The Reverend Horton Heat

The Reverend Horton Heat

with Nashville Pussy and Syrup

The House of Blues, Orlando, FL • March 29, 2002

Thanks to the horrendous traffic on Florida’s I-4, I arrived late and missed Syrup (or as The Reverend pointed out later, “in Texas they’re known as ‘Sir-up’.”) By the time I walked in, The House of Blues was packed, people already gathered close to the stage in anticipation of the second act, Nashville Pussy.

So what’s Nashville Pussy like without the Pussy? With the departure of the Amazon Corey Parks’ fire-breathing spectacle, there isn’t much left other than the same old “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” schtick that’s been done a hundred times before, and more cleverly, at that. Not that they’re not good at what they do — frontman Blaine Cartwright’s whiskey-damaged vocals and lead guitarist’s Ruyter Suys’s manic showmanship are textbook rock and roll, buoyed by the punching drums and bass of Jeremy Thompson and new girl KatieLynn Campbell. The crowd certainly enjoyed them as they tore through their energetic set, but I cringed when Blaine poured beer all over his wife Ruyter’s breasts during one of her guitar solos. Clichéd displays like this just scream “juvenile.” The problem is that I’m not 15 anymore; I’m over the lame high school antics, I want grown up rock and roll.

Nashville Pussy’s tattered brand of “Southern discomfort” seemed to be the antithesis of the suave aura of The Reverend Horton Heat. The Rev was resplendent in his black suit with pink-sequined flames, and the band delighted the crowd during the two-hour set with material from their new CD, Lucky 7, including “Suicide Doors,” “Galaxy 500,” and “Loco Gringos Like a Party,” along with traditional favorites like “Bales Of Cocaine,” “Nurture My Pig,” “It’s Martini Time,” and the crowd-pleasing shout-along, “Jimbo Song.” The enthusiastic crowd sang along and responded with screams and cheers, especially when The Rev commented on how Orlando had the “hottest girls but the ugliest guys.” “You know how I know?” he asked. “Jimbo told me.”

It wasn’t all just playful banter, though. The Rev dazzled the crowd by showing off his skillfull chops, deftly picking and strumming his way through the slow and sweaty instrumental “Duel at the Two O’clock Bell.” Jimbo Wallace has actually slapped some of the paint off of his well-worn stand-up bass with his frenetic performances, and Scott Churilla kept the set tight with his adept work behind his drum kit.

And if that wasn’t enough, the crowd was further treated to a three-song encore — “Where in the Hell Did You Go With My Toothbrush?,” which bemoans the fallout of a breakup, the frenzied and fun “Psychobilly Freakout,” and the double entendréd “Big Red Rocket of Love.” Leaving the audience sweat-soaked and exhausted, the Reverend sincerely thanked everyone for coming to the show. Anytime, Rev, even through the miserable traffic on I-4.

The Reverend Horton Heat:

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