Vinyl's grooves and Alexis Gideon's nerd-hop

While the Bay Area incubates much distinctive musical talent, it tends to lose a portion of the gifted to New York City. Take guitarist Jim Campilongo — mid-'90s, he was in local clubs with Mental Revenge, A-1 specialists in classic (1950s/'60s) honky-tonk country, and leading his Ten Gallon Cats, makers of glistening alloys of hot jazz and country licks. But Gotham beckoned — a surly land of $12 burgers, yet appreciative of a musician brilliantly and unassumingly melding aspects of James Burton, Bill Frisell, and Chet Atkins. Nowadays, Campilongo plays in the Little Willies, side-project for Americana/jazz diva Norah Jones, and leads his own trio. The holidays find him bringing it all back home on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at the Make-Out Room at 9 p.m. Admission is $12; call 647-2888 or visit for more info. — Mark Keresman

Imagine electrogazers Grizzly Bear swaddling backpacker hip hop with layers of psychedelic indie pop and you'd come close to Alexis Gideon's eccentric dreamscapes. Accessorizing his look with enough pink baubles to make a Valley Girl blush, Gideon gets geeky over drum machines, rapping about Sesame Street characters with zero pretense of street muscle. Live, this nerd-happy performer could either be artsy-fartsy fun or post-millennial irony (again). The only way to know for sure is to hit his gig on Thursday, Dec. 21, at the Hemlock at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $5; call 923-0923 or visit for more info. Jennifer Maerz

For a city as obsessed with latex and leather as San Francisco, it's a surprise that Vinyl has stuck around so long. Then again, the freaky and the deaky alike are pheromonally attracted to high-potency funk and sweaty good times, which are what the reigning kings of Bay Area groove are all about. Vinyl follows in the tradition of fellow S.F. funkateers Tower of Power, spiking saucy sax and trumpet with boogaloo bass lines and Latin-leaning percussion, all bound by the members' unswerving dedication to leaving dance floors well buffed at the end of the night. Cram these guys into the Boom Boom Room — perhaps the city's most soulful venue — and you've got a pre-Yuletide jam guaranteed to leave you feeling naughty and nice. Vinyl plays Saturday, Dec. 23, at the Boom Boom Room at 9:30 p.m. Admissions is $12; call 673-8000 ext. 4 or visit for more info Jonathan Zwickel

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