The Reverend Horton Heat (Night 5), Jello Biafra, and Wayne "The Train" Hancock at The Larimer Lounge in Denver, CO on 2/25/17

The Reverend Horton Heat – Pictures
by The Rock and Roll Princess

The Larimer Lounge transformed into The Larimer Church of The Reverend Horton Heat for a five-night sermon of psychobilly (a mixture of honky-tonk and punk).  The last show of the residency was a whirlwind of rockabilly, surf guitar, and trash metal. The opening act and the headliner looked like they just transported from the middle of the last century. The rockabilly dudes in attendance dressed like auto mechanics with black jackets with classic car emblems. The rockabilly chicks wore vintage dresses that showed off their cleavage and back tattoos…okay back tattoos kind of throws off the 1950’s vibe a little.

Jim Heath AKA The Reverend Horton Heat started the trio in Dallas, Texas back in 1985.  His stage name came from a combination of people calling him the reverend when he played the guitar, Johnny Horton (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Rockabilly singer), and his own last name Heath.  While touring last year The Reverend Horton Heat’s bus caught on fire almost killing the band.  After escaping the blazing inferno, the trio did a show that same night demonstrates their passion for performing.

The Reverend Horton Heat Psychobilly Trio

The Reverend Horton Heat started the night with the mostly instrumental Psychobilly Freakout and Zombie Dumb showing off his guitar surf style of playing. The Reverend Horton Heat summed up his extended stay in Denver by announcing, “You won’t get knifed, but you will get drunk.”  That’s when bass player Jimbo Wallace took over the guitar and lead vocals on Chuck Berry’s Little Queenie. After the song, The Reverend Horton Heat repeated one of the lyrics, “If it’s a slow song, we’ll omit it.  If it’s a rocker, then we’ll get it.”

Jello Biafra

Special guest Jello Biafra, former lead singer of the legendary punk band Dead Kennedys and Boulder, Colorado native son joined the band. Dressed in a fez, gold cape, and western shirt, he performed The Animal’s The House of the Rising Son, DOA’s Jezebel, and his own punk classic Holiday in Cambodia. Biafra reminisced about the local KIMN Radio Station and the legendary Denver country venue The Grizzly Rose.  He also got political showing off a Natzi Trump F*ck Off Shirt.  Jello Biafra did baffling hand jesters. I didn’t know if he was about miming about fishing, drinking, or asking for an ambience to be dispatched.

The Reverend Horton Heat

After the legendary punk rocker left the stage, The Reverend Horton Heat played Let Me Teach You How to Eat (I don’t think it’s about food) and Motorhead’s Ace of Spades.  The fast paced songs inspired the formation of a mosh pit.  The slam dancing paused for a moment during Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues.  But the moshing continued when Jello Biafra came back to sing Johnny Paycheck’s Take This Job and Shove It and Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas.

Wayne “The Train” Hancock

Opening act Wayne “The Train” Hancock entered The Larimer Church of the Reverend Horton Heat looking like he just stepped out of a 1940’s movie set.  It’s fitting that the former Marine claims to be the King of Juke Joint Swing.  He sounds like Hank Williams (he even yodels).  His band played songs such as Slinging Rhythm, Two String Boogie, and I’m Too Young to Marry sending the crowd into complete Western Swing Bliss.  Hancock told steel guitarist Rose Sinclair to take a solo in the middle of almost every song by stating, “Take it Rose.”  The audience felt like they were being taken back to a time when country music was heartfelt and pure.

See you at the next show.  I’ll be the one wearing a fez telling Rose to take another solo.

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