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Reverend Horton Heat - Barrymore's, Ottawa, 15/5/2007

  by Andrew Carver

published: 18 / 5 / 2007

Reverend Horton Heat - Barrymore's, Ottawa, 15/5/2007


At Barrymore's in Ottawa, Andrew Carver enjoys an entertaining and theatrical, if somewhat practiced evening of excellent rock 'n' roll from the Reverend Horton Heat

The support group Bloomington, Indiana’s Murder by Death added a gothic, slightly melodramatic flair to their punkabilly. The guys wear black, the gal wears a summer dress and a flower in her hair. Matt Armstrong added some atmospheric sounds by flexing the neck of his bass guitar. The result ends up somewhere near Firewater, but not quite as interesting. The Reverend emerged in an orange suit decorated with rifle pictograms and a similarly orange Gretsch guitar (his signature model, no doubt). Bassist Jimbo Wallace and drummer Paul Simmons sported matching garage mechanic shorts and in Jimbo’s case a well-slicked pompadour. Reverend Horton Heat has a formidable live reputation, and the band injects some theatrics into the show: Early on the show Jimbo balanced on his bass (a popular stunt with stand-up bassists); during the finale he tossed it in the air to catch it. The Rev himself stood on the bass as Jimbo played it on its side at another point in the show. While both band and audience had their fun, it wasn’t a life-altering show. Indeed it seemed slightly practiced for a performance by an act with a wildman live reputation. With his somewhat pinched expression (legacy of a life in a sunny clime) and plastered-down hair the Reverend looks a bit like a dyspeptic older uncle then the man who penned the immortal ‘Psychobilly Freakout’. Well, his fingers are still mighty nimble, his voice is good ... that's what matters. Musically it was a super-tight set, with many popular favourites (or at least those he could remember - he's written a bunch that he admitted he's forgotten). He did play ‘Bales of Cocaine’ and ‘Marijuana’, and fulfilled a written request for ‘Big Little Baby’ placed on stage by a greaser in the audience. The biggest crowd reaction came during ‘The Jimbo Song’; ‘Loco Gringos Like a Party’, ‘400 Bucks’ and ‘Sue Jack Daniels’ also made the setlist. The band zipped through a passel of covers, including Bill Haley and the Comets (‘Rock The Joint’, I think - it was just an hour ago and already my memory's getting foggy too), Booker T and The MG's ‘Time Is Tight’, Johnny Cash's ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and an out-of-left field version of Black Sabbath's ‘Paranoid’ sung by Simmons (who also turned in a thunderous drum solo, complete with stick toss-and-catch). In the end, it was a fun evening of excellent music from one of the most thoroughly road-tested combos around.

Picture Gallery:-
Reverend Horton Heat - Barrymore's, Ottawa, 15/5/2007

Reverend Horton Heat - Barrymore's, Ottawa, 15/5/2007

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