Critic's Choice for the week of August 11-17, 2004 

Our writers tell you what's hot this week.

PET ROCK SOUNDS

For those who believe that wispy dudes with well-worn guitar pedals and well-grooved copies of Pet Sounds can't produce anything of merit anymore, Saturday's night's Cafe du Nord hootenanny might hit you hard -- national buzz outfit dios is winning raves for its Brian-Wilson-meets-Grandaddy pop musings, but the locals in Audio Out Send will challenge them for sweet songwriting supremacy. Let's get ready to rumble. $10, 9 p.m., 415-861-5016 or CafeduNord.com (Rob Harvilla)

JAZZ

Last Friday, Dave Ellis joined two other generations of Berkeley High jazz saxophonists (Jessica Jones from the '70s, Hitomi Oba from this century). And this Friday, Ellis (an '80s grad himself) leads his own band in a room almost too small for his fat, muscular tenor sound: Berkeley's Jazzschool. He can play traditional with the best of 'em -- his disc State of Mind took jazz album honors at the recent 2004 California Music Awards -- but he has his own approach that brings in a bit more funk -- remember his role as a founding member of the original Charlie Hunter Trio that blazed a new jazz trail through the early '90s? And if trombone wizard Marty Wehner shows up to jam, watch out! $15-$18, 8 p.m. 510-845-5373 or Jazzschool.com (Larry Kelp)

PSYCHEDELIC DUB STYLEE

Taking away the hours that make up a dull day -- or, more to the point, an uninspired evening out, the Easy Star Dub All Stars arrive at Slim's Friday night, in what's certain to be one of the most anticipated shows of the year. The New York-based dub collective, along with some special guests, will be performing Dub Side of the Moon -- its reggaefied version of the famous Pink Floyd album -- in its entirety, from "Speak to Me" to "Eclipse." Since your odds of ever seeing Waters and Gilmour in the same room together, much less the same stage, are extremely low at this point, consider this the next best thing and then some. If the live show is anything like the psychedelic neo-roots explored on Easy Star's well-received concept-within-a-concept album, expect to hear enough spacey echoes and thundering reverb to rearrange Syd Barrett's brain until he's sane. Slims-SF.com or 415-255-0333. (Eric K. Arnold)

OPERA

If the quality of Festival Opera's recent Rigoletto is any indication, its new production of Charles Gounod's 1867 adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet will make for a wonderful operatic experience. Opening Saturday night with three other performances through August 22, Roméo et Juliette features the debuts of tenor Isaac Hurtado and soprano Rebecca Garcia. $31-$61. 8 p.m. August 14, 17, 20; 2 p.m. August 22. 925-943-SHOW or FestivalOpera.com (Jason Victor Serinus)

WORLD

Salegy is the quirky (to Western ears) rhythm at the heart of Malagasy pop. Eusebe Jaojoby leads the band that bears his name -- he has been one of Madagascar's premier singer-songwriters and musical innovators since the early '70s, evolving a style that combines rock guitar, a pan-African outlook, and the various traditional acoustic sounds of his homeland. Friday, he brings his highly energetic troupe into Berkeley's Ashkenaz. $15, 9:30 p.m. 510-525-5054 or Ashkenaz.com (j.poet)

MORE JAZZ

Eddie Gale's trumpet was an integral part of Sun Ra's Arkestra and contributed to the success of Cecil Taylor's seminal Unit Structures. His own recently reissued Blue Note albums (Ghetto Music and Black Rhythm Happening) are now recognized for their fusion of folk, gospel, and freeform jazz. Gale celebrates the release of Afro Fire, his first album as leader in thirty years, with psychedelic jazz band Mushroom Thursday at the Make Out Room in San Francisco ($5, 9 p.m., MakeOutRoom.com) and Saturday at Berkeley's Starry Plough. ($5, 9 p.m., StarryPloughPub.com). See Hearsay for more info. (j.p.)

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