Bad Religion

Granted, his congregation may be more prone to sin than salvation. But when Reverend Horton Heat is preaching at the hollow-bodied pulpit, the faithful are guaranteed one hell of a service. These days, Heat and his Texas-bred trio are spreading the good word about their new CD, Space Heater. While their formula is still equal parts country, rockabilly and punk, they continue to evolve far beyond the one-joke premise they easily could have become (see: the Cramps). And though their previous release was titled It's Martini Time, the band's psychobilly sounds are definitely more in tune with the activities of the beer-and-a-shot crowd.

"We can play a country and western song to the Soundgarden crowd, and it will go over," the good Reverend once opined. And the band's had an opportunity to test that theory, as their first two albums were released on Seattle's storied SubPop imprint at the height of grunge. Certainly, the Al Jourgensen-produced Liquor in the Front (Poker in the Rear) increased the band's audience base, but it's Space Heater that represents the best collaboration yet between Heat, bassist Jimbo and drummer Scott Churilla, offering twangy instrumentals, out-and-out rockers and more offbeat -- though not overextended -- experimental tunes. And yes, that was the Reverend performing at the tail end of the Drew Carey Show.

-- Bob Ruggiero

Reverend Horton Heat performs at 9 p.m. Monday, May 4, at Numbers, 300 Westheimer. Tickets are $15. Pietasters open. For info, call 526-8338.

Reckless Kelly -- Clear proof that passion and persistence -- not to mention a certain mobility -- can win out over originality any day, Oregon transplants Reckless Kelly have come about their regional success via all the proper channels. Mercilessly touring the state since the release of their indie debut, Millican, last fall, this roots-twang fivesome has also hung around Austin enough to convince the jaded music-loving populace that the band might do the town some good. And while Reckless Kelly's redneck country/rock hybrid is nothing if not typical, the band's a reliable live draw for good reason: Their playing is exceptional, their harmonies are as comfy as a worn-in pair of ropers and their songwriting is direct, honest and welcomingly familiar. Indeed, when you're trying to scratch out a meager living on the Texas club circuit, the fewer surprises the better. At 9 p.m. Thursday, April 30, at the Fabulous Satellite Lounge, 3616 Washington Avenue. Tickets are $5. 869-COOL. (Hobart Rowland)

Acoustic Traffic -- It's a crime that Dave Mason, one of classic rock's most consistently underrated songwriters and performers, is often known as a sideman for the era's Mt. Rushmores (Clapton, Hendrix, the Stones, various Beatles) rather than his fine '70s solo output -- especially when his own story is just as interesting. At 18, Mason co-founded Traffic with Steve Winwood and a year later penned the often-covered FM staple "Feelin' Alright." He scored one Top Ten hit in 1977 with "We Just Disagree," but it hardly hinted at his true talents: tasteful electric-guitar work, excellent tunesmanship and a surplus of mellowed musings for sunny, stoned afternoons. At Party on the Plaza, Mason reunites with Traffic mate Jim Capaldi for an acoustic work-over of tunes from that band's catalog as well as Mason's solo work. A rare treat. At 5 p.m. Thursday, April 30, at Party on the Plaza, Jones Plaza. True Infidels and Al Stewart open. Free. 230-1666. (

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Hobart Rowland
Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero