Critic's Choice for the week of August 3-9, 2005 

Our writers tell you what's hot this week.

CRAZED PUNK

The Rock 'N' Roll Adventure Kids are known for playing all their songs in the same key and writing really, err, minimalist lyrics. Exhibit A: Fried chicken/Fried chicken/Fried fried fried, fried chicken (repeat for another 24 bars). Still, frontman Marcos is one of the finest players and chicken noisemakers in the Bay Area punk and rockabilly circuit -- imagine what Jonathan Richman would look like if you gave him a banjo, a pair of pink Converse kicks, and a shitload of speed. The Kids perform Friday at Berkeley's 924 Gilman with Toys That Kill, the Bananas, Acts of Sedition, Skeleton Closet, and Civil Duty. As always, the show starts at 8 p.m. and costs $5. 924 Gilman.org (Rachel Swan)

OUTLAW COUNTRY

Chicago-based titan Robbie Fulks may have kissed off a career in the song mills of Nashville with 1997's "Fuck This Town," but his fascination with Music City still burns brightly. His latest CD, Georgia Hard, is a finely crafted sampler of the best 1970s country music styles, with tight bluegrass harmonies and lush string arrangements sharing space with edgy murder ballads and honky-tonk cheatin' songs. Fulks brings his broad brand of insurgency to SF's 12 Galaxies tonight ($10, 9 p.m., 12Galaxies.com), and Berkeley's Starry Plough Thursday ($10, 9:30 p.m., StarryPloughPub.com (Eli Messinger)

CAMBODIAN PSYCHEDELIA

Los Angeles' Dengue Fever -- fronted by Cambodian diva Ch'hom Nimol, who sang regularly for the king and queen of Cambodia -- combines the feeling of '60s Cambodian pop with their own eclectic mix of American and international styles. Local global poppers Neung Phak add Vietnamese and Thai influences to their Cambodian big beat sound. Sunday at SF's Great American Music Hall. $11-$13, 9 p.m. 415-885-0750 or GAMH.com (j. poet)

OPERA

Some call it "operetta," others "highbrow on the downlow." Decide for yourself at Walnut Creek's Dean Lesher Center Thursday through Saturday as the unstoppable Lamplighters present Gilbert & Sullivan's Gondoliers. With echoes of Italian folk dances and opera, this libretto about two Venetian gondoliers mixed up at birth provides hours of joyful escapism. 8 p.m. each night, with an extra 2 p.m. Saturday matinee. $32-$44, $27-$39 seniors, $10-$17 children. 925-943-7469. (Jason Victor Serinus)

GANGSTA RAP

Famous for his killer rhymes and brazenly schlocky blockumentaries, Andre Nickatina unquestionably belongs in the 99th percentile of Bay Area turf rappers -- he's currently jockeying for position with such folks as Mistah Fab, J.T. the Bigga Figga, and Turf Talk. Nickatina performs at Blake's on Telegraph in Berkeley Tuesday night with promising rhymesayer and Bored Stiff emeritus Equipto. Dubbed the Nicky Rose Party, it kicks off at 9 p.m. and costs $15 in advance. BlakesonTelegraph.com (R.S.)

JAZZ-FUNK

Beth Custer and Will Bernard have collaborated frequently over the past decade, from forming clarinet-and-guitar duos to guesting in each other's bands. Friday at Berkeley's Ashkenaz, Custer and Bernard will each showcase their current projects -- Bernard's funk-and-groove-oriented Motherbug flaunts his inventive, jazzy guitar work, while the Beth Custer Ensemble is a song-oriented entity wherein Custer often lays down her clarinet to sing politically charged rock, funk, and jazz tunes. $12, 9 p.m. 510-525-5054 or Ashkenaz.com (Larry Kelp)

HOMEGROWN FEM-CEES

Let's hear it for the ladies of Oakland's youth-run YMR Records, who dominate Taste Test, the label's latest compilation. Danielle's "Float" is a smooth, R&B-inflected track that could give Floetry a run for its money; Imerald Bay's "Back on the Track" features saucy, sassy rhymes and her hot-ass flow over a slumpin' beat; Nefarteti's "Dig Deep" comes tight on the knowledge tip; Kara's "Scared of Love" offers contemporary singer-songwriter stuff á la India.Arie; and DynaMic & Carina's "The Same" presents headnod-worthy boom-bip, and lyrics that call for more individuality and less predictability in hip-hop culture. The Taste Test record release party goes down Friday at Oakland spot 2232 MLK for only five bones, and for an extra $3, you can take a CD home with you. 2232 MLK.com or chris@youthmovementrecords.org (Eric K. Arnold)

HIPROCKSOUL

Ahmad Jones came up as the rapper Ahmad Ali, scoring high on Billboard charts with the breezy, nostalgic "Back in the Day" back in 1994. His latest innovation is "hiprocksoul," a form he is popularizing with the retro-ish, gospel-influenced rock band 4th Avenue Jones, which performs Saturday at SF's Elbo Room. Crown City Rockers' own DJ Definate, known for mixing Sade ballads with sexy hip-hop beats and studio effects, will open, along with spoken word poet Ise Lyfe. $10, 10 p.m. Elbo.com (R.S.)

SENEGALESE HIP-HOP

Unless you were lucky enough to arrive early enough to the recent Femi Kuti Fillmore show to avoid waiting in the long-ass will-call line, you may have missed opening act Daara J. Which is unfortunate, because the Senegalese trio emerged as one of the leading international hip-hop acts with 2004's Boomerang, an ambitious, well-executed fusion of African, American, and French cultural influences, sung in three languages. Lucky for you, you can catch a full set Saturday at SF Mission hipster mecca 12 Galaxies, plus a solo set by Quannum's Lateef the Truthspeaker and a DJ set by Mike Relm. $13-$15, 9 p.m. 12Galaxies.com (Eric K. Arnold)

AVANT BENEFITS

Most designer drug trips couldn't compete with the unabashedly wacked-out music of Anticon stalwarts Why?, Dosh, Bat Rays, and Alias. Conveniently, they're all featured -- along with many others -- in an all-star avant-blargh showcase Friday and Saturday at SF's Bottom of the Hill. All proceeds benefit the Dax Pierson Recovery Fund, so you can shoegaze, boogie down, or tweak all night, but still feel good about it in the morning. $12, 8:30 p.m. both nights -- additional donations are accepted and encouraged. BottomoftheHill.com (R.S.)

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