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Stacy's Mom vs. Yolanda at the DMV counter 

Wednesday, Apr 25 2007
Japan's Mono balances the feral and the fastidious. On previous albums, the post-rock quartet has released oppressive swarms of claustrophobic guitar, bass, and drums, sounding as majestic as it was malevolent. The group explored themes of dystopia and disconnection within acerbic swells and pang-dotted swoons. With the recent Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain, Mono places more lucidity within the ominous heft. Iridescent acoustics anchor the cathartic gurning. Experience the perfect storm when Mono — along with the Drift — folds sonic elegies like studious origami on Friday, April 27, at the Great American Music Hall at 9 p.m. Admission is $13-15; call 885-0750 or visit for more info. — Tony Ware

Traffic and Weather is Fountains of Wayne 's first new release since that Cars-jacking tribute to shaggable moms gave the band the lucky break they'd long deserved. Traffic assembles a typically tuneful collection of character sketches unified under a theme of people on the go. Or people working for the people on the go, like the crush-worthy chick at the DMV window in the bittersweet "Yolanda Hayes." Two standout cuts revolve around the drudgery of flying while the monotony of sleeping quarters only rates one track, "The Hotel Majestic." But the latter could be this year's "Stacy's Mom" — it's a Beatles-esque blast of keyboard-driven new-wave classicism. Just imagine a video with Rachel Hunter as the maid. Fountains of Wayne perform on Monday, April 30, at the Great American Music Hall at 8 p.m. Admission is $18; call 885-0750 or visit for more info. — Ed Masley

The Kooks aren't as kooky as the band name would suggest. And their hype-to-genius ratio is higher than it should be. But there's something irresistible about the group's debut, Inside In/Inside Out. It could be the youthful exuberance these young Brits have invested in bashing away at the oversized hooks of "Eddie's Gun" or "See the World." Sure, it's all been done before, from the British Invasion that started it all to version 2.0 starring the Libertines and Arctic Monkeys. But the Kooks are exciting in part because they make it all feel new again, if only long enough to make you smile. The Kooks perform on Monday, April 30, at Slim's at 8 p.m. Admission is $13-15; call 255-0333 or visit for more info. — E.M.

Morrissey 's been busy these days with more than simply dashing all hopes for a Smiths reunion. He's been working on his third solo album in three years, the second with producer Tony Visconti. Visconti produced seven albums for Moz heroes T-Rex in the '70s and elicited a rawer sound from the famously morose singer on last year's thought-provoking Ringleader of the Tormentors. The man hasn't gone totally glam, though — expect a strong dose of one of the world's driest and most self-deprecating wits on Tuesday, May 1, when Morrissey performs at Paramount Theatre in Oakland at 8 p.m. Admission is $47.50-85.50; call 510-465-6400 or visit for more info. — Tamara Palmer

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Tamara Palmer

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Tony Ware

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Ed Masley


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  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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