Saturday, April 28, 2012

Reverend Horton Heat @ Opera House (live review)

I never though this day would come.  After seeing the Reverend Horton Heat somewhere in the double digits over the course of 18 years I had always come away thinking I had just seen one of the most energetic and fun live acts out there.

That certainly wasn't the case when I left last night's jam-packed gig at the Opera House in Toronto however.  Instead of a balls-out rockabilly performance, we got a trio who were more or less phoning it in.

Excruciatingly long pauses between number destroyed any sort of flow or momentum.  The stage antics, which used to be endearing and fun, now come across as forced and stale.

Even the set list was uninspired.  The band did the same one-song-from-every-record gimmick they did on their last swing through town, followed by the painful 'what do you want to hear' soliciting of request.

Sure, songs like "Bales of Cocaine", "Baddest Of The Bad", and "$400" are still fantastic live sing-alongs, but the needlessly long jamming and lulls made it seem like the good ol' Rev was just stalling for time.

Veteran Canadian punk act The Real McKenzies set the table.  It was a solid, if unspectacular outing from the bekilted boys.

The big winners on the night were the first band on, Montreal's The Brains.  I knew nothing of the band heading in, but they put on an engaging ghoulish rockabilly/punk show that really connected with the audience.  A strong rhythm section and catchy songs made up for rather weak guitar playing.  They were definitely the highlight of the night.


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