SF Weekly Picks

Wednesday, August 28
Nas How nasty can a rapper be who transforms the wistful chorus from the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" into an epic assault on urban discord? Well, nastiness is not what Nas is about; Nas is about real life, real time, and real rhymes. At 22, the young hip-hop artist already possesses the depth of a well-versed poet and the critical judgment of a social commentator. His first album, Illmatic, was hailed for its subtle emotional candor; his latest release, It Was Written (Columbia), reasserts Nas' role as a consummate street journalist whose advanced rhyming style and lively beats will shake even the most socially numb from their sleep. A collaboration with Dr. Dre on the title track is further proof of Nasir Jones' ability to break down boundaries, even those presented by the hip-hop community itself in the form of rivalry between East and West Coast styles. WhoRidas featuring Saafir open. DNA Lounge, 9 p.m., $17.50-20.

Thursday, August 29
Liar Headed by guitar Wunderkind Eric McFadden, this unique quartet has made friends of local musicos in an amazingly short amount of time (it's been less than a year since the band relocated from Albuquerque). Their new release, Devil Dog Road (Dog Patch), is a delightful melange of all that they do well and is deserving of further devotion. Exquisite flamenco guitar work seeps into hard-driving funk while a Middle Eastern fiddle bumps gently against McFadden's dusty vocals; violinist Marisa Mead careens through a belligerent rocker-girl howl right before the whole crew bursts in on a down-home hootenanny. It's all great driving fun. Liar is beautifully indiscriminate about musical genres. They don't care where it came from so long as it sounds good. If you can appreciate everything from klezmer to punk without experiencing musical schizophrenia, this is the ticket. Toiling Midgets and Two Bit Halo open. Bottom of the Hill, 9:30 p.m., $5.

Friday, August 30
Herb boasts members of the Club Foot Orchestra, Eskimo, Super Diamond, and Baby Snufkin. What could possibly make such an amalgamation more exciting? Well, for starters Herb is a joyful tribute to the leader of the Tijuana Brass -- you know, Herb Alpert (pictured), that middle-aged white guy who founded A&M Records, then took his pop trumpet and formed a band that quickly amassed No. 1 hits like so much bathroom mold. Add in the Fabulous Bud E. Luv Band, and knicker-tossing secretaries around the bay will be getting ready for a hot time in the old town tonight. Big Heart City, 9:30 p.m., $10.

Saturday, August 31
Zachary Richard Pronounced Ree-Shard, this Louisiana native has been called the Mick Jagger of zydeco. That might give you an idea of just how badass he is. His high-energy fusion of American rock and rootsy Arcadian music has been sending audiences into flurries of feet-wagging for over 20 years. However, Richard didn't buy his first accordion until he was well out of college, but there must have been something to that little squeeze-box. Between the first push and pull Richard was transformed into a die-hard Cajun militant. He relocated to Montreal and recorded eight albums in French. Two went gold. He then moved back to Louisiana where he tried on his native tongue and recorded two more highly acclaimed albums, but the call of his ancestors was strong. As Richard says, "The sky opened up and it started raining French songs." Back in the Great White North Richard recorded Cap Enrage, a very American album sung in French that draws on the likes of Professor Longhair, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, and Clifton Chenier. Kimball's East, Emeryville, 8/10 p.m., $20.

Sunday, September 1
Johnny Peebucks I can't tell you who they are because this is a super-surprise, secret CD release party (see photo). All right, since you twisted my arm I'll give you a little hint. Tonight, they are listed under their lead singer's classy moniker. Need more? OK, duh, in the last year this local punk outfit toured Europe with Rancid, won both a WAMMIE and a BAMMIE, and got signed to Fat Wreck Chords. The new album, A Juvenile Product of the Working Class, is even more rollicksome than their last, and if you show up tonight and you're not a complete drip, you could be the first on your block to own one. It'll get you dates, really. Working Stiffs and Apocalypse Hoboken open. Slim's, 9 p.m., $5.

Monday, September 2
"Reggae Madness" Enjoy your day off. Loll about in the open air and groove to three of today's top dance-club reggae artists. Jamaica's Shabba Ranks brings his blood-pumpin' raggamuffin -- a reggae-rap hybrid -- to the scene; Maxi Priest (pictured) blends reggae, R&B, and Afro-pop vibes into one well-rounded, sun-worshiping groove; and who can forget Shaggy, with his bombastic club hit "Boombastic"? Hearst Greek Theater, Berkeley, 3 p.m., $22.50.

Tuesday, September 3
Indigo Swing Complete with boogie-woogie piano playing, double-shuffle drumming, ecstatic guitar jumping, saxophone roof-raising, stand-up bass thumping, and pretty-boy crooning, this San Francisco sextet is one of the swingingest (it's in their name and everything). But don't be misled -- despite their oh-so-slick retro stylings this group is not completely chained to convention. Occasionally they slip in some wailing improvisation that is a perfect complement to their exuberant, highly entertaining stage show. Way gone, man. Way gone. Harry Denton's, 8:30 p.m., free.

By Silke Tudor

 
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