The crowd embraced the Christmas spirit as the Reverend Horton Heat a.k.a. Jim Heath performed the holiday classics. Horton’s Holiday Hayride was a traditional Christmas concert with a smattering of psychobilly (The Reverend Horton Heat’s signature sound). The show consisted mostly of songs from The Reverend Horton Heat’s album Christmas Favorites released in 2005. It was heart-warming to see the diverse audience of rockabilly couples, punk rockers, and middle-aged men singing along to Holly Jolly Christmas and Silver Bells. As the inflatable Bumble appeared on stage, Health informed the crowd that Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer (the 1964 television special where the charactered appeared) proved that Sasquatch is real. That’s when the band launched into Psychobilly Freakout (not a Christmas song) and a mosh circle appeared. It was like a joyous punk square dance with the participants skipping, jumping, and shoving.
The band had keyboardist Lance Lipinsky along for the Holiday Hayride. The musician matched the band style perfectly with his Jerry Lee Lewis style playing. In fact, Lipinsky appeared over 2,500 times in the musical Million Dollar Quartet in Chicago portraying Lewis. He also recorded a solo album at the historic Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee where the famous Great Balls of Fire rocker recorded his classics.
Tour manager and drummer Jonathan Jeter kept things rolling along from his festive glittery green drum kit. He also fronts his own band Jonathan Jeter and The Revelators. Bass player Jimbo Wallace showed off his musical range by playing guitar to Chuck Berry’s Run Rudolph Run. Walace has been performing with Heath for over thirty-one years.
Trombonist Jose Pazsoldan and Saxophonist Eric Skazzini from Voodoo Glow Skulls joined the rockabilly fun for the double entendre tune Let me Teach You How to Eat (not a Christmas song). This reminded Heath about the time Lemmy from Mötorhead performed with The Reverend Horton Heat and refused to play his signature song Ace of Spades. That’s when the band played the tune making the mosh circle reappear.
The Holiday Hayride came to an end with Santa Claus is Coming to Town released in 1934 followed by Gene Summers and his Rebels’ School of Rock n’ Roll released in 1958. Both songs have aged well if performed by The Reverend Horton Heat.
The crowd entering the Gothic Theatre noticed lead singer Efrem Martinez from Voodoo Glow Skulls taking a picture of the marquee. With a shy smile and a laugh, he confessed it was for his nephew. The punk ska band formed in 1988 by three brothers: lead singer Frank Casillas, guitarist Edgardo Casillas, and bass player Jorge Casillas. Martinez replaced Frank Casillas as the lead singer in 2017. When the band performed, the singer appeared in a sarape (a Mexican blanket) and a lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) mask. Martinez eventually took off the outfit to perform the tune Make America Skank Again (not a Christmas song) from the band’s latest album Livin’ the Apocalypse?
See you at the next show. I’ll be leading the mosh circle in a Santa Claus lucha libra mask.