Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reverend Horton Heat “Psychobilly Freakout”

All Time Top Five Songs that shouldn’t make me cry, but do . . .

I can’t say that this song makes me cry every time I hear it. But it did make me cry on one very memorable occasion.

I had gone to The Warped Tour on a hot, late-90s summer day. The ticket said it was being held at RFK stadium, but what they meant was, the concert was in the parking lot outside the stadium. There were a half-dozen stages featuring various levels of punk and punk-offshoot acts, running all day long.

I was already a big fan of The Reverend Horton Heat, but this was the first time seeing them live.

As I expected, the show started off fast, and funny, and tight, and up to my high expectations.

Then they launched into “Psychobilly Freakout,” which is basically a rockabilly instrumental which builds to a crescendo, punctuated by the Rev screaming “It’s A Psychobilly Freakout!” followed by a machine-gun drum-fill and a relaunch into the song.

After a few go-rounds of this, The Reverend starts “preaching,” telling a story of a woman, and his temptation by her. The drums and the bass dig into a groove, rising and falling with his tale.

The story gets faster, more urgent, as the Reverend describes his base urges over-coming him, as his ability to resist becomes weaker, and the woman reveals herself to be the devil incarnate and when the Reverend tries to cast the demon out of his trailer she suddenly grows 50 feet taller, demanding that the Reverend succumb to his passion and as the music builds to a fever pitch and the breaking point of the story has almost been reached the music stops abruptly and the Reverend screams:


The drums thunder, the amps roar and I swear to you that I gasped and burst into tears, in that spontaneous way one might if you suddenly someone you thought was long-dead walked through your front door with an armload of Christmas presents for you.

I didn’t sob for hours or anything.

But I had become so sucked in by the storytelling, that when he screamed and brought the song back, it caught me so joyfully off-guard, I don’t think my emotional brain knew what to do.

So I cried.

Seems kind of silly if you listen to the album cut. But see him live, and you may just have a visceral experience.

Hear the whole song:

From time to time on Every Day I Write The Blog, I do a week’s worth of my five favorite songs on theme. For the All Time Top Five rules, see this previous post.

No comments:

Post a Comment