Reggae, raw funk, and Afro-Latin grooves are "Hella Tight"

Underworld's last effort, the 2002 album A Hundred Days Off, showed the group sounding disjointed as it pinged aimlessly between minimal techno and ramping Moroder-isms. But with the duo's latest, Oblivion With Bells (due out Oct. 13), Underworld leans back on the modular moodiness that buoyed the group's akimbo, acoustic-flecked sprawl during the prime '90s daze. On Oblivion, acidic obliques and lucent arpeggios dance and decay in an expanse anchored by hunched bass and percussive dithers. Live, Karl Hyde's Dadaist murmurs atop Rick Smith's hiccupping flections and distended babble have always made Underworld an immersive force, their performance coupled to high-impact video and never diluted into a tracked recital. For proof positive, head to the Warfield on Friday, Sept. 7 or Saturday, Sept. 8 at 8:30 p.m. and raise a pint of lager, lager, lager to Underworld's breath-seizing breadth. Admission is $50; call 567-2060 or visit www.livenation.com for more info. —T.W.

Legendary hip-hop trio De La Soul stands among few genre leaders when it comes to performing great live shows. The group has a singular internal chemistry and displays the necessary charisma to connect with audiences of all ages. And while the hip-hop act is most experienced with playing arenas and other large-scale venues, it should be a particular treat to see De La do its thang at an intimate venue like Club Six. Giving the people what they want with what they need, the show will consist of old fan favorites and, hopefully, some incubating new material. Local DJs Sake 1, Platurn, and others get the tunes spinning for De La Soul on Friday, Sept. 7, at Club Six at 9 p.m. Admission is $30; call 863-1221 or visit www.clubsix1.com for more info. —T.P.

The long-running monthly dance party Hella Tight continues to draw a loyal audience addicted to the diverse mix of flavors spun by residents Vinnie Esparza (Groove Merchant/Dis-Joint), Asti Spumanti, and Jonny Deeper. Covering a wide array of sounds ranging from laid-back soul-jazz and reggae to raw funk, Afro-Latin, and hip hop, the genre-busting night ignores radio hits and nightlife fads to concentrate on a concept frequently neglected by club DJs: good taste. The party recently returned to its original Mission District home, Amnesia, after stints at Haight hot spots Nickie's and Milk, and you can help celebrate seven years of shaking hips and sweaty dance floors when a special anniversary edition of Hella Tight comes to Elbo Room on Friday, Sept. 7 at 10 p.m. Admission is $5; call 552-7788 or visit www.elbo.com for more information. —D.P.

British producer Bonobo (Simon Green) took his name from a dwarf chimpanzee, but his musical ideas are big and don't monkey around, helping to define the edge of downtempo electronic music. Bonobo lives in the seaside town of Brighton, England and records his slow jam masterpieces for the Ninja Tune label. His most recent release, Days to Come, is a sophisticated slice of jazz and Latin soul-inflected beats. Expect to hear anything from Aphex Twin to Townes Van Zandt when Bonobo gets his opposable thumbs working for a DJ set on Friday, Sept. 7, at Fat City at 9 p.m. Admission is $15; call 861-2890 or visit www.blasthaus.com for more info. —T.P.

 
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