Reverend Horton Heat at the Majestic in Detroit, MI

The mighty Reverend Horton Heat brings his 2019 Holiday Hayride to the heat the hearts of the Motor City.

The holiday season has arrived, and with it comes the juke-jivin’, sock hoppin’, and guitar singing installment of the mighty Reverend Horton Heat‘s 2019 Holiday Hayride. Gentleman Jim Heath, the Clark Kent behind his alter ego, guitar hero Reverend Horton Heat, has prepared a yuletide surprise with some holiday heat that is hot enough to melt yer little snowballs off. He has brought with him a smokin’ list of 20 plus psychobilly and Christmas classics. Annnd he has brought “Le Crew” of bass slappin’, hand clappin’, and snow boot stompin’ rompin’ rockabilly’s to blow the doors off the mighty Majestic of Motown for one sold-out night of Merry Melodies. This particularly cold and blustery Saturday night marks yet another “Winter Weather Travel Advisory” for the entire state of Michigan. This is of no matter to the true Michigander, as evident by the sold-out status displayed at the venue’s box office. Thousands have trekked across the urban tundras tonight, to spend a magical night  with the godfather of rockabilly, and his special blend of holiday recipes, ready to be served to this diverse crowd. Here you find the young and the old, male and female, the tattooed and greased, and all members of the Reverend’s congregation, eagerly awaiting this evening’s sermon.  
10:30pm and our stage is set with the implements of a greaser-style/rockabilly Christmas, including a drum riser adorned with chrome Christmas trees and a vintage boardwalk-style sign that says “REV” in bright light bulbs. 10:46pm and “Gentleman” Jim Heath takes the stage adorned in a most classic red sequined sport coat that fires kaleidoscopic light rays back at the crowd. He shoots a boyish grin to the audience and his alter ego the Reverend Horton Heat now stands in his place. The crowd is electrified and fills the venue with holiday hoots and hollers. The Rev, now cradling his beloved Gretsch 6120, extends a hand of greeting to the mighty Motown, as his posse falls in behind him. The night starts with a recognizable classic “We Three Kings,” and serves as an appropriate hors d’oeuvre for the holiday feast to come. The mood and energy changes as the simple words “Psychobilly Freakout,” come across the microphone. Vintage amps rip to life, melting ears nearest the stage with the oh so sweet buttery goodness of that classic Gretsch tone. The night has just changed gears are the crowd is ready, reciprocating with an impromptu psychobilly bump and mosh pit. 
Next up, the Reverend digs deep into our childhood memories as he presents his twist to the Rankin and Bass/Burl Ives tune “Silver and Gold.” He pauses to comment that “Rankin and Bass have taught us that there is more to Christmas than just getting drunk and watching your friends do stupid things… in fact, they have taught us that the true meaning of Christmas is that Sasquatch is real!” In the meantime, a massive 20-foot “Bumble” is inflated behind the band and takes his place towering over the stage as the band leads into another Burl Ives/RB classic “Holly Jolly Christmas.” “Big Red Rocket Of Love” pops next, and bass master and long-time comrade, “Smilin” Jimbo Wallace steps center stage. His iconic smackings and crackings belt from the belly of his beast as he lays her down on the floor while playing. The Rev approaches, and mounts the beast, standing atop like a Gretsch-wielding Viking that has run-ashore in unconquered lands. Drummer Arjuna Contreras pounds out the backbeat and keeps the groove tight and in the pocket as the night presses on. A dramatic blackout ensues…
The band returns with a quick change-up, and gives us a smiley version of “Run Run Rudolph,” followed by the humorous “Manopause Is Coming To Town.” Special guest, Dave Alvin takes to the stage and pleases the crowd with “So Long Baby Goodbye,” “You’ve Changed,” “Haley’s Comet,” and “Johnny Ace Is Dead.” The fans are electrified as a grinding version of “Long White Cadillac” bowls over the front rows. Back to the Christmas theme with a classic version of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and a crooning cover of “Silver Bells.” The Rev makes a powerful statement with an end note of “Galaxy 500.”   Or did he….?  The band takes the stage for the last time to serve up a double dish encore of “Viva Las Vegas,” (made famous by Elvis Presley) and a most memorable performance of the legendary Christmas tune “Santa Clause Is Coming To Town.”
The Reverend Horton Heat’s 2019 Holiday Hayride Tour comes as a highly recommended and must-see concert experience. Festive, fast-paced, good fun and positive vibes will provide you with the warmest of holiday memories for years to come. The Rev and crew are on tour now, so get off the couch and get on down to the Hayride. Details and concert dates can be found on the band’s official website.
About Jay Dunbar 53 Articles
Jay Dunbar is a professional photographer that enjoys wearing a multitude of hats. He is active in the commercial and stock photography arenas and currently owns and operates a Detroit based investigations firm and photography agency. Despite his many endeavors, Jay can frequently be found in attendance at your favorite concert venues, capturing breathtaking images of live performances of many genres of music. A skilled author and photographer, he could be described as a " Serial Music Journalist." Carrying the photo bug for nearly thirty years, Jay enjoys all styles of photography, testing new gear, and helping aspiring photographers, artists and models to develop their skills and learn their craft.