God on the drums, to say the least. Playing for a solid five minutes, the crowd erupted once more before departing the dancefloor. Reliving the night through my memories, I envisioned this was what it must have felt like to see these guys 20 years ago, in some CBGB type club in New York. Old school punk at its finest.
So, close to the action you felt very VIP. I love seeing shows in such an intimate environment. Granted these guys could sell out the Pepsi Center every night as well, but I appreciate seeing them at the Larimer Lounge for my first experience and I encourage you to check them out too. Whether this is your first time seeing them or your 50th time, this atmosphere will make it a truly unique show to see! I am actually already contemplating checking out another night while they are in town!!
Rev. Horton Heat will be playing through Sunday at the Larimer Lounge, get your tickets now if you have the chance before it is completely sold out.
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And as always stay tuned for my next article coming your way soon!
Photos by Teddy G / Xposer Photography
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