Concert Review: Reverend Horton Heat / Unknown Hinson / Nashville Pussy / Lucky Tubb live at Knuckleheads in Kansas City 6/17/16

A tour poster for Reverend Horton Heat, Unknown Hinson, Nashville Pussy and Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours for spring 2016.

A tour poster for Reverend Horton Heat, Unknown Hinson, Nashville Pussy and Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours for spring 2016.

It was really as much a carnival as a concert. An adult carnival of course. Knuckleheads is buried deep in the train yards along the Missouri River in Kansas City and it served as a logical spot for such an event to occur. The bands on the bill serve as an interesting combination of people; hillbillies and metalheads joined by their love of live music and PBR.

The trains would coast by throughout the night and get cheers when the whistles blew as they chugged by. The balcony area of the outside portion of Knuckleheads is an excellent place to watch the trains in addition to the bands. For this larger show the side street by the honky tonk bar was barricaded off and filled with tables for overflow from the show, this proved to help the pressure in front of the stage without a doubt. The audience resembled a bike rally in most cases, many had actually driven their motorcycles. It wasn’t uncommon to see a man’s beard longer than a woman’s hair and the majority of the audience would be sporting tattoos. This goes with the crowds of these bands.

Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours would take the stage while the sun was still attempting to set. So if you are seeing this tour, be warned, it will start early. TheTroubadours throwback country set, complete with an open-mouth bass and a steel guitar, would last a half hour and prove to be a solid lead-in for the night. Tubb would hit favorites like “I’m Comin’ Home” “Heard Your Name” and “Sweet Sweet Kisses.” The four piece band would also indulge in some western swing with “Cowtown Boogie” and toward the end of their time pay tribute to Ernest Tubb with a cover of “Thanks A Lot.”

Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours play live at Knucklehead's Saloon in Kansas City, Missouri on 6/17/16.

Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours play live at Knucklehead’s Saloon in Kansas City, Missouri on 6/17/16.

How do you follow a twangy set of songs from a band? Bring on a metal band of course. Nashville Pussy took the stage to a roar and quickly got the crowd riled up with a furious version of their anthem “Come On Come On.” The band is a balding rocker in a leather vest in front of a drummer with a long greying beard flanked by two women on bass and lead guitar, making for a pretty interesting stage show. Ruyter Suys, the lead guitarist, would thrash and headband for the entire show, her curly blonde hair and low cut shirt made her a bigger star in the set than lead singer Blaine Carwright. Carwright would howl out favorites like “Pillbilly Blues” “Wrong Side of a Gun” and “Go to Hell” while playing his black flying V guitar. He would even take off his Pantera style cowboy hat and drink a beer out of it at one point. At one point during the cock-rock showcase there would be a ridiculous drum solo, but can’t we agree all drum solos are ridiculous? The show would end the same way most Nashville Pussy sets end, with a raging performance of the crowd favorite “Go Motherfucker Go.”

Nashville Pussy play live at Knucklehead's Saloon in Kansas City, Missouri on 6/17/16.

Nashville Pussy play live at Knucklehead’s Saloon in Kansas City, Missouri on 6/17/16.

Next the roadies would remove a tarp over the large lit letters spelling out “REV” indicating who would take the stage next. You might think Unknown Hinson would be up next but on this tour his set is within the Reverend Horton Heat’s set. The reality is that most people were waiting on the Rev to take the stage the whole night. The crowd would really respond well to lead guitarist and singer Jim Heath’s first picks on his signature guitar. His surfbilly style is very distinct and after over 25 years for the band is easily recognized. Heath can captivate the entire audience with his guitar runs because of his impressively fast fingers and use of distortion and whammy bar. “Psychobilly Freakout” was, as always, a fan favorite with Heath’s awkward vocals added to the largely instrumental song. “Jimbo Song” is always a fan favorite as the crowd can sing along by spelling out the bass player Jimbo Wallace’s name in a song that sounds like it could be for a Saturday Morning Cartoon.

Jim Heath of Reverend Horton Heat plays live at Knucklehead's Saloon in Kansas City, Missouri on 6/17/16.

Jim Heath of Reverend Horton Heat plays live at Knucklehead’s Saloon in Kansas City, Missouri on 6/17/16.

Halfway through the set Heath would introduce Unknown Hinson as a special guest. Reverend Horton Heat would back him as he ran through about 5 of his own songs. These tongue in cheek songs were of course well known by the crowd. He would indulge in some twangy country on “I Ain’t Afraid of Your Husband” then some hilarious balladry for “Your Man Is Gay.” He would leave the stage as the REV would continue their set. They would blast into a strong number from their latest album, titled REV, with “Let Me Teach You How To Eat.” They would also hit that record for the driving rockabilly tune “Smell of Gasoline” and the nonsensical mostly instrumental “Zombie Dumb.”

Unknown Hinson and Reverend Horton Heat play live at Knucklehead's Saloon in Kansas City, Missouri on 6/17/16.

Unknown Hinson and Reverend Horton Heat play live at Knucklehead’s Saloon in Kansas City, Missouri on 6/17/16.

Jimbo would introduce Heath by telling his love of country and sliding into a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” as it was given the rockabilly Horton Heat treatment of course. A roaring “400 Bucks” would whip the crowd into more of a frenzy than any other song on the night before Unknown Hinson would make his way to the stage again. Hinson would come out from backstage wearing leather gloves and take them off to grab his guitar, he isn’t quite as good as Heath at playing it but he definitely holds his own. Ernie Locke from the now defunct Kansas City band Tenderloin would also come out to play harp as a special guest. As a finally the band and Hinson would jam out on a long version of the Unknown Hinson song “King of Country Western Troubadours.”

A tour poster for Reverend Horton Heat, Unknown Hinson, Nashville Pussy and Lucky Tubb for spring 2016.

A tour poster for Reverend Horton Heat, Unknown Hinson, Nashville Pussy and Lucky Tubb for spring 2016.

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