In a 12-year career that's included almost as many albums, Reverend Horton Heat has rarely strayed from the punk-fueled rockabilly that's become his band's trademark sound. "Psychobilly Freakout," "Big Red Rocket of Love," and "Wiggle Stick" pretty much explain it all.
But right in the middle of the proud Texan's latest CD, Revival, Jim Heath (the Rev's birth name), submits "Someone in Heaven," a plaintive ballad about connecting with the other side -- a sentiment far removed from fan favorites like "Marijuana" and "Love Whip." "My mom passed away last year," explains Heath. "That song's about her. And it came pretty easy."
But once that detour is cleared, Heath and his two bandmates navigate Revival into familiar territory -- populated by "New York City Girls" and "Indigo Friends." "I just wanted to do this album as cheaply and as quickly as possible," says Heath. "The studio is such a sterile work environment. There's still nothing better than going onstage. Being a musician is a much more valid art form than being a recording artist." Reverend Horton Heat is at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Road) at 9 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $20, $5 in advance; call 216-383-1124. -- Michael Gallucci
Celebrate Christmas by dancing like it's 1942!
In Cleveland, Chinese Americans celebrate the holidays with an old-fashioned Christmas Gala. "We were born in the United States, or some of us have been naturalized as American citizens," explains Johnny Wu, the president of the 125-member Organization of Chinese Americans of Greater Cleveland. "So we follow Christmas traditions." If the jitterbug can be called a tradition. After a 90-minute cocktail reception, waiters will serve a gut-busting, 12-course, family-style dinner of Chinese delicacies -- from roast pork and eggdrop soup to honey-baked sea bass and ginger-and-scallion lobster. Once the plates have been cleaned and the fortune cookies handed out, the dance floor will open for the annual Christmas ritual of jitterbugging. "You're going to be feeling it," Wu says of the feast. "And afterward, you dance to sweat it off." The gala starts at 6 p.m. Saturday at C&Y Chinese Restaurant, 2222 St. Clair Avenue. Tickets are $35; call 216-373-3278. -- Cris Glaser
A local writer finishes his book between innings.
It took Cleveland author Donald L. Templeman a while to finish his second novel, The Planet of Mortal Worship, which he started almost a decade ago. Blame the Tribe, he says. "The Indians got good when I was writing the book," he explains. "I'd check the score at 7:30, and the next thing I knew, it was 10:30 and time for bed." Planet -- which is not a follow-up to 2001's The Last Champion on Earth, stresses Templeman -- blends sci-fi, fantasy, and . . . Christianity? "There's a relationship between humanity and God in the story," he says. Templeman signs his book from noon to 2 p.m. Friday at Waldenbooks at Tower City (230 West Huron Road). Admission is free; call 216-861-0010. -- Michael Gallucci
New York City blues belter Ann Rabson was nominated for the prestigious W.C. Handy Award last year in the Traditional Female Blues category. Which is kinda funny, since she sings about sending her lover one of those newfangled e-mails on her latest album, Struttin' My Stuff. She also plays a mean barrelhouse and boogie-woogie piano. Rabson's at Fat Fish Blue (21 Prospect Avenue) at 8 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $5; call 216-875-6000. -- Michael Gallucci