Reverend Horton Heat / Unknown Hinson / Nashville Pussy / Igor and Red Elvises @ Bogart’s, Cincinnati, OH

Words and pictures by Duane Clawson
"Well, we're off, we're off, we're off! It's, it's, it's a psychobilly freakout!" – Reverend Horton Heat, "Psychobilly Freakout"

How fitting is it that I cover this show?  Very fitting because five years ago Reverend Horton Heat was the first show I covered for MTC.  So, Happy 5th Anniversary to me!  What’s even cooler than getting to cover the Reverend again was the fact that I got to see this show in my home state, in a venue I’ve never been to.  Just walking to Bogart’s, you get the feeling this is a venue that has seen some great musical moments (U2, Beastie Boys, and James Brown to name a few) during their 40-year history.  Tonight would be no exception to this club’s great history.

Igor and Red Elvises have a history of their own, a 21-year history to be exact.  I’ve seen them named on show bills in St. Louis and the name alone has intrigued me.  After seeing their show, I’m still intrigued.  Formed in 1995 by Igor Yuzov, the Red Elvises played Siberian Surf Rock in Santa Monica, CA and shortly became a local favorite.  Igor and his band are big fun to watch.  From Igor’s zebra, leopard-print silk pajama suit, to the bass players’ silver KISS boots, my eyes were continuously scanning the stage to take it all in.  Igor and his crew were a great beginning to this night of rock and roll fun and frivolity!

Nashville Pussy were the next piece in this mishmash of melodic mutiny.  Nashville Pussy, like the Red Elvises, are no strangers to band longevity.  Forming in 1997 from the ashes of southern punk band, Nine Pound Hammer, Nashville Pussy has continued that hard and heavy tradition.  Songs about booze, sex, and fighting are abound in their repertoire and are fiercely entertaining.  Guitarist Ruyter Suys and husband Blaine Cartwright play it loud and dirty and connect onstage as few can.  Suys plays the part of rock star to the hilt:  kicking, snarling, and eventually tearing the strings off of her well-worn Gibson SG during the band’s closing number, “Go Motherfucker Go”, a rousing, whiskey-fueled tribute to Motorhead’s fallen leader, Lemmy.

It took a bit but in the end I finally put it all together, the previous bands were there for a reason.  The reason was both bands were everything that the Reverend Horton Heat has been throughout their 30-plus year career.   As with every Reverend show I have attended, there is always a mixed bag in the setlist.  Tonight’s show found the good Reverend pulling out songs that were buried deep in his extensive catalog.  The Rev hits the stage in a vintage suit, custom Gretsch guitar, and that ever-present Jim Heath smile.  For those that don’t know, Jim Heath is the Reverend’s real name.  Not afraid to take risks, the Reverend chooses to open the show with an instrumental, “Big Sky”. What might have been risky for some, but the Rev pulls it off perfectly!  This opening also establishes that Jim Heath is a damn fine guitar player.  As the opening song is winding down, I’m wondering, “hey, wasn’t Unknown Hinson supposed to be here?”  Longtime Reverend Horton Heat band member and upright bass player, Jimbo Wallace, shows he’s not just a one trick pony as trades his signature instrument for Heath’s guitar during an enthusiastic version of Chuck Berry’s, “Little Queenie”.

Finally, midway through the set, we have an Unknown Hinson sighting.  The Reverend introduces Hinson as someone whose guitar playing scared the hell out him.  Hinson proceeded to astound those in attendance with his stellar, country-fried guitar playing.  Getting to witness Hinson live was a treat but his placement in the show was a bit awkward and somewhat interrupted the flow of the show. Attempting to get the show back on track the Rev blazes through, “400 Bucks”, “Smell of Gasoline”, and “Folsom Prison Blues”.  After a 4 ½ rock and roll onslaught the Rev calls Hinson back to the stage to finish with Hinson’s, “King of the Country Western Troubadours”.  Country Troubadours?  Probably not.  Psychobilly troubadours?  Yes they are.  Thanks to Bogart’s for the hospitality and to the Reverend’s management for letting MTC cover the show.  And a big thank you to MTC for keeping me around for 5 years!  Photos of the show are below:

Igor and Red Elvises
 Nashville Pussy
Reverend Horton Heat
Contributed by Duane Clawson
Reverend Horton Heat / Unknown Hinson / Nashville Pussy / Igor and Red Elvises @ Bogart’s, Cincinnati, OH Reverend Horton Heat / Unknown Hinson / Nashville Pussy / Igor and Red Elvises @ Bogart’s, Cincinnati, OH Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on February 17, 2016 Rating: 5
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