In 2009 Morrissey famously cut his set at Coachella short and stormed off the stage… for the smell of grilled meats emanating from the festival concession stands was simply too much for the renowned vegan to… stomach.
Morrissey will not be playing Taste of Randolph anytime soon.
The Reverend Horton Heat however brought it’s unique mix of punk, swing and rockabilly to the west side as smells of grilled meat and much more lingered in the air… a fact not lost on the band as they launched into opener “Marijuana” from their 1991 Sub Pop debut Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em.
To celebrate their 25th anniversary, the band tore through a two hour set featuring songs from each of their first seven albums in chronological order. Crowd pleasers and live staples like “Nurture My Pig,” “It’s Martini Time” and “Jimbo Song” were present and accounted for.
Staying true to the orderly theme, the band, after much deliberation from Texas frontman Jim Heath, decided to mix things up a bit offering their take on “Run Rudolph Run” from the 2005 Christmas album We Three Kings… a performance that saw Heath and bassist Jimbo Wallace swap Gretsch guitar and upright bass duties.
As always, in between rollicking numbers, Heath peppered the set with witty banter and interesting diatribes (The anti-record label rant that preceded “Baby, I’m Drunk” was particularly entertaining). The band relied primarily on their faster, more upbeat numbers leaving the slower tracks for you to listen to at home on your headphones.
Heath’s guitar playing is what powers every live Reverend Horton Heat show. It’s an interesting style that mixes influences like Les Paul with modern country and western… but it's played with blistering speed and impressive showmanship (at one point, Heath fired off a solo from atop Wallace’s upright bass which was laid on its side on the stage).
The band finished the show by taking a few requests from fans… requests that included live rarities like “Sue Jack Daniels” and more.
Songs about drinking… perfectly appropriate numbers whose lyrics often mirrored the behavior of those in attendance… as is often the case amidst the revelry at a Reverend Horton Heat show.
- Photo taken by Jim Ryan