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Flint’s The Machine Shop hosted Reverend Horton Heat’s “Stewed, Screwed and Tattooed” tour for their upcoming album, “25 to Life,” to be released on March 27th. Each band stood out with incredible performances, and made a Tuesday night anything but ordinary.
If you don’t feel a bit of wanderlust after seeing The Goddamn Gallows, you might not be listening hard enough. Touring at least 200 days a year, this gutterbilly band from Lansing, MI, would probably play until their fingers fell off. The Goddamn Gallows play roots-oriented trickster melodies with solid, dark beats, spirited strings that pound or twang, and a soulful harsh voice that fills your bones. Unfortunately for a good portion of their set, the sound quality was off with a lot of feedback in the monitors. Never the less The Goddamn Gallows played on with songs like, “Serafino”—bassist Fishgutzzz’s voice wonderfully rasping the title, strings with edge and a sea-menacing accordion and “7 Devils”—an eerie song with sharp beats, beckoning strings and train chugging sounds from Avery’s washboard. Their last song, “Ticket to Bleed,” was an experience itself. Larry And His Flask joined The Goddamn Gallows, taking over some instruments and adding a trombone to the growing frenzy. Set to maniacal beats with Mikey Classic’s sinister growling voice, drummer Baby Genius and Fishgutzzz literally took to the floor drumming as Avery lept to grab the ceiling pipes and hung upside down playing the washboard, one-handed. This was just the start of the show!
Larry And His Flask are like a revival for rock and roll, the rootsy soul and dancing feet—they’ve got presence. This six piece group from Redmond, OR has honed their sound and craft, taking on the art of performing with a refreshing level of extreme energy. Larry And His Flask play with strings on speed that will leave you dizzy, a double bass that seemingly takes on a life of its own, striking percussion, the intermingling of beautiful brass sounds and a tenor comparable to the wailing of Beirut. They covered Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”—a complimenting, agile string rendition with just enough soul, “Manifest Destiny”—haunting vocals sprinkled with brass beats and a voodoo blues hoedown effect, and “Beggars Will Ride”—dedicated to Reverend Horton Heat, it had a Johnny Cash style build-up with prominent banjo picking, knee slapping beats, and a sweet harmonica trill. For their final song, “Swing,” Larry And His Flask were joined by The Goddamn Gallows. As they continously played softer, Jamin Marshall requested that everyone get as close to the ground as possible, and to get up and dance on the count of four. It became a crowd of madness as people finally let themselves go to strings played faster and faster until it became a feverish blur. Larry And His Flask are not just a band that plays music, they’re a hell of an experience.
If you don’t know what psychobilly music sounds like, listen to Reverend Horton Heat’s, “Psychobilly Freakout” and it will tell you what you need to know about the music: inflamed strings with crisp, dark beats fueled with speedy aspects of country, rockabilly and punk that explode with an absurd level of fun. Reverend Horton Heat has been around for twenty-five years and are definitely classic muscians. Even before they took the stage, people started filling up every available space in anticipation. They play quality psychobilly, with an often high-pitched, squealing guitar that is the driving force, a speedily slapped upright bass with beautiful thumping beats, and rhythmic, pounding drums that tie the songs together. Add the men themselves—The Rev, Jimbo and Paul—with their laid back demenors, consistent smiles and obvious joy in playing and you have a class act. Their set included, “Baddest of the Bad”—gritty, racing music with a strumming guitar, thumping beats and ear-catching lyrics, “It’s Martini Time”—guitar strings with pluck, a smacking tempo and lounge-like effects, and a song from their upcoming album, “25 to Life” about rockabilly guys v. metal guys that resembles a psychobilly shindig with an upbeat jive. Reverend Horton Heat played a three song encore that included two worthy covers, “Ace of Spades”—guest singer with a gruff voice that ensured chaos reined and a truly solid cover of “Folsom Prison Blues.” The night ended with three intense solos by each muscian, more than proving that Reverend Horton Heat is food for the psychobilly soul.