If there was one band to credit for me finding Rockabilly and Psychobilly, it would be Reverend Horton Heat. They were the first band of the genre to grab my attention, in part, due to the humor. The Rock ‘n Roll influences combined only to add to reasons I wanted to listen to more. With that, it should come as no surprise that I aim to always catch Reverend Horton Heat when they visit Phoenix. They brought with them two other special things about this night. One, it would be the first time I catch my friend Micah drumming in the Delta Bombers. The second thing being the first time I would see the Efrem fronted Voodoo Glow Skulls.
It actually turns out that despite the name of the Delta Bombers known to me, this was the first time I have caught them live. Watching these guys perform reinforced there was a reason I’d heard their name. Their Rockabilly style has a uniqueness leaning a little to the blues and country side of the genre. They are a band that enjoys performing the songs watching the range of emotions shown as they perform.
This set had added special factor, as this is the first time I was catching Micah, drummer in Illicitor, The Quitters, and New Cold War, with his new band. This is the biggest stage I have seen him on to date showcasing his drumming talents. I’m happy to see Micah getting to take his skills to another level and the Delta Bombers are certainly a fantastic band to do it with.
Middle of the show was a different Voodoo Glow Skulls than I had seen prior. Since they last visited Phoenix, there was a changeup on lead vocals. Efrem, of Death By Stereo, has taken over that role. It creates a different energy to the band than prior. That is to be expected as his vocals and performance style will not be the same as Frank.
Speaking of his performance style, like in his other bands, Efrem loves to move and bounce around. Throughout it, you could find him on different corners of the stage to on the barrier. It reinforces what a talented front man he is. The music performed was no different from other experiences, with favorites including the “Voodoo Anthem.” It was a little adjustment for what I was used to, but it was a good performance from the latest incarnation of Voodoo Glow Skulls.
Then it was the band that I give all the credit for pointing me onto a full genre, Reverend Horton Heat. First thing of note is that Matt Jordan, who had joined them only for a couple songs the last tour, is now full time on that stage with the guys. He appears on their new album so it only make sense that his skills go full time with the Rev.
The second thing, is that they managed to find a way to play the longest set I have caught from them to date. That set, which went on for a little over an hour and a half, included performances of new tracks and older like “Let Me Teach You How To Eat.” Also, there were things I’ve come to expect in their live show, such as a Chuck Berry song where Jimbo takes over guitar and Jim Heath on his bass.
However, about thirty minutes in we had an additional mic setup and Big Sandy, of Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys, taking on lead vocals for about thirty minutes. Jim Heath introduced him as a favorite they found in their early days of touring. Big Sandy’s talent on the microphone and guitar only reinforced this endorsement. The songs he sang were Rock ‘n Roll. He was very social with those up front too, holding conversation between songs through the microphone. Incorporating him into the larger Reverend Horton Heat set was an excellent way to make sure people caught his talents. He left the stage only to return for their encore. He sang “Viva Las Vegas” and one other with them before taking a group bow. This night was a superb success, introducing me to Big Sandy, and an overall fantastic set of music from each of the bands.