“This is the most crowded I’ve ever seen Headliner’s,” a girl shouted to me as the opening act, “Larry & His Flask” seriously revved up to wind their show down. She wasn’t far from wrong – Headliner’s was almost at capacity with some of Louisville’s rowdiest to see The Reverend Horton Heat with special guests “The Goddamn Hallows”, and “Larry & His Flask” who gave a serious foot-stompin’, soul scratchin’ sermon of unholy loudness.
This past Tursday, March 8th, service was held by Heat and friends on their "Stewed, Screwed, & Tattooed" tour.
I arrived at the tail end of “The Goddamn Gallows” and was then blown away by “Larry & His Flask”, the second opening act. In actuality I do not know how may members of the ‘Larry’ there were, all playing like an Appalachian jug band on crack. At one point I counted over ten performers on stage including a horn section, wash board, stand up bass, the frontman who played his drums standing up shirtless, and of course a man in a coyote mask playing anything he wanted. The bedlam on stage was surpassed by the musicianship – “Larry & His Flask” (and coyote) are well worth the listen and will not be the opening for long.
The Reverend finally took to the stage with an extended version of “Psychobilly Freakout”, and the crowd went juicy for the trio. In a demonstration of their longevity, the group began to play just one song from each of their albums in chronological order. Almost as if an audible scrapbook, before each song, Heat would announce what number album they were on and which song from that phase in their enormous catalog they were going to play.
After a rowdy version of “It’s Martini Time”, the Reverend introduced a song from their 1998 album ‘Space Heater’ explaining that although it was recognized widely by critics as their worst effort to date, “it’s probably because none of those ‘reviewers and critics’ ever played in a band…and if they did, it wasn’t a very good one.”
The Reverend has a nearly endless touring ethic and a sound born of country, punk, surf, swing and good ol' fashioned rock & roll with a following to match a description of the same. They have a musical style that’s equally as rooted in Southern tradition as it is in breaking it, and their ‘flock’ follow with almost religious zeal as their appeal lies somewhere between a reckless mosh-pit and tent revival, where the space between audience and performer almost disappear.
The night at Headliners was filled with country-heavy tunes about bad habits, well-intentioned mistakes, over-filled and over-spilled beer-guts, loveless loved ones, and of course, getting stewed, screwed and tattooed Texas-style, in Louisivlle.
(Photo by Kit Helton)