SF Weekly Picks

Wednesday, September 4
Angelique Kidjo With a muscular dancer's build and a shorn head, Kidjo radiates an unquestionable strength. It's the kind of down-to-earth power that comes out of inner peace and world awareness, and it has placed her among the planet's greatest divas. Kidjo was born to a choreographer and a banjo player in Benin, where her musical habitat included everything from Delta blues to Brazilian salsa to Zairian drumming. The potent voice bursting from Kidjo's petite frame naturally links all these early influences. The stunning result is a farrago of soulful dance music, which she sings in her native Fon as well as in French and English. Great American Music Hall, 8 p.m., $16.50.

Thursday, September 5
Poi Dog Pondering Laying aside their accordions and their lap harps, their guitars and their organs, Poi Dog found themselves surrounded by a slew of antiquated synthesizers that pointed them toward Electrique Plummagram, the 11-piece collective's first no-holds-barred sojourn into dance music. For three nights in as many days Poi Dog will transform Slim's into a happening dance party with the sweaty, high-energy stamina of a gay disco, the surreal visual elements of a rave, the synth complexities of house music, and the vocal harmonies of soul. 9 p.m., $10-11.

Friday, September 6
Helios Creed The ex-Chrome guitar-effects terrorist brings his special little alienwarpmindfuck to San Francisco guitar addicts in need of a serious non-reality check. Creed explained his love of fuzz in a recent Guitar Player interview where he explained that Russian scientists did a study that concluded that teen-agers are addicted to certain frequencies and tones found in guitar distortion. Creed immediately glommed onto the study since it already supported his own hypothesis -- more fuzz, more fans. If you haven't had your fill of spacey queerness, check out His Name Is Alive tomorrow night. HNIA has been regarded and as often discarded as Warn Defever's private studio project, but Stars on ESP might just change that. For one, HNIA is a 4AD group that has managed to desert gothy gothness without offending anyone (they're still moody and sparse, but in a really poppy, spacey, frolicsome sort of way). Second, songs on this album were inspired by: AM radio; coal miners who catch black lung disease; the sadly overlooked career of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. star David McCallum; Bullwinkle; and the experience of listening to "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys for a solid week. Third, the naive, somewhat affected vocals of Karin Oliver slide over Defever's writhing electronics and kind of make you all tingly. Helios Creed plays at the Transmission Theater; Galaxy Chamber opens. 9 p.m., $7. His Name Is Alive plays at the Kilowatt on Saturday; Dart opens. 8 p.m., $7.

Saturday, September 7
Sarah Brown You know, I was just thinking the other day how not enough women play bass. Well, bless my stars, this Texas lass not only plays, she completely dominates the instrument. Brown is a 20-year veteran of the Austin blues scene and has made guest appearances on over 40 albums, but her debut, Sayin' What I'm Thinkin' (Blind Pig), is roots rock through and through. Drawing on rockabilly, country, and soul rhythms for inspiration, Brown proves herself an adept songwriter who knows how to make use of her talented friends. Among those to return a favor this time around: Commander Cody alum Bill Kirchen, Westboro rocker Cindy Bullens, Fabulous T-Birds and Roomful of Blues alum Fran Christina, and Hammond B-3 master Ian McLagan. Biscuits & Blues, 9 p.m., $10.

Sunday, September 8
Bone Cootes & the Living Wrecks They've played at churches and on street corners, but where better to see an original bar band than in an original bar? It doesn't get much more personal than the cozy confines of this little Mission dive. Cootes -- that's Mr. Bone Cootes to you, and no, he doesn't have another name -- looks like a slick rockabilly boy these days, but he still mixes street poetry and deep Delta riffs with a little New Orleans thang thrown in to boot. Special moments include songs sung by Living Wrecks drummer Chip Trombley. Ask for him by name. Albion, 5 p.m., free.

Monday, September 9
Hive OK sure, Lush played this weekend and they have an annoying hit that made them tons of cash, but Hive is better. Full of thick, heavy guitar work that tastes like velvety, forest-green corduroy and sexy, druggy, very pouty Brit-style vocalizations, Hive makes up for lyrics like "You're shitting on top of the world/ It's not what you know, but how you blow" with a sound that is so visceral and completely sensual that I challenge you not to bump and grind. Model 1000 headlines; Simon Says opens. Bottom of the Hill, 9:30 p.m., $3.

Tuesday, September 10
Oranj Symphonette Hump-day eve makes San Francisco feel provincial. It's like a never-ending cultural wasteland with only a few valiant club bookers attempting live entertainment that is even slightly above average. What a joy then to have the brilliance of the Oranj Symphonette gracing a stage on this night. Using Henry Mancini as a common sounding board, Ralph Carney (Tom Waits, Special Parrot, Rubber City, etc.), Joe Gore (PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, Action Plus, etc.), Matthew Brubeck (Club Foot Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony, etc.), Scott Amendola (TJ Kirk, Charlie Hunter, etc.), and Rob Berger (Masopust, etc.) perform glorious, sometimes hysterical jazz improv that leaves even jazz-wary crowds overflowing with a warm, happy, fuzzy, very oranj feeling. Elbo Room, 10 p.m., $4.

By Silke Tudor

 
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