Critic's Choice for the week of April 20 - 26, 2005 

Our writers tell you what's hot this week.

POT

It's 4/20 tonight, so what you gonna do? If you know what's really up, you'll mosey on down to Jack London Square and catch the East Bay's most persistent hip-hop weirdo, the one and only Kool Kyle, performing as Inspector Double Negative with his band, the Equal Positives. You'll hear organic hip-hop at its finest, delivered in a style sure to give you the munchies. You'll also hear the stoned lunatic ravings of Dan K. Harvest (get it?), reggae/ska upstarts the Soul Captives, and bhangra, reggaeton, hip-hop, and hindi beats by the Fauji DJ Sound System. All for the meager price of $4.20, so if you've got five on it, you'll get change back. While you're there, check out all the cool, original art and maybe even buy some to take home as a memento of your fine evening out. 9 p.m. Oaklandish.com. (Eric K. Arnold)

JAZZ

A luxury the great composer-bassist-bandleader Charles Mingus could rarely afford while he was alive, the star-filled Mingus Big Band has carried on his legacy for more than twenty years, playing his hottest, wildest, and most political charts with passion. The gang stops by SFJazz's Spring Festival Tuesday at SF's Herbst Theatre -- whether it's "Boogie Stop Shuffle," "Haitian Fight Song," or "Better Get Hit in Your Soul," the tunes are still among the most exciting post-bop works in today's music scene, boosted by soloists moonlighting from leading their own bands. $24-$38, 7:30 p.m. 415-776-1999. (Larry Kelp)

CLASSICAL

Easter and the Pope have passed, but the joy of J.S. Bach's Easter Cantata is welcome year-round. Saturday night in Berkeley's St. Mark's Episcopal Church, American Bach Soloists pair the Cantata with Bach's equally upbeat Magnificat. Especially enticing are the US debuts of countertenor Patrick van Goethem and soprano Teresa Tam. $20-$40; 8 p.m. 415-621-7900 or AmericanBach.org (Jason Victor Serinus)

BITING POP

Smart indie pop that sings sweetly but bites viciously is a Bay Area staple, and SF institution Loquat proudly adds to that tradition of beastly beauty. Celebrating its new disc It's Yours to Keep, the band throws its CD release Saturday at SF's Cafe du Nord with Citizens Here and Abroad and the Herms. $10, 9:30 p.m. CafeduNord.com (Rob Harvilla)

KING OF SKA

There's only one artist alive who can claim that title: Desmond Dekker, the Jamaican musical icon who preceded Bob Marley into superstar status and was a seminal influence on the Wailers (who sang backup harmony vocals on some of Dekker's early tracks). Marley might be more well known, but the sweet-voiced Dekker's one of those guys whose impressive catalogue might make you exclaim, "Damn, he did that one too!?" Probably best known for 1967's international hit "Israelites," Dekker's prolific peak spanned three musical eras, from ska, to rock steady, to reggae. A partial list of his many seminal classics includes "007 (Shanty Town)," "Intensified," "Rudy Got Soul," "Rude Boy Train," and, of course, "King of Ska." Backed by the Aces, Dekker's got music like dirt, so you'll get your money's worth on Thursday, when the living legend comes to Slim's. Monkey opens up. $23-$25, 9 p.m. Slims-SF.com. (E.K.A.)

KING OF AFROBEAT

With apologies to Fela Kuti, the ruler of Nigerian juju music is Sunny Ade, nicknamed "King" for his regal guitar style, which shimmers like spiderwebs in the sun. Gossamer melodies aside, Ade modernizes and updates Nigerian musical tradition without diluting its magical rhythms. His lighter, more mellifluous sound differs from Fela's funk-influenced formula -- emphasizing six-string strafes and percolating percussion over engorged horn solos -- but is no less low-end-equipped or involved on a polyphonic level. And if you've ever wanted to hear talking drums speak directly to you, you could do worse than the recent reissue of Ade's 1983 classic Synchro Series, whose title track is a fifteen-minute-long epic juju beat suite wrapped around dubby, tribal African grooves. Hopefully, Ade will perform the song in its entirety Friday at the Fillmore, where he makes his first appearance in many a moon. Bring your dashiki and get freaky! $27.50, 9 p.m. BGP.com. (E.K.A.)

AFROBEAT PRINCES

If Fela-style African music is more your cup of tea, by all means come on down to Berkeley's Shattuck Down Low Lounge Friday night and check out Albino!, a fourteen-piece outfit led by singer/percussionist Kokou Soglo Katamani, with members who've notched stints with Spearhead, CK Ladzekpo, and Hamsa Lila. The band's style is fairly traditional Afrobeat: propulsive grooves that seemingly last forever, jazzy horn arrangements, and socially relevant social commentary that turn the dancefloor into a forum of politifunkification. In their first local gig after a long stint on the road, the band promises not only to deliver the Afrobeat goods, but will also debut several new compositions. Be there or be a "Zombie." $8-$10, 9 p.m. ShattuckDownLow.com. (E.K.A.)

PUNK COUNTRY BLUES

Loud, rude, crude, and possibly insane, Scott H. Biram is a one-man band in the tradition of Hasil Adkins and other wild-ass white-trash maniacs. The Austin-based performer and songwriter has been covered by Hank Williams III, and is notorious throughout Texas and Louisiana for shows that combine Delta blues shouting and hillbilly roadhouse clatter. Monday at the Make-Out Room in San Francisco. $6, 8 p.m. 415-647-2888 or MakeOutRoom.com (j. poet)

TRADITIONAL COUNTRY BLUES

Rory Block may be the best female acoustic guitarist in the country, not to mention a singer with a simmering, soulful style that's all her own. Winner of two Handy awards for Best Traditional Female Blues Artist, Block sweeps into the room like a force of nature with a repertoire that balances classic blues and gospel with her own compositions in the tradition. Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage. $18.50-$19.50, 510-548-1761 or TheFreight.org (j.p.)

LATIN JAZZ BENEFITS

Rosa Gonzalez's dream is to provide underprivileged Bay Area youth with free music instruction, through her nonprofit Hijos de la Música Foundation. To raise initial funds, she's organized a benefit show with the Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco and NYC's powerhouse Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Led by pianist/arranger Oscar Hernandez, SHO won a Grammy this year for its outstanding Across 110th Street album. It all happens this Friday at the Russian Center, 2450 Sutter Street, SF. Two shows, 7 and 10 p.m. $35-$50. 1-800-838-3006 or BrownPaperTickets.com (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)

BROOKLYN HIP-HOP

Before the Wu-Tang Clan, there was the Boot Camp Clik, who first made it cool to be a collective amalgamation in hip-hop. Headed by MC Buckshot Shorty and backed up by production duo Da Beatminaz, the BCC mixed raw, street-level lyrics with production that somehow managed to be both rugged and smooth, helping to define the last great era of Brooklyn hip-hop (along with Mobb Deep, Nas, Jay-Z, and Notorious BIG). Known as much for their engaging personalities as their proclivity for ebonically spelled words, the BCC are true and living microphone legends. They've been off the national radar for a minute, but Sunday's concert at SF's DNA Lounge is sure to be a "Sound Bwoy Bureill" fa real, son. The show also features Lunar Heights, DJs Ross Hogg, Blaqwest, and Raw B, plus host Kevvy Kev. Advance tickets are $10 from DNALounge.com, and doors are at 9 p.m. (E.K.A.)

LULLABIES FOR DAX

A show featuring experimental electronic gurus Matmos and Sagan -- along with dependably enigmatic Anticon MCs Jel and Alias (not to mention Doseone DJing to boot) -- is always a necessity, but if you need added incentive, all proceeds go to help out Subtle keyboardist and Berkeley Amoeba staple Dax Pierson, recovering from a broken neck suffered in a February tour van accident. This one's a no-brainer. Monday at SF's Bottom of the Hill, $12, 8 p.m. BottomoftheHill.com (R.H.)

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