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Reverend Horton Heat

Live in Portland, Oregon, December 2010

Review by Larry Toering

A Reverend Horton Heat show is always a guaranteed blast and this particular night was on par with their usual bucket of backyard fireworks. Doing a chronological set, they delivered a rousing performance. The front end waved back and forth with much delight and order, there was nothing but pleasure in the slamming fun. What a great vibe, the Rev's killer licks and hilarious vocals combined with one of the tightest rhythm sections this side of Texas, really threw an outrageous indoor barbequed twangfeast. A colossal combo if there ever was one, they blend their mix of genre's so well that it's one big psychobilly ward when they arrive to play. Portland,  for some reason, is one of their frequent hot spots and it's easy to see why, as time after time they jump to play here.

Reverend Heat and band were still banging away in support of their latest very country heavy release Laughin' and Cryin' with the Reverend... (which is a bit of a laid back one compared to previous records). But their established live show is always by far superior to what they shape it with, and nothing can bring it down. An eclectic crowd full of cowboy shirts and Horton motorcycle t-shirts were swinging about in every corner of the ballroom. Musically I enjoyed mostly the older stuff but it's all so similar in a good way that keeping up didn't matter, which at this point it really shouldn't. It has so little to do with it. One mark of a truly great band is when they can bring it no matter what they play. It's all cut out for them and they don’t hesitate to come out with a few broken bones if they have to.

Larry Toering
Larry Toering

The crowd is just as entertaining as the band, with so much going on there were clusters full of punters not even paying attention to the show, many of them just celebrating being at yet another one of these ongoing rituals. This is a culture all its own, and the Rev and Company. are the hosts. They're a band that lives for the crowd and nothing more, so everything depends on their energy and the two have more to go around that way, and everyone is thoroughly drained of it by the time it's over. Not a minute of fun is spared. "There's a lot of hot chicks here tonight!" was one example of the Rev's observations as he picked up on a variety of crowd antics including retrieving a lost expensive cell phone, to going as far as opening it and shouting out the girl's name who dropped it as she was carted off the stage after jumping onto the sacred platform with the abandon of a teen age groupie.

Larry Toering
Larry Toering

Walks of every different size, shape and color were gathered in droves to either participate, spectate or just hang out with all the great vibes while the boys ripped through a bit of everything in the Heat's catalog with the humor and energy of a raging mechanical Bull with the switch left on. With everything from the early stuff right on through “Drinking and Smokin' Cigarettes,” “Please Don't Take The Baby To The Liquor Store” and “Death Metal Guys” from their latest, enough was covered to deviate from the last show, which is never long ago. This band has one of the biggest underground followings, and they are one of the most prolific touring bands in the business. It was a fun night out with old friends and nice bumping into familiar faces about the swingin' crowd. This is a show for anyone to witness time and again, like a reliable party with reliable entertainment, a thing where the people come first but the band certainly not last. As they bring the whole opportunity with them, and proceed to do so wherever they go.

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Larry Toering
Larry Toering
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 1 at
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