A truly legendary front man and a front man who -- at least for now -- just calls himself legendary will share a Steamboat Springs stage Monday night.
The Reverend Horton Heat, led by veteran Texas roadhouse guitar-slinger Jim "The Rev" Heath, headlines a show at Levelz that will open with Th' Legendary Shack*Shakers, a rockabilly "southern Gothic" band featuring rail-thin blues-harpist J.D. Wilkes.
While the Reverend has been barnstorming across the country with his band for more than 15 years, long-since etching his name in stone as one of the grittiest, greasiest rockers to rip up a stage, throw down drinks and tear into a microphone, Wilkes burst onto the music scene just three years ago in the back alleys and dive bars of Nashville.
"I think it's cool we've lasted this long," Heath said in a news release. "People still come out to see us play after all these years and all the shows and tours. It's amazing. I mean, I get to sing songs about cars I love, drinking and chasing girls."
Wilkes cuts a much more feral, youngblood-type style in his interviews.
"We try to tap into basic primal instincts," Wilkes has said. "Rock 'n' roll is a cathartic release. Anything that doesn't realize that bestial nature isn't rock 'n' roll."
By many accounts, "bestial" is a fitting word for Wilkes. A December review in "The Nashville Scene" describes the bespectacled, hyperactive singer as a "meth-addled Pentecostal preacher, all fire and brimstone, taunting the front row of the audience, spewing sweat and spit and writhing on the floor like a Bible Belt Iggy Pop."
A recent review from England says the song "Iron Lung Oompah," on the band's February release "Pandelirium," is "a steamhammer polka that sounds like a regiment of Cossacks liberating a vodka factory."
Listening to the album and recalling what I know about drunken Cossack regiments, that description seems darn accurate. "Pandelirium" is the kind of music that makes you bounce on the seat of your car, bang your hands on the steering wheel and realize that on stage, this band must be truly freakin' nuts.
And the Shack*Shakers are opening for the almighty Reverend, for crying out loud. Checking your coat will be a must at this show -- it's gonna be sweaty.
Before coming to Steam--boat, the two bands play in Boulder tonight and in Fort Collins on Sunday.
¤ Reverend Horton Heat, with Th' Legendary Shack*Shakers ¤ Monday night, doors at 9 p.m. show at 10 p.m. ¤ Levelz at Ski Time Square ¤ $18 in advance at All That Jazz and Lupo's Reverend Horton Heat Jim Heath (aka The Rev): guitar, vocals Jimbo Wallace: upright bass Scott Churilla: drums Th' Legendary Shack*Shakers J.D. Wilkes: vocals, harmonica Mark Robertson: upright bass David Lee: guitar