SF Weekly Picks

Wednesday, September 11
Bluetones Not sick of Britpop yet? Well, that's good because England's got plenty more where that came from. The Bluetones have a decidedly Northern sound (a la the Stone Roses), although they come from London. That just means that the quartet plays guitar-driven pop that is as crisp and clean as a schoolgirl's sock. At its best, this is inviting; at its worst, completely innocuous. Thankfully, they sport two brothers in the band -- which is good for press -- and their devoted following back home all paint themselves blue -- even better. Magnetics and Handsome Poets open. Bottom of the Hill, 9:30 p.m., $7.

Thursday, September 12
Little Jack Melody would like to eliminate all the guitar bands from the world, if that's OK. Rock is dead, after all, and Melody and His Young Turks hear a kinder, gentler aural reality coming just around the corner. It will be one filled with candlelight, cafes, and a no-tech musical aesthetic which includes the pump organ, tuba, banjo, sax, and circus drum. There will be tangos, tarantellas, rumbas, polkas, and waltzes arranged with popish, wry wit and keen observations. It will be fabulous if World of Fireworks is any indication. Melody's sweet, sultry voice flutters over tinkling ivories and intoxicating accordions; rumbling saxophones dance through drunken percussion. It's a neo-Weimar cabaret from Denton, Texas, that finds co-dependency and the L.A. riots appropriate subject matter. Don't take this wrong, Little Jack, but you guys rock. Cafe Du Nord, 8 p.m., $3. Also at Bruno's on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 11 p.m./12:30 a.m., $4.

Friday, September 13
Celtic Crossings The Great Potato Famine brought millions of Irish immigrants clambering to American soil in search of a full soup pot. It doesn't take a leading Irish historian to grasp the profound effect that this exodus had on Irish culture; nor does it take the author of the only monthly Irish-language newspaper column in the Western United States to spell it out; or even a champion concertina and uilleann piper to put it to music. But it would be nice, especially on this the commemoration of the famine's 150th anniversary. Dr. Gearoid i hAllmhurain, Ph.D. (pictured), specializes in ethnomusicology at the University of San Francisco, writes for the San Francisco Gael, and is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist with several All-Ireland titles under his belt. Although no longer a member of the Kilfenora Ceili Band -- Ireland's oldest, title-holding, traditional dance band -- hAllmhurain's latest musical project is an extraordinary solo release that includes guest appearances by Paddy Canny -- a renowned fiddler who has not agreed to be recorded in over 30 years -- flute master Peter O'Loughlin, and Ireland's "1995 Musician of the Year," Martin Hayes. Hayes and hAllmhurain perform together tonight. Noe Valley Ministry, 8 p.m., $12.

Saturday, September 14
Eddie Kirkland Nothing like a spry 70-year-old blues musician who leaps across the stage, does the splits, and grins like a polecat while plucking away at his old Silvertone hollowbody to make you feel old way before your time. Kirkland was born in Jamaica, the land of infectious grooves. He moved to Detroit, where he played with John Lee Hooker during the birth of postwar electric blues. From there, it was off to Memphis, where he recorded for Stax and played with Otis Redding during the heyday of soul. Next, it was Macon and Capricorn Records during the conception of Southern rock. Like a man outside of time, he's been there and done that. But he has so much to give. Accompanied by a fresh, young group of backing musicians who can just barely handle his heat, Kirkland will have you up on your feet making a complete fool of yourself in no time at all. Biscuits & Blues, 9 p.m., $10.

Sunday, September 15
Gus sounds like he just woke from a little nap. He's sleepy, intimate, and low. Then there're guitars, hard, brash, and mean. The anxiety kicks in, followed by urgency, and a little dose of remorse. All within 195 seconds. It's a beautiful thing, but Seattle-born Gus wants it on record that he is an anti-singer/songwriter even though he writes all his own songs and he most definitely sings them. He also doesn't want anyone thinking his self-titled debut is a breakup record, though most of the songs are about the inevitable end of a long-term relationship. That's OK. Gus is a work of textural experimentation that has a lot more in common with U2's Zooropa than with a poet wearing an ill-fitting hat on open-mike night. Edna Swap and Drag open. Bottom of the Hill, 5:30 p.m., $3.

Monday, September 16
Left Coast Jazz Fest Telefunken's frontman, Ismael, believes wholeheartedly that musicians should create inspired, innovative, funky-ass art -- with a collective consciousness. A high school dropout who first began to pick up books because of the rap music he heard in the late '80s, the former East Coast poet uses his role in the hip-hop community to affect the lives of youth. Tonight, his trio is backed by the phat jazz sounds of the Unknown Giants. This is the last of five nights sponsored by BlueVision in a citywide celebration of the birth of the West Coast's vibrant youth-based jazz community. 330 Ritch, 9 p.m., $5.

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