ROCK ON: As discussed here last week, the good Reverend Horton Heat makes his annual summer trek to town, this year landing at the Rialto Theatre instead of his usual space in the Hotel Congress parking lot--a sure sign that his congregation has continued to grow.

He'll have Hank Williams III in tow, a chip off the Ol' Bocephus who's sort of a punk-rock version of his legendary granddad, though sadly (thus far) sans the latter's songwriting ability. The majority of tracks on young Hank's 1999 debut, Risin' Outlaw (Curb/Atlantic), are covers. Their saving grace is that some are good covers, including three Wayne Hancock tunes and Johnny Cash's "Cocaine Blues," that make for a fun listen nonetheless.

Tucson's own white-trash heroes of the new millennium, Thunderosa, get it all started in typical ass-kicking fashion at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 29, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Rumor has it the band's Tucson days are numbered, so see them now before they're never seen again. Tickets for this unholy trinity are $18 at the door. Call 798-3333 for more info.

And now behind Door Number Two: Three years ago I found myself at Emo's, the famous punk rock club in Austin, awaiting the performance of some band I've since forgotten. The reason I forgot who I was there to see is because the opening band, a band I'd only vaguely heard of at the time, mopped the stage with the forgotten headliners. That band was The Delta 72, and they played to a spellbound crowd their fresh, slinky, gospel go-go with the added bonus of a Farfisa organ.

Fast-forward to Austin 2000, where the band has graduated to a much-larger Austin Music Hall showcase sandwiched between the mysterious "Special Guest" spot (which turned out to be U.K. psych-guitar gods The Bevis Frond) and indie heroes Modest Mouse--a coveted gig by anyone's standards. Even with an industry buzz on their upcoming album (the now-in-the-bins, Royal Trux-produced 000 on Touch and Go), it seemed no one was really there to see them, instead awaiting the impending Modest Mouse and Tenacious D sets.

But as soon as the five-member band bounded on stage--with a 360-degree mid-air kick (courtesy of singer/guitarist Gregg Foreman) accompanied by the explosive sound of funk soul and rock grit--once again an initially indifferent crowd was transformed into a mass of true believers.

Hailing from Philly, the land of blue-eyed soul, The Delta 72 are one of the few bands these days that manages to pull off those arena rock-star moves, and not only does it work in good fun, it's completely irony-free. Two unsuspecting audiences can't be wrong, and I expect the same when they appear with the fabulous Booker T-meets-MC5 locals The Apocalyptics at 9 p.m. Thursday, June 29, at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave. Cover charge is $5, and you can call 884-0874 with any burning questions.

PHAR OUT: The once-underground dance parties formerly known as raves have broken out to the surface as huge dance parties where the DJ is the star. Once primarily a Euro-thang, DJ culture has grown stateside so immensely in the last several years that the once-anonymous person pushing the beats has taken on rock-star celebrity in the new millennium.

One such party, Chain Reaction, which aims to "celebrate our freedom to dance," hits town this weekend. Featuring a stellar lineup of DJs including Dynamix II, O.D.I., D.A.V.E. the Drummer, Alex Ruiz, Adam X, Kool Aid, and Voodoo x P.R.G., the irony here is that the biggest draw of the event isn't a record-spinner at all.

Headlining the festivities is The Pharcyde, one of the finest hip-hop acts of the '90s. With their 1992 debut, Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde (Delicious Vinyl), the group quickly established itself as perhaps the best yeah-they're-silly-as-hell-but-damn-they-can-flow crew since De La Soul changed the face of rap forever. Their 1995 follow-up, Labcabincalifornia (also on Delicious Vinyl), let the world know they wanted to be taken more seriously, and was initially met with a resounding cry of, "This is the new Pharcyde?"

Though they set the silliness aside, in retrospect the album shows a resounding depth not expected on first listen. It's like when you see a movie you're really excited to see, and you're let down; but then you come across it a couple years later on cable only to realize you like it after all. Such was my experience with Labcab, though I still prefer the wittier debut. Suffice to say, The Pharcyde has contributed two bona fide classics to the '90s hip-hop canon.

The Chain Reaction begins at approximately 10 p.m. Saturday, July 1, at the Pima County Fairgrounds. Advance tickets are $25 at Sound Factory and Shades of Sound, and they'll be $30 on the day of the show. For information and directions, call 388-8862.

SATURDAY SET: Saturday, July 1, has a few other choice shows for the glow-stick challenged. If blues is your thing, look no further than Rick Berthod & The Persuader Band. Berthod, who bought his first imitation Strat 15 years ago (for $15 and large quantities of a controlled substance), now struts his stuff on the Gibson Lucille autographed and presented to him by B.B. King himself. He's shared a stage not only with King, but such luminaries as Gregg Allman, John Mayall and Delbert McClinton.

You'll find Rick Berthod & The Persuader Band in the shadow of the giant Chianti at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 1, at Boondocks, 3306 N. First Ave. For more information, call the friendly folks at 690-0991.

Celebrating not only the release of their brand-spankin' new second CD, Conflict, but also their second consecutive TAMMIE award in the Metal/Hardcore category, GAT-ROT brings a ferocious energy to Skrappy's for a release party this weekend. If you've seen these guys live, then I'm preaching to the choir when I say it's a punishable crime that bands like Limp Bizkit are dominating the airwaves while these guys continue to finance their own CDs. (Their now out-of-print debut, 1998's Strength Through Struggle, received a four-star review from Fred Mills in these pages.)

Come and see for yourself why these guys are the shit at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 1, at Skrappy's, 201 E. Broadway Blvd. Opening the show is Goleta, California's Uphill Battle, Phoenix's Shuriken, locals Thorsh, and L.A.'s Kenji. Cover is a mere $5, and you can log onto for more info.

Fans of classic rock radio will no doubt be thrilled to see that a double-bill of John Kay and Steppenwolf and Eric Burdon and the New Animals will be gracing our burg as part of Old Tucson Studios' continuing Bud-sponsored summer concert series. If you're born to be wild or have, on occasion, begged the Lord, "Please don't let me be misunderstood," then go ahead and take that magic carpet ride to the house of the rising sun: Old Tucson Studios, 201 S. Kinney Road. Show time is 7 p.m. Saturday, July 1. Advance tickets are available for $13.95 at all Dillard's outlets, Western Warehouse, and at Old Tucson Studios. They'll cost $14.95 at the door, and include admission to the park after 4 p.m. Old Tucson Studios season pass holders will be admitted at no charge. For additional information, call 883-0100.

DEAD MEN RISING: Local Deadheads will have reason to rejoice this week, when the Mickey Hart Band appears downtown. The former Grateful Dead drummer, as well as that band's final keyboardist (and ex-Tubes member) Vince Welnick, whirls into town along with five lesser-known players, promising a night full of Dead classics. The Mickey Hart band plays at 8 p.m. Monday, July 3, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for $25 at CD Depot, Hear's Music, Zip's University, Guitars, Etc.,, or by phone at 1-800-965-4827. For more information on the show, call 798-3333.

FREE-FOR-ALL: Lest we forget the birth of our nation this week, all are encouraged to celebrate the event with the Cajun gumbo of the legendary Neville Brothers, along with the bluegrass jam stylings of Leftover Salmon, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 4, at the Pima County Fairgrounds. Reserved and general admission seats are both available, with family discounts before July 1. Children 13 and under are free with a paid adult admission. For tickets, call 1-800-638-4253; or log onto Happy Independence Day, everyone. Don't light anyone on fire.

FIFTH FIX: And finally, favorites of the City of Angels' infamous punk club Al's Bar careen into town on Wednesday, July 5, in the form of Crack. This fearsome band o' five is out terrorizing the Southwest, and stops here for gas, smokes and some loud-ass music starting at 10 p.m. at the Double Zero, 121 E. Congress St. Metal-edged punk locals Umbilical Noose open the show. (Check these fetal misfits out for small change, before their high-profile performance as part of a death-metal showcase at Gotham on July 20.) Cover is only three bucks. Call 670-9332 for more information.

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