RECAP: The Reverend Horton Heat’s Holiday Hayride — A Very Rockabilly Christmas
The Reverend Horton Heat brought a very jolly group of rock stars to a relatively new club called Skyloft in Albany, New York, and truly played an incredible show. Called Horton’s Holiday Hayride, the all-star lineup, expert musicianship, and energy from the bands on the stage was unlike anything Albany has seen in a really long time.
First up, straight out of the movie Kill Bill and here in the US from all the way in Japan, I finally got to check an item off my bucket list and watch the ladies from The 188.8.131.52s rock everyone’s socks off. Of course, they played the iconic track from the movie, but it was far from the most interesting song I watched them perform.
These ladies, with their beehive hairdos and total mastery of their craft, were one of the many highlights of the evening for me. The 184.108.40.206’s are quirky and delightful in the best possible way and they back up their unique look with tunes that you want to listen to over and over again. After seeing them live, I completely understand why Quentin Tarantino needed this band for his film — their unique style and sound are absolutely unmatched.
Voodoo Glow Skulls
Second, the Voodoo Glow Skulls took the stage, and it was certainly a blast from the past for many of us in the audience. Hailing from punk rock hotbed Riverside, California, and touring since 1988, while this band is certainly aging, you can’t tell by watching them perform.
The Voodoo Glow Skulls delivered a high-energy set of delicious hard-core punk and ska music — both in English as well as a few tracks in Spanish. At one point, lead singer Frank Casillas pulled the most punk rock move ever and left the stage to walk around in the crowd. It didn’t matter that he didn’t have a cordless mic as the aging punk rockers in the crowd lined up to hold the cord as he traveled the club, at one point dancing on the bar to everyone’s delight.
The Reverend Horton Heat
Finally, it was time for the man of the hour to take the stage — The Reverend Horton Heat aka Jim Heath. Now, while I had heard this band’s recordings for decades, last night was the first time I got to see them live and I was absolutely blown away by the mastery each band member on stage had over their instruments as well as the crowd.
Playing a set of familiar Christmas tunes performed in the Reverend’s signature style, and interspersed with old-school favorites like Psychobilly Freakout, they kept nearly every aging punk rocker in the crowd on their feet for the duration of the show, including myself. Dave Alvin joined the band for several bluesy and wonderful songs and it was easy to tell that Heath really enjoyed having him up there.
Overall, Horton’s Holiday Hayride was hands down one of the most enjoyable nights of live music I have been to in quite some time. If you’re not a fan of holiday music, well, all I can say is that you haven’t heard it done in the Reverend’s signature style. On tour until the end of the month, maybe they are coming to a town near you — check out their schedule here.