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French robots rule! Daft Punk takes the lead at the summer's biggest dance party 

Wednesday, Jul 25 2007
Daft Punk, the French faux-bot duo that's been tweaking knobs and lifting late-night spirits for more than a decade, has recently ventured into the world of film with Electroma. This meditative opus continues the group's cyborg love affair: The pair plays sentient robots that travel the countryside to an Eno-esque score. Daft Punk's live show is less Zen than frenetic, psychedelic deep-house action. Helped out by like-minded groups the Rapture, Sebastian, and Kavinsky, the East Bay is in store for some fierce sound-wave oscillation when Daft Punk performs on Friday, July 27, at the Greek Theater in Berkeley at 8 p.m. Admission is sold out; visit for more info. Mighty is hosting the show's official after-party with the Ed Banger crew, the Throne of Blood crew, Jefrodesiac, Richie Panic, and special guests from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. Admission is $12, or free with an RSVP to —J.F.

Houston's Devin the Dude sings, raps, is effortlessly funny, and loves weed. These qualities have long made him a preferred collaborator for hip-hop luminaries like Dr. Dre, Scarface, and Snoop Dogg (the Doggfather even appears on Devin the Dude's new album Waiting to Inhale). Oakland's Zion I isn't quite the Chong to the Dude's insatiable Cheech, but this enlightened local group does have pro-pot songs like "Cheeba Cheeba" and "Roll on Out" in its arsenal. It's sure to be a green party when Devin the Dude and Zion I perform live on Thursday, July 26, at Mezzanine at 9 p.m. Admission is $15; call 625-880 or visit for more info. —T.P.

Peter Hook is best known as New Order's bassist. But in recent years he's taken to DJing thanks to the encouragement of Stone Roses bassist Mani, with whom he's worked on a long-anticipated project called Freebass (also featuring Andy Rourke of the Smiths). While that concept marinates, Hook has been dabbling in nightclubs around the world, playing snarling low-end techno with notable enthusiasm. While DJs can often be much more fun to listen to than watch, Hook buries himself deep into the groove, enthusiastically throwing his hands in the air. Watch this seasoned musician playing with his newfound passion on Friday, July 27, at Ruby Skye at 9 p.m. Admission is $15; call 693-0777 or visit for more info. —T.P.

Guru is best known as the rhyming half of Gang Starr — for which he partners with legendary producer DJ Premier — but he has also released albums under the Jazzmatazz banner for the past 14 years. The Jazzmatazz records have allowed Guru (aka Keith Elam) to experiment with blending jazz elements into hip hop, and to work with guest artists ranging from Donald Byrd and Roy Ayers to young rappers like the Bay Area's Blackalicious. The latter guest on Guru's latest, Vol. 4: Back to the Future, alongside the likes of Damian Marley, Ronny Laws, and even David Sanborn. Album producer Solar, DJ Doo Wop, and 7 Grand Band join Guru in presenting Jazzmatazz live on Saturday, July 28, at Mezzanine at 9 p.m. Admission is $20; call 625-880 or visit for more info. —T.P.

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Tamara Palmer

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Jonah Flicker


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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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