Original smooth crooner Johnny Mathis returns to the stage

Some Queens of the Stone Age fans still rue the day that bassist Nick Oliveri got the heave-ho from the band back in 2004. But the punk quickly proved he had much more to offer than blood-curdling screams and buck-naked stage dives with Mondo Generator. Mondo's Demolition Day balanced desperate acoustic guitar numbers with Oliveri's tuneful salvos of unhinged aggression. The group's latest release, Dead Planet, finds the bassist howling out ferocious, melodic ragers that would have worked perfectly with another of his former bands, the Dwarves. Oliveri and company save you the trouble of enduring Ozzfest by headlining Café Du Nord on Wednesday, July 18, at 9 p.m. Admission is $10; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com for more info. — D.P.

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello took on the Nightwatchman alter ego in 2003. For this side project, Morello renounced massive amps 'n' distortion and embraced an intimate acoustic approach. Rather than preaching to the converted, Nightwatchman's debut, One Man Revolution, finds the singer looking at global trials 'n' tribs through the eyes of the average Joe 'n' Jane — the students, workaday folks, and soldiers thrust into hellish situations beyond their understanding. This Nightwatchman comes across like a fellow earnestly chatting on a lunch break rather than some sanctimonious jagoff at a podium. Catch him live on Friday, July 20, at the Swedish Hall at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $16; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com for more info. — M.K.

San Francisco's Johnny Mathis is an old-school crooner. His first Greatest Hits collection, released in 1958, stayed on the Billboard pop charts for 9 1/2 years and remains one of the best-selling albums of all time. In his long career, Mathis has made more than 100 records, of which he's sold almost 400 million copies. At 72 he still cuts a dashing figure on stage, with most of his range intact. His clear, high tenor and emotional delivery is complimented by a charismatic stage presence that's especially appealing to female fans; Mathis still makes the ladies swoon when he delivers a tender love song. Johnny Mathis performs on Friday, July 20, and Saturday, July 21, at Davies Symphony Hall at 8 p.m. Admission is $20-83; call 864-6000 or visit www.sfsymphony.org for more info. — J.P.

If you had the Cure's "Killing an Arab" on cassingle and your daily uniform consists of black skinny jeans and threadbare Bauhaus tees, Veil Veil Vanish deserves a spot on your next lovelorn mix. A loud, moody blend of post-punk and shoegaze, VVV's songs play like a lover's quarrel between Keven Tecon's anguished vocals and Cameron Ray's watery washes of synth-like guitar. Ray, formerly of the South Bay's Andalusia, might be one of the most creative guitarists on the planet, using pedals and gadgets to build sonic structures that could make Phil Spector cream. VVV throws an all-ages CD release party on Saturday, July 21, at Bottom of the Hill at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com for info. — M.K.

The classic twin lead guitar attack — perfected by the likes of Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest — periodically disappears from the hard-rock landscape due to the sheer difficulty of executing the style properly. Santa Cruz band Trigger Renegade has been perfecting its mix of hook-heavy anthems and complex-riff architecture for the last few years, culminating with the release of its audacious debut full-length Destroy Your Mind. Already tabbed by iconic rock critic Chuck Eddy as an early favorite for hard-rock album of 2007, the effort delivers a bracing collision of melodic Crüe/GN'R sleaze and Maiden-esqe six-string mayhem. Trigger Renegade unleashes the fookin' fury at Thee Parkside on Tuesday, July 24, at 8 p.m. Admission is $6; call 503-0393 or visit www.theeparkside.com for more info. — D.P.

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