Moonfest: Reverend Horton Heat

Published on October 22nd, 2013


For the sake of honesty, I’m going to come clean and say what many of you have already been thinking. Sometimes the crowd out at a local show can be chock-full of weirdos. Nice weirdos. Educated weirdos. But weirdos all the same. And then there’s Moonfest. The annual Halloween block party madness hosted by Rodney Mayo and his Sub-Culture crew encourages you to let out your inner weirdo, dress up as somebody entirely different, and get down to some live tunes. Now going into its 21st year, Moonfest built the template for South Florida’s biggest costume party, then tore it to shreds and built a better one.

Ghosts of Moonfest past may tell you things sometimes got a little out of hand. Free admission and lax barriers to entry meant the wrong people got in and sometimes ruined it for the rest of us. So the powers that be went back to the drawing board and emerged with a new game plan. Now with a paltry entry fee ($10), gates around the entire Clematis Street perimeter, and a strict 21+ age restriction, Moonfest has reinvented itself as the ultimate Halloween party. If you’ve got some extra cash, the VIP lounge ($50) is a wise investment with open bar and delicious grub. But either way, Mayo promises this year’s event will be “fun and safe.”

The savvy party partaker looks to Moonfest as a ghoulish live music zone, making this year’s “Dead Rockstars” theme spot on. The lineup is stacked with twenty-five performers on three different stages up and down Clematis to support them. Great local bands will wow you, no tricks in sight, but it’s the headliner who is giving us the real treat. The Reverend Horton Heat is leading the charge this year with a unique brand of sound perfect for the Moonfest nightwalkers.

Rocking out for nearly three decades, Reverend Horton Heat serves as the long standing nickname of the group’s lead singer Jim Heath as well as the name of the trio, Jimbo Wallace on upright bass and Scott Churilla on drums. If you couldn’t piece it together, Heath isn’t really a reverend. He is a rock star in the truest sense of the word.

Touring for basically ever as a self described ‘psychobilly’ band of superbly talented musicians, the Heat have achieved cult status for their fast paced tunes, LOL lyrics and high energy live shows. Ok, but what is psychobilly? It’s rockabilliy meets metal. It’s surf rock meets hardcore. It’s country dressed up as Gwar for Halloween. It’s something you need to see or hear to fully comprehend.

Based out of Dallas, TX, the trio have made a name for themselves through rambunctious shows around the world, but it’s their premiere musicianship that hypnotizes first-time show goers into full blown Heat fanatics. With songs featured on every possible media medium, including the likes of True Blood and Guitar Hero (back when that sort of mattered), the band has emerged as a leader, not only in their sound-twisting niche genre, but in getting a crowd on your side and keeping them there.

The Reverend Horton Heat ooze the true spirit of rock and roll, the kind of songs and licks that keep music interesting. 2012’s documentary meets concert flick “25 to Life” showed Heath in his raw form backstage before he dresses up as his delightful alter ego. Newly signed to Victory Records, Heat will be releasing their first album in four years next year on January 21st. Their eleventh release overall, it looks like the timing of this record and tour, along with the help of the new label, are setting them up to be bigger than ever.

And that’s exactly why we are so very fortunate to have these true purveyors of rock directly in our faces as part of the masterful Moonfest magnificence. For a mere $10, you will be blown away. It’s a sure-fire guarantee. If for some deranged reason, you still need more evidence before stepping into this street-wide Halloween paradise, we’re happy to oblige…

There will be live music aplenty to tickle any existing fancy. Bands like Miami’s Gold Dust Lounge will be complimenting the Heat with some surf rock goodness, and others will mix it up like Fort Lauderdale’s melodic rockers Sweet Bronco. South Florida ska legends The Hard Richards will be on hand to melt some faces as well as West Palm kings of “good time reggae” Spred The Dub and countless others.

Your resistance is futile. It’s time to give into Moonfest. Choose your costume, leave your worldly worries at the gate, and float into the Halloween of your dreams. The ghost of Moonfest future just rang and said he lost his car keys dancing madly. You should have heard the party in the background. Better yet, check it for yourself.

Moonfest 2013: October 26th at 7pm on Clematis Street
$10 General Admission, $50 for VIP   |
~Dana Krangel

Reverend Horton Heat w. Gold Dust Lounge, Wake Up, Sweet Bronco, The People Upstairs, Campeona, Hard Richards, Luna Rex, The Lovers Key, Lahinch Mob, Karina & The Infinite, Spred the Dub, Prizm, Grow, Beat Thief inc. feat Morgan Jay, Duncan Beatz, dj HiGrade, Dro-Matik, Lo-IQ, Robotic, One3, Deep Therapy, Shayne Pilpel, Myopic, Mason G, Mark Kincaid