Critic's Choice for the week of January 7-13, 2004 

Our scribes tell you where to go and what to listen to this week.

LOCAL FLAVA

Living Legends member Bicasso is a hell of a live performer. His style fits somewhere in between Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Arrested Development, and Prince, and he's anything but boring or predictable onstage. He has this one song that goes, "I don't exactly know what you do/But I see through you/And you're way too cool ..." It's one of those rare hip-hop jams that strikes a true chord of emotional resonance, and the best part is, nobody gets shot at the end. If you're lucky, you'll hear Bicasso perform that song Saturday night at the Shattuck Downlow Lounge, along with plenty of new material -- it's his CD release party, after all. DJ Sake 1 completes the bill, spinning hip-hop and dancehall. 510-548-1159. (Eric K. Arnold)

CLASSICAL

The New Century Chamber Orchestra offers some tantalizing morsels in St. John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley Thursday night. Serving as a main course a piece equally appropriate for dessert -- Mozart's much-loved Eine Kleine Nachtmusik -- the aptly titled "A Little Night Music" program also includes Mendelssohn's String Symphony No. 8 and Ginastera's far more spicy Concerto for Strings. 415-357-1111. (Jason Victor Serinus)

PUNK

Drummer Marky Ramone & the Speedkings had promised to take us on a quick trip back to the glory days of New York's punk movement Sunday at Blake's in Berkeley, delivering their blistering re-creation of the Ramones' back catalogue. No more: Marky, alas, has canceled. But for those still seeking a punk rock nostalgia fix, the Ramones/Misfits cover band Green Hell will step up to the plate instead, with Stiletta and the Caps opening up. 510-928-0068. (j. poet)

HIP-HOP CLASSICS

Slick Rick is everyone's favorite old-school MC. The author of such classic rhymes as "La Di Da Di," "Mona Lisa," "Children's Story," and "The Show" has been celebrated in song by De La Soul ("Eyepatch") and covered by Snoop Dogg -- quite a compliment, indeed. On tour to celebrate the recent rescinding of his deportation order, the guy who made Kangol hats and Polo cologne synonymous with hip-hop coolness makes a stop at Hip Hop 101 Friday night at 550 Barneveld in San Francisco. Also appearing will be Lyrics Born and De La DJ Maseo, plus Sake 1 and Jay Yzer. Be there or regret it for the rest of your life. Advance tickets available at BrownPaperTickets.com (E.K.A.)

OLD-TIMEY JAZZ

Most artists don't hand-draw cartoons anymore, and today's cartoon music sounds similarly computer-generated. So local jazzer Jeff Sanford wants to make sure we don't forget how good we had it during cartoons' heyday with a concert of Raymond Scott's compositions played by his thirteen-member CartoonJazz band. Never mind that Scott was a small-band composer in the big-band era, or that he didn't actually write for cartoons -- his wonderfully wild tunes became the backbone of Looney Tunes in the '40s anyway, and they're kept alive by musicians like clarinetist Don Byron or Holland's Beau Hunks when they're not being recycled on The Simpsons. CartoonJazz faithfully re-creates Scott's small instrumental gems, from "Powerhouse" to "Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals" to a lot more. Even if the titles aren't familiar, the music will be. 510-548-1761. (Larry Kelp)

NOISY-ASS PRANKSTERS

If you prefer rock 'n' roll that makes you feel as if someone pushed you down the stairs of an M.C. Escher painting, get thee to SF's Elbo Room Wednesday for a vicious triple-bill of noise-rockin' avant-gardists, including indie darlins Deerhoof, the electroclashin' Crack: We Are Rock, and the always fabulous Flying Luttenbachers. 415-552-7788. (Rob Harvilla)

ELECTRO-FUNK THROWDOWNS

Afrika Bambaataa is probably best remembered as the hip-hop godfather responsible for the universal Zulu Nation and 1983's über-monster jam, "Planet Rock," which blended Ennio Morricone, Kraftwerk, and the melodic rhymes of the SoulSonic Force MCs. But Bam also is known as the "Master of Records," and his eclectic, funky DJ gigs can be a literal journey through sound. Don't expect to hear Bam spin too many old-school breaks Saturday at SF's Club 6ix, but you will hear plenty of electro-funk to get your booty shakin' and your shelltoes breakin'. Some of the best local DJs around will also be in the house, including Apollo, J-Boogie, Zeph & Platurn, and Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist. 415-531-6593. (E.K.A.)

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