On Feb. 25, the Tavern hosted performances by Alabama’s Red Mouth and Hattiesburg’s Him Horrison beginning at about 10 p.m. and ending at 1 a.m.
This week we took a step back from our usual punk proclivities and slipped into an old habit: the local bar culture, which isn’t necessarily a way of life but indeed a habit. The goal was namely to reconnect with Him Horrison, finding ourselves treated to more than a man with an acoustic guitar, during his last setup in Hattiesburg.
Red Mouth opened the show with several bluesy rock numbers that had the few of us in attendance grooving. Eric “Red Mouth” Gebhart’s vocals were subtle and clean, adjusted expertly in tone and volume to appropriately meet each number. The musicians played tight enough that each song came together fluidly as though to illustrate that a piece of art is a thing crafted. The songs almost became physical. Although unfamiliar with Red Mouth’s music prior, he quickly earned my respect and made my own musicianship feel a little like a joke. Furthermore, the man can dance – a stage presence reminiscent of Elvis shimmying with a guitar in hand. With him he brought what seemed to be the heart of southern blues rock.
Dictator Monthly described Gebhart as “the bastard rebel child of Lou Reed,” and it’s no wonder. Tavern frequenter Jordy Boof – bless his rock and roll soul – said he attended the event specifically to see Gebhart perform. Gebhart strikes me as the kind of musician who will craft a legacy before his clock runs out.
Him Horrison performed with a six-piece band this time, which is more than a few steps above the last time we saw him. There is a certain brilliance to the band’s employment of the sound wall, the way they shift from quiet interludes to distortion overdrive. The transitions are unified and free of chunkiness, abruptness or other discrepant technical flaws. Horrison’s guitar work soars above the rhythm section — which, might I add, is comprised of clearly seasoned musicians. There is something unspeakably magnificent about the scene Him Horrison creates, between his lipstick, the cluster of black-clad musicians behind him and the stage lights that bathe his world in neon.
The evening rounded out to be one of the nicest ones I’ve had at the Tavern. For once, I didn’t find myself threatened by uber-tattooed metal heads. It was all thanks to Horrison, who seems to attract reasonable and decent audiences.
For more information about these artists, find them on Bandcamp and Facebook.