Heating up Cain’s

It’s been over fifty years since Elvis Presley (and others) mixed country with rhythm and blues to create “rockabilly,” and apparently the formula works: people are still doing it – even if it often takes on other forms.

The Reverend Horton Heat, a three-piece band that has been described – according, at least, to their press releases – as the “Perpetual Carriers of the Rockabilly Flame” is virtually an American institution by now – having existed since 1985, the “psychobilly” (a mixture of rockabilly, punk rock, and a number of other things) trio has made a name for themselves in nearly every corner of the music underground.

Friday night, they’ll bring their distinctive sound to Cain’s Ballroom.

The Rev (as lead singer Jim Heath is known to his fans) is famous for putting on an electrifying live show – which one reviewer once described as “putting on a stainless steel suit and running full bore into an electric fence.” Friday night should be no different, especially with the band taking the stage at a venue described as “the birthplace of western swing” (as Cain’s mascot Bob Wills once put it: “Rock and roll? Why, man, that’s the same kind of music we’ve been playin’ since 1928!”).
But why “The Reverend?” Glad you asked. Heat(h) answers the question himself: “Well, there used to be this guy who ran this place in Deep Ellum, Texas who used to call me Horton – my last  name is Heath.  Anyway, this guy hired me and right before the show he goes, ‘Your stage name should be Reverend Horton Heat! Your music is like gospel’…and I thought it was pretty ridiculous.  So I’m up there playing and after the first few songs, people are saying, ‘Yeah, Reverend!’  What’s really funny is that this guy gave up the bar business, and actually became a preacher!  Now he comes to our shows and says, ‘Jim, you really should drop this whole Reverend thing.’”
The band released their most recent album in 2005; it’s a Christmas album, which seems somewhat bizarrely appropriate. The upshot is that the band has plenty of material to fill their December performances, making this the ideal show for anyone in the mood for some irreverent holiday music – or just longing for a couple hours of no-holds-barred rock ‘n roll.
The Reverend Horton Heat will play Cain’s Ballroom Friday, December 12th, with openers Nashville Pussy and Backyard Tire Fire. Click here for tickets.

About the author:
A graduate of the University of Nebraska, Luke Harrington currently resides in Tulsa and works in the aerospace industry–but, at any given moment, would probably rather be reviewing movies and music.  In his spare time, he’s off playing blues piano, pretending to be Assistant Editor for MovieZeal.com, or reviewing the many musical events in Northeastern Oklahoma for Tulsa Today.