Poised as a hard-hitting rock band, Oakland's Disgust of Us revolves around a gentle core. Cheryl Martinez's softly sinister vocals and a pronounced melody often give way to a fierce chorus featuring Patrick Thomas' searing background vocals, but the overall effect is balanced and musical. Such dynamic, compelling songcraft is worth a listen.
At Sub-Mission Art Space (2183 Mission St., San Francisco) on November 6. 8 p.m., $8
We've staged a costume contest here at the Express this year, and a few entrants look mighty promising. Reminds me of last year when I went as Sifl of Sifl and Olly fame - i.e. I wore a sock puppet made from an old dress sock and some colored felt. No one really got it, but I thought it was cool. In honor of the occasion, let's all enjoy this Sifl and Olly clip while ruminating on Halloween costumes past and present, half-assed or otherwise.
It comes as no big surprise that the Hi-Nobles are new at this. Their take on Dirtbombs-esque Sixties garage soul is as genuine as can be, but not always convincing - the five musicians, who have backgrounds in metal, thrash, and punk through bands like Mordred and the Avengers, try out their new sound with mixed but generally enjoyable results.
At Bottom of the Hill (1233 17th St., San Francisco) on October 30. 9 p.m., $8
Singer-songwriter Ira Marlowe shifted his attention to children's music three records ago but only recently discovered the power spooky songs yield over young imaginations. Thus was born this collection of twelve lighthearted numbers about the dark, ghosts, scary little men - even the Boogerman. Consider "Monster Mash" duly outdated.
At SadieDey's Cafe (4210 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) on October 30. 5 p.m., $7.50
Mika live at Oakland's Fox Theater on October 24, 2009.
The title Este Mundo (This World) is apropos; Rupa and the April Fishes dipped their brushes in a global palette to color this collection of upbeat pop tunes. Fans of Manu Chao will appreciate the cumbia-meets-reggae undertones, yet this San Francisco act pays equally heartfelt homage to the music of France, India, the Balkans, and more.
At Mezzanine (444 Jessie St., San Francisco) on October 29. 8 p.m., $10
Lead singer Karla Kane is incapable of sounding anything but cute, even when she sings about things like space or the end of the world and the music gets a bit adventurous. But mostly she sings about the joys and frustrations of new relationships in simply romantic pop songs underpinned by the folksy flavors of her ukulele and balanced by male vocal harmonies.
At the Make-Out Room (3225 22nd St., San Francisco) on October 31. 7:30 p.m., $7
Myspace friends of the LA band Weezer were treated to a special secret show last night at San Francisco's Regency Ballroom. Only a select number of fans were allowed in. Weezer was set to deliver a nineteen-song set that had the crowd screaming and sweating their hearts out. Seattle's Natalie Portman's Shaved Head opened the set. Photos by Joseph Schell.
Stone Temple Pilots live at the Fox Theater on October 20, 2009. Photos by Hali McGrath.