A packed house welcomed the Reverend Horton Heat for the bands first home town gig behind their latest album, Whole New Life. As the name implies, the band indeed seems to have a whole new life – or at the very least are reinvigorated by the recent additions of drummer RJ Contreras and piano player Matt Jordan. Alongside Jim Heath and his longtime partner in crime, Jimbo Wallace, the band sounds better than ever. Contreras adds a little bit more swing to the bands rockabilly stylings, while Jordan is the missing piece that none of us realized was missing.
As the crowd stood elbow-to-elbow in anticipation of the bands set, few if any realized they were about to be treated to a 25+ song, 2-hour long set. Drawing heavily on Whole New Life, the band played seven new tracks from the album, including the single “Hog Tyin’ Woman,” “Got It In My Pocket,” and “Hate To See You Cry.” These new songs rested comfortably alongside crowd favorites “Psychobilly Freakout,” “400 Bucks,” and “Baddest of the Bad.” But, there were surprises aplenty for the local crowd. The band would back Anaheim, California’s Big Sandy for a few of his songs (“I Can’t Believe I’m Saying This To You,” “Chalk It Up To The Blues”) and later be joined by the horn section from openers Voodoo Glow Skulls. It would be hard to believe anyone left the building feeling short-changed. With the additional guests and a setlist including every damn song you could possibly want to hear, the Rev seemed committed to giving the hometown crowd everything they wanted and more.
Riverside, California’s ska-punkers Voodoo Glow Skulls delivered a high-energy set that got the crowd properly warmed-up for the Rev. The Glow Skulls have long been (since 1988) a crowd-pleasing mainstay in the punk seen and they worked perfectly in support of the Rev. The six-piece band provoked sing-along’s, a cute little mosh-pit, and various forms of crowd participation. Their songs are designed to get people moving and got them moving they did – even if the crowd was initially reluctant. Of course, there were plenty of Glow Skull fans in attendance, but this night was about the Reverend Horton Heat. If anyone in attendance wasn’t previously a Glow Skulls fan, doubtless they were won over by their set.
– J. Kevin Lynch (words); Brently Kirksey (photos)
– click to enlarge photos –