Sunday, December 02, 2012

X; The Reverend Horton Heat @ Irving Plaza

X; The Reverend Horton Heat; Not in the Face
@ Irving Plaza
New York, NY - November 30, 2012

Two bands that immediately come to mind when I think of shaping my sensibilities about rock n' roll are X and the Reverend Horton Heat. But beyond that, the pomade, and the same love of punkabilly speed, there isn't really any way to find a tie between them except that of course it would make a perfect dream bill if they played together. And so here we are.

The aforementioned speed and the riffs are the most obvious ties but the songwriting matters more with these punks than your average ones. You already know this to be the case with X. John and Exene's post-beat poetry, in their own melodies, set against Billy and DJ's rock n' roll fury,  carried the X signature. But the words of Horton, perhaps more surprising, matter just as much to their songs. Occasionally subversive and winking, often times honest and sincere, Mr. Heath doesn't even walk a line of some kind. And with JIMBO on the unrelenting upright, that's just about all you need right there.

Somehow it worked out that in all these years I've only seen the Rev once before while I've seen X many times. So then I don't feel guilty that my excitement seemed to have built more and peaked more for the Rev. Going through one song from each of their records - and to my amazement, it dawned me that I actually owned all the records and knew every song they played - Horton did the equivalent of "playing all the hits" as part of a slapdash 25 year retrospective. It was incredible.

X in turn now look on 35-plus years of existence and also do the equivalent of "playing all the hits" to a devoted following of peers and rock n' roll children of other parents. Wiser than their years 35 years ago, and wiser still now, that makes them cooler than you...still. There was also a very happy vibe to the set, not something unfamiliar to an X show, but not something always as obvious. Exene and the band have good reasons to be so happy and it makes us happy too.

Between X and the Rev, a phrase churns in the coconut: Happy punks. Good lord, who knew?

Meanwhile, opening act Not in the Face didn't slouch. These Austin kids put on a wallop - even their Kings of Leon-style ballads were satisfactory. But their prime delivery was the three chord goodness - especially covers of "Ain't That A Shame" and "20th Century Boy", the latter of which it has been scientifically proven changes the chemistry of bodies (for the better) in the presence of the opening riff.


At December 4, 2012 at 12:34:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not In The Face!! That band rulzz!


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