What year is it? I honestly started to question that as soon as the show started on Wednesday night. From the sounds radiating off of the stage to the people who had gotten all dolled up for the occasion, it felt like I had entered a completely different universe. It may have taken me a hot minute to warm up to it all but, by the end of the night, I never wanted to leave.
Kinda Fonda Wanda was the one and only opener of the Wednesday night show but that’s honestly all the audience needed. A “rock n’ roll honky-tonk” inspired by Wanda Jackson, I was instantly stuck in the palm of vocalist Amanda White. First, it was her outfit. She looked absolutely adorable with her pin-up girl green dyed hair curled just in front of her hat all the way down to the sparkly clogs on her feet. I instantly wanted to be her and that was before she even started performing.
Full disclosure, I knew nothing about Wanda Jackson but, as mentioned, that is the inspiration behind Kinda Fonda Wanda. Well, Wanda Jackson, Elvis, Johnny Cash– the list goes on and on of musicians that I have heard of but never really took the time to dig into. It’s clear that Amanda and the rest of her amazing band have taken the time to dig into these musicians both their music and mannerisms. Like I mentioned, watching them perform somehow transported me into another time. Musically, the sound was definitely a bit more country than I tend to go but the band performed with such a ferocious sense of attitude and energy that I quickly became sold on the sound. Add in the dancing “strollerettes” (the cutest group of women I’ve ever seen that took to the stage to dance along for a couple of songs) and the way that the smile never left any of the band member’s faces throughout the set and you were left with a truly stunning opening set.
My first time seeing the headliner, The Reverend Horton Heat, was just in October of last year. I remember the anticipation I had felt that night knowing that I was about to see an absolute legend and even though that was just a couple of months ago, I felt that excitement take me over again on Wednesday night as the stage was set for the trio.
I went into the history of The Reverend Horton Heat last time I wrote about him so I promise to not dig into that that much but, long story short: The Reverend Horton is the stage name of James C. Heath. At 64 years old, James remains the godfather of modern rockabilly and psychobilly with nobody even coming close to the amount of influence he has had. Okay, maybe that’s my own bias showing but it’s true. James is an absolute legend and although I may not listen to his music on a daily basis, I will never pass up an opportunity to see this treasure play live.
Before he even hit the stage, he could be seen standing on the side of it watching the final few tracks from Kinda Fonda Wanda. As people started to notice him, you saw more and more people trying to wave at him and just point him out to whoever they were there with. It was a super cute moment solely because I feel like that really doesn’t happen at shows up here in the Twin Cities. Minnesota nice is really a real thing and I feel like musicians can often be found just wandering around venues before and after their sets without being bothered or even noticed for that matter. The fact that people were noticing James and pointing him out truly tells you how big of a deal this man is.
Once on the stage, James let his music do the talking. With the help of his longtime bassist Jimbo Wallace and then Jonathan Jeter on the drums, the trio continued to let the audience just get lost in the sounds of a different time the same way Kinda Fonda Wanda had. Although it was fun to hear the vocals and following along with the words, I found myself completely enamored by watching James play the guitar. Being up close and personal to such a talent will leave you lost for words and although I took a million notes as I stood there, reading them now means very little to me because words just can not do it justice.
Sub Pop Records recently re-released The Reverend Horton Heat’s first three albums which seems to have stirred up a new obsession with this group among younger generations but it was clear from the audience last night that there has never been a moment when this trio wasn’t relevant. Regardless of what age the audience member was, everyone had their eyes glued to the stage and would roar with applause at the end of every track. It was clear that we were watching a legend and the audience treated the performance as such while still keeping the air fresh and fun instead of stuffy. All of these things plus the timeless music floating the air made the show one of those shows that won’t be forgotten about anytime soon by anyone who was in attendance.
Sure, it was a bit of a time-warp inside the Fine Line on Wednesday night but it made an atmosphere that was truly hard to leave when it was time to head home.
Venue: The Fine Line
Average Age of the Crowd: 42
Crowd Surfers- None
Stage Divers- 0
Mosh-ability- 2 out of 10
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- $0
Broken Bones- None
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Fights- None Witnessed
Passed Out Kids- 0
Idiots Taken Out By Security – 2
How Irritated I Was With The Audience – 0 out of 10
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-
Kinda Fonda Wanda– 0
The Reverend Horton Heat– 1
Celebrity Sightings – None
Overall Score – 8.4 out of 10
Show on Deck — So What?! Music Festival
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