This is part of a series of reviews on weekly events at local bars. Having lived in the Valley my whole life, I only recently realized that tons of bars offer weekly events featuring bands that are staples of the music community. The shows are nearly always free, and the bands are nearly always among the best and most seasoned in their styles. We're going to review them all...
The show: Psychobilly Rodeo Band at The Rusty Spur Saloon
The look: Like a small town bar, but with suburban people inside.
The smell: Leather and air conditioning.
The taste: Sweet and bitter - like a mixture of perfumed skin and cigarettes.
Three words/phrases to describe the night: Cowboy hats, high heels, lipstick.
Who to bring with you: A good drinking buddy
Drink of the night: Miller Lite (Note: This category is not for my choice drink. Personally, I don't believe in light beer. It's against all that I stand for. Rather, this designation belongs to the drink that either best represents the evening and/or is the most ubiquitous drink of the night.)
Normally I'm averse to anything in Old Town Scottsdale, but somehow a country bar has a certain down-homeness that helps put my blue-collar self at ease.
The reality is that the clientele at The Rusty Spur Saloon appeared to be a healthy mix of the working-class and Scottsdale socialites. While some of the patrons seemed like real country fans, some appeared to be there for the novelty of it.
The bar was decorated like that of so many small town watering holes. The tiny room had a stage nestled in the corner raised up about a foot off of the ground. The primary source of lighting came from domestic beer lights. Tables, chairs, and barstools were packed in tight. Nearly every square inch of wall space was covered with license plates, (mostly from Arizona) and $1 bills with the names and hometowns of their former owners scribbled on in magic marker.
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The folks were friendly, and though I sadly stuck out like a sore thumb, what with a large camera slung around the back of my neck and all, a lot of the customers seemed like regulars, and no one hesitated to ask me who I was and why I was there with a bulky photographic device.
This included Psychobilly Rodeo Band front man Jimmy Hornick. After just a quick introduction at the set break Jimmy was telling me about how his four-piece band had opened for Dierks Bentley, and explaining with pride that he owns a guitar signed by a slew of notable country legends. It is this kind of random chat that makes country bars/musicians/fans so endearing. There is an unpretentious nature to small country shows that can't be replicated in many venues. While off stage Hornick humbly talked about his family (his son is currently serving in Iraq) on stage he was anything buy coy.
The Psychobilly Rodeo Band also isn't afraid to rile the crowd and change the occasional lyric to be about boobies. (At one point during the night Jimmy even half-jokingly asked the gals in attendance to flash.) They also did a cover of "The Pussy Cat Song" which includes a boatload of double entendres about a girl and her, um, cat. Their antics are mixed with sarcasm, and there is a blinking light-up sign on the front of the stage that said something to the effect of, "Fucking tip the band." Psychobilly Rodeo Band is a slightly misleading name, as the band plays mostly old country and Southern rock sounding covers.
All jokes aside, the band was gracious enough to acquiesce my request for one of my favorite Arizona country men, Waylon Jennings. The likes of David Allan Coe and Hank Senior could also be heard. Not bad for a Thursday night in Old Town Scottsdale.