Critic's Choice for the week of August 21-28, 2002 

"Joy Division hip-hop," a country-Western family tradition, Eastern European women vocalists, and Oakland funk with Texas roots.

Wednesday night brings East Bay's Octavius to Bottom of the Hill. The group has been described as "Joy Division hip-hop," part of the industrial wing of the genre that includes Dälek and Cannibal Ox. Also performing are the Fog and DJ Anon. 415-621-4455. (Katy St. Clair)

Numbers is getting heavy rotation on KALX, helped along by the fact that it has a record on Kid606's Tigerbeat 6 label and also that it's the best Bay Area band right now. It's quirky and disjointed, yet cohesive and poppy. Throw in the term "new wave," too. The band performs Thursday at the Oakland Metro with Deerhoof, Experimental Dental School, and Da Hawnay Troof at Oakland's Metro. 510-763-1146. (K.S.)

Because its members, including steel guitar ace Bobby Black and clarinetist-saxophonist Jim Rothermel, are busy with other bands, Lost Weekend doesn't do many gigs. But when guitar-playing crooner Don Burnham calls together the flock of some dozen musicians, as he has for Thursday's engagement at Ashkenaz, it's cause for celebration. "Great tunes, great singin', and great playin'," fiddle great Johnny Gimble says of the Western swing aggregation's current Harbor Lights and Cowboy Blues CD, and he's right on all three counts. 510-525-5054. (Lee Hildebrand)

Talk about living proof! Hank Williams III looks a lot like and moans the blues and honky-tonk tunes much in the manner of his granddad. And, like his dad, he cranks up his band to rock 'n' roll levels, albeit with punk attitude. Touring in support of a superb sophomore CD titled Lovesick, Broke & Driftin', Williams drops into the Great American Music Hall on Thursday. Deadweight opens. 415-885-0750. (L.H.)

Back in the '60s, when they regularly opened shows for James Brown and backed such artists as Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, and Little Willie John, Johnny Talbot and De Thangs laid the foundation for Oakland funk with their riveting mixture of Texas blues and syncopated New Orleans beats. Texas-born, Berkeley-based guitarist Talbot has kept the band together ever since but has maintained a low profile in recent years, making the group's Thursday appearance at Kimball's East a quite special event. 510-658-2555. (L.H.)

One of a number of former Berkeley High jazz players who defected to the Big Apple, tenor saxophonist Jessica Jones makes her annual visit to Yoshi's on Monday night with her tenor-playing husband Tony Jones, bassist Dave Ewell, and drummer Deszon X. Claiborne. The two-tenor frontline is a powerful experience, and this show includes a guest vocal spot from Tony's daughter Candace Jones. 510-238-9200. (Larry Kelp)

Kitka, the Bay Area's extraordinary Eastern European women's vocal ensemble, joins the Greek band Ziyià in joyous celebration of the success of Kitka's first full-ensemble tour of Bulgaria and the release of its beautiful new CD, The Vine, with Friday and Saturday night folk-dance workshop/concert-dance parties at Oakland's Lake Merritt United Methodist Church. 510-444-0323. (Jason Serinus)

Do you dig Brazilian samba? Then don't miss the Saturday benefit at Ashkenaz for the California Brazil Summer Camp, a music and dance immersion program that takes place annually in the California redwoods. Performing is the California Brazil All-Star Band made up of camp faculty, including Carlos Oliveira, Harvey Wainapel, and Marcos Silva, as well as Brazilian percussionist Jorge Alabe. 510-525-5054. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)


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