by Jon Solomon, Featured Writer, WestWord.com
Just in case anyone forgot how long the Reverend Horton Heat has been around, he reminded everyone during the first 45 minutes of his show the Ogden Theatre Saturday night by playing a song from each of his albums in chronological order, from 1991’s Sub Pop debut, Smoke ’em if You Got ’em, to his most recent effort, 2009’s Laughin’ and Cryin’ With the Reverend Horton Heat.
Opening to a packed Ogden with a revved up take on “Psychobilly Freakout,” the trio didn’t waste any time kicking things into high gear. Near the end of the song, it almost sounded if Heat quoted a few riffs from Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades,” which was entirely plausible, particularly since the trio ended up playing the song during encore with one of the band’s crew handing vocal duties.
After each of the first ten songs, Heat would call out what number album the band was about to play a song from, and just before they kicked into a raucous take of “Jimbo Song,” from their fifth release, 1998’s Space Heater, Heat said the album was widely recognized as the worst album the trio ever did. “The experts, they all agree,” Heat said.
After delving into some jazzy licks on “The Party on Your Head,” bassist Jimbo Wallace laid his upright bass on its side, and Heat stood on it and laid into more fiery licks as the song intensified. The trio hauled some serious ass on “Galaxy 500” and “Indigo Friends” packed a Motorhead-esque punch. “After we did album number eight,” Heat said, “we didn’t do an album for a really long time. Well, we did a Christmas album, and of course Christmas is done. It’s the wrong time of year to do a Christmas song. Okay, lets do a Christmas song.”
Heat got on bass and Wallace strapped on Heat’s Gretsch, and they launched into “Run Rudolph Run,” with Wallace paying tribute to Chuck Berry, who popularized the song, during his solo. “All right, that brings us up to our most recent album called Laughin’ and Cryin’ With the Reverend Horton Heat. We got a little more country on that album kind of on purpose.” Heat and company then launched into “Death Metal Guys,” which he said was song about the juxtaposition between rockabilly guys and death metal guys. The song itself had rockabilly sections and pseudo death metal sections with drummer Paul Simmons blasting out double bass metal beats.
“We’ve reached that portion of our show where our set list has ended,” Heat said. “I don’t know what the hell we’re going to do now.” Supersuckers drummer Scott Churilla, who played the Rev for eleven years, then came out and sat in for the next few songs, including “Slow” and the slow country song “Where in the Hell Did You Go With My Toothbrush?” which Heat said was requested by a pretty girl in the front, and “Five-O Ford.”
Simmons then came back out for the rest of the set, which included more requests from the audience, including the foot-stomping “Bales of Cocaine,” “Big Little Baby” and “The Devil’s Chasin’ Me,” in which Heat got back up on Wallace’s bass and ran though another fierce solo. Hoss, the band’s lighting tech, joined the group for a scorching take on Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades,” which completely fired up the crowd. To close out a hell of show, the trio did “Big Red Rocket of Love” and then segued into Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” followed by a bit of the “Peter Gunn Theme” before circling back to “Big Red Rocket of Love.”