On the Goe: Reverend Horton Heat and more at Mesa Theater

There is an old picture of Jim Heath at the origins of the Reverend Horton Heat. It’s a live shot of the band playing some dive in Texas.

Dressed in a tan plaid shirt, sleeves rolled up, dark blue jeans tucked into a pair of light blue cowboy boots with black inlays, Heath surfs on top of an upright double bass laid on its side. The bass player, presumably Jimbo but unclear from the picture, slaps along in a cut off Harley-Davidson T-shirt.

Heath’s blond hair is slicked back and he is clearly ripping a solo on his hollow body sunburst guitar. In the background, a lone cowboy hat sits on top of a stack of Peavey amps.

Part punk, part rock, part country, it’s an image of a young but fully-realized band already focused on the direction they want to go. The show production value has changed over the years but not the showmanship. The bass surf seen in this old picture is still something the Rev. works into its shows.

The Reverend Horton Heat always had style and clear love for music. From Texas all the way up north to Washington, the band will play 17 shows in just over a month. You only do that if you are a) crazy and b) love what you do. The Rev. is both.

On Friday night, Jan. 25, that swagger and style will take the stage at Mesa Theater and Lounge.

“Reverend Horton Heat is great. He plays the music he believes in. Nothing else.” says Lemmy, lead vocalist and bassist of Motorhead.

It would be a mistake to pigeonhole the Rev. as rockabilly, psychobilly, hillbilly or whatever. From Heath’s own mouth: the band members are students of rock history, an original American rock ‘n’ roll band influenced on the heyday of rock ‘n’ roll from the ‘40s to mid-‘60s. It’s part surf rock, ‘60s garage rock, country and a little punk attitude.

What really separates the group from similar sounding bands is the song writing. Musically, the band is true to its influences and Heath is quite the guitarist. Pair that with lyrics that can be a little ridiculous and often funny, and you’ve really got something to which fans will respond.

On opening duty for the Rev. in Grand Junction is the dirty punk rock ‘n’ roll outfit from Denver, Reno Divorce, and Grand Junction’s own Shotgun Hodown.

I caught up with Rob Woltjer, the band’s vocalist, guitarist, electric washboard player and accordionist, and he promises a fun night.

Shotgun Hodown has been busy writing new material, some of which they will play tonight.

One of the new songs is called “Chicken and Whiskey.”

“We will hand out cold fried chicken, and whiskey shots will be on special before the song,” Rob said.

Shotgun Hodown has added a banjo to part of its set. In case you’re keeping count, that would make for about 15 different instruments the five-piece band plays at its live shows.

Personally, I’m excited for the psychedelic outlaw rock band Shotgun Hodown. Playing Friday night with the Rev. is a great opportunity to showcase its music in front of a larger audience. Since 2006, the band has been touring and playing as much as possible. Shotgun Hodown has put in its dues and it’s nice to see the band play with the Rev.

Hot rods, hand tats, Chuck Taylors, neck tats, pomade, switch blades, chain wallets and wayfarers. Ringer T’s, 501s, motorcycles, bandannas and button beanies. Pinstripes, reverb, bolo ties, tremolo, chrome and grit.

Friday night will be equal parts style and substance. Three bands, one legend, we’ll rock around the clock.

Read more from David Goe at the Music on the Goe blog at GJSentinel.com. Goe is a programmer for KAFM 88.1 Community Radio. His show airs at 9 p.m. the first Friday and first Saturday of each month. You can email Goe at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow him on Twitter at @David_Goe.


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