Psychobilly pioneer Reverend Horton Heat performs solo at the River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains on May 28
Excerpt from a press release:
The biggest stages in the world are no strangers to the Reverend Horton Heat.
Whether it’s international rock festivals such as Coachella; Glastonbury; Reading and Leeds; the biggest punk events, such as Riot Fest and Montebello Rockfest; the flagship Stagecoach Country Music Festival; or even rockabilly’s call to the wild, Viva Las Vegas, their presence has been a constant since the band’s early days in Dallas, Texas in the late 1980s.
Delivering their unique fiery brand of 1950s-tinged country and jazz-fueled punk and metal, the band paved the way to global cultural icon status.
2016 saw Reverend Horton Heat’s solo debut. For the first time in his storied career, the Reverend, aka Jim Heath, performed a series of sold-out concerts at select intimate theaters and performance halls across the United States to rave reviews.
Combining new takes on the Reverend’s classics with inside stories behind the music, the show plays out like a version of “MTV Unplugged.” Rev’s spirit, southern charm, and some life stories that ultimately led to the songs that made the band famous will be on full display.
This rare opportunity to see the solo man comes to River Street Jazz Cafe (667 N. River St., Plains) on Saturday, May 28 with Matt Witte and Jay Morgans.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the 21+ show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets, which are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, are on sale through HoldMyTicket.
With their hot fusion of dazzling high-speed guitar tracks, thundering beats, high-level swagger and lyrical smirk, the Reverend Horton Heat are perhaps the most popular psychobilly artists of all time, their recognition matched only by the esteem generated by the founders of the genre, the Cramps.
The Reverend (as the band and its frontman guitarist Jim Heath are known) built a strong cult following during the 1990s through constant touring, manic showmanship and a sharp sense of humor. The latter was, of course, nothing new to the world of psychobilly, and Heat’s music certainly retained the trashy aesthetic of its spiritual forefathers. Reverend’s real innovation was updating the psychobilly sound for the alternative rock era.
In their hands, it had roaring distorted guitars, rocked as hard as any punk band, and didn’t look exclusively to past pop culture for style or subject matter. Most of the Reverend’s lyrics were gonzo celebrations of sex, drugs, booze and cars, and true to his name, his early gigs often featured mock sermons in the style of a rural revivalist preacher. With their 1992 debut “Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em”, the band set the pattern for their no-frills, high-intensity approach to rockabilly, and although celebrity producers helped beef up the sound of their two next albums – Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers on 1993’s “The Full Custom Gospel Sounds” and Ministry’s Al Jourgensen on 1994’s “Liquor in the Front” – the Reverend’s essential style has changed little over time.
They would explore a more introspective side on 2004’s “Revival,” adopt their country influences on 2009’s “Laughin’ & Cryin’ with the Reverend Horton Heat,” and add a pianist to the mix on 2018’s “Whole New Life,” but on stage and in the studio, Heath and his bandmates could always be counted on to deliver some of the twangy fire that their fans love.
With over a million albums sold and over 35 years in the game, Heath and company have delivered blood pressure-inducing songwriting to millions of fans worldwide. Call it rock and roll, psychobilly, or whatever, the Reverend Horton Heat is often considered one of the earliest architects of the latter genre (at least on this side of the Atlantic) and occupies special place in American music.
Their latest albums, “Rev” (2014) and “Whole New Life” (2018), were released on Victory Records.