Live music in Reno: Reverend Horton Heat Cargo Concert Hall

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Back-to-back rockabillies Reverend Horton Heat and Jimbo Wallace return to Cargo Concert Hall in Reno on Valentine’s Day.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

The last time Reverend Horton Heat flowed through Reno, barkeeps at Cargo Concert Hall had to roll in an extra supply of PBR tall-boys to quench the thirst of adoring rockabilly fans.

The lovestfest will continue on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, Feb. 14, when the reverend returns to Cargo for an all-ages show — this time in the company of Big Sandy, Voodoo Glowskulls and The Delta Bombers. Showtime is 8 p.m. and advance tickets are $18 plus fees.

Heat’s self-described “country-fed punkabilly” ain’t your pappy’s country music. Hailing from Dallas, Texas, Jim Heath has been playing his dynamic musical mix of country, punk, swing, rockabilly and more since 1985 under the moniker the Reverend Horton Heat. Mixing aggressively twangy tunes with often tongue-in-cheek lyrics, Heath is backed onstage by Jimbo Wallace (bass, vocals), and Arjuna “RJ” Contreras (drums).

The reverend delivered a “psychobilly freakout” in Reno two years ago, and no hymnals were needed. (Think Rawhide theme under the influence of peyote).

Life’s lessons were included in the 2016 sermon, including such sage advice as “Let Me Teach You  How to Eat” and the observation that “She Likes the Smell of Gasoline.” The Rev also noted “it’s a dark day for love and a cool day for pain” (some days are like that).

Over the years, the band has sold more than a million albums, the latest of which, “Rev,” was released in 2014 on Victory Records. On Nov. 30, a new album will drop: “Reverend Horton Heat, Whole New Life.”

The reverend likes to mix it up onstage, so expect musicians from supporting acts to join the revival. Robert Williams, aka Big Sandy, usually rides with His Fly-Rite Boys, a Western swing / country boogie band from California.

Voodoo Glowskulls attract a local following, having played a number of times in South Lake Tahoe. Formed in Riverside, California, the band has been serving up ska/punk sounds since 1988.

The Delta Bombers make their home in Las Vegas, so they will be sharing some of their Southern charm with Northern Nevada followers. The Bombers say they have smashed stages all over the world for 10 years, driven by a hybrid of  ’50s rock and roll fused with swampy blues, country and rockabilly. They should feel right at home in Reno.

— Randy Hashagen


About Randy Hashagen

Tahoe Onstage copy chief Randy Hashagen, a former Bay Area journalist, walked away from his career to become a crazy cab driver. He's still barnstorming, but his wing-walking days are over. Lately, he has been watching the world flow through Lake Tahoe since 2012.

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