Critic's Choice for the week of June 15-21, 2005 

Our writers tell you what's hot this week.

PUNK

Deafening metal guitar riffs, pop-style bass licks, and grisly blood-sport lyrics congeal in the music of Shadowboxer, the Bay Area hardcore band fronted by Screw 32 emeritus Andrew Champion. Saturday the band opens for bubbly Oakland-raised punkers the Clorox Girls (who've garnered a national fan base with their peppy self-titled LP) at West Berkeley's famed 924 Gilman. The lineup also includes the Observers and the Diskords. $7, 8 p.m. 510-525-9926 or 924Gilman.org (Rachel Swan)

RICHMOND FREEDOM GALAS

Juneteenth might sound like a made-up holiday, but it actually commemorates a significant event in the history of African Americans -- namely, the Emancipation Proclamation of 1865, when slavery was officially abolished. Richmond marks the occasion Saturday with a parade starting at 10 a.m. on 11th St. and Macdonald Ave., followed by a family-friendly festival at Nichol Park. Performers include the Bay Area Blues Society Caravan of All-Stars, local gospel star Tonex, Lenny Williams (Tower of Power), the Richmond Jazz Ensemble, and many more. Let freedom ring, indeed. Free. 510-715-6225. (Eric K. Arnold)

GOTHIC COUNTRY

Blanche is a band, not a person, that plays a disjointed style of noisy Americana that could be described as the Carter Family meets the Addams Family -- members dress like they've just stepped off of the set of Deadwood and play dark music marked by skewed rhythms and sinister lyrics that'll keep you on the edge of your seat. Retro-swing duo the Ditty Bops headline. Tuesday at SF's Great American Music Hall. $13, 8 p.m. 415-885-0750 or GAMH.com (j. poet)

LATIN JAZZ

Around 1984, sax legend Stan Getz came by KJAZ Radio in Alameda literally holding Diane Schuur by the hand -- he helped introduce the spry vocalist and did a lot to spark her career. Now, "Deedles," as folks call her, is a Concord Records diva with critical acclaim. Her latest album, Schuur Fire, is a departure collaborating with the Caribbean Jazz Project on a collection of pop standards with Latin rhythms. She appears Thursday through Sunday with the CJP at Yoshi's in Oakland. $20-$24, 8 and 10 p.m. nightly except Sunday (8 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee). 510-238-9200 or Yoshis.com (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)

STRETCHY JAZZ

Joshua Redman has come a long way since his Berkeley High days. Having conquered New York and furthered the legacy of his famous dad, Dewey, he's taken over as artistic director of SFJAZZ while dropping impressive albums like his latest, Momentum (credited to the Joshua Redman Elastic Band). The key concept to remember is that Redman & Co. can stretch out like Plastic Man on muscle relaxers, handling everything from traditional jazz to funk fusion with finesse and grace -- they even attempt (and pull off) a cover of Zeppelin's "The Crunge." Redman's impeccable saxophone technique will be on display Saturday night when the Elastic Band headlines the Great American Music Hall. Nicholas Payton's Sonic Trance opens. $30, two shows, 8 and 10:30 p.m. GAMH.com (E.K.A.)

ENIGMATIC DJS

Part of ?uestlove's appeal is that his mind twists in funky directions. Take last year's famous Believer interview, in which the Philly-raised DJ and Roots drummer suggested that "crack cocaine, money, Ronald Reagan, and al-Qaeda" are all grist for good hip-hop, while "Bill Clinton, peace, and chiseled male bodies" are counterproductive and tend to stifle rappers' creativity. His tweaked-out sensibility also shows up in the way he conceptualizes his mixes, which are less about technical expertise or beatmatching than about creating a seamless emotional tone. He performs tonight at SF's Club Mighty along with the X-Ecutioners' Rob Swift, Alphazeta, the Oakland Faders, and DJ Macguyver. $10, 9 p.m. (R.S.)

FOLK

Berkeley folk-rocker Jennifer Berezan has been so busy leading pilgrimages to the world's sacred spots and staging her mammoth Praises for the World musical that it's taken her seven years between CDs. Now she celebrates the release of new album End of Desire with a concert Friday at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage, featuring a gang of onstage friends and a collection of catchy new songs. The Praises DVD has just been issued, which is the only way most people can see Berezan's enormous fifty-performer production, including Gloria Steinem and Alice Walker, dancers and aerial artists, shamans, priestesses, and soloists from Salamat to Linda Tillery and Patti Cathcart. $19.50-$20.50, 8 p.m. 510-548-1761. (Larry Kelp)

NERDY RAPPERS

What's not to love about Oakland's favorite bespectacled B-boy, Mr. Lif? After all, he's that rare species of emcee who has grit and geekiness in equal measure, known for busting chic electric boogie moves while he raps about Noam Chomsky's pipeline theory. Lif performs with Def Jux's fast-talking, formidable street poet, Aesop Rock, Thursday at the Fillmore in SF. DJ Big Wiz opens. $20, 9 p.m. (R.S.)

WEIRD STUFF

New Music Bay Area's annual summer solstice stroll through the otherworldly acoustics of Oakland's Julia Morgan-designed Chapel of the Chimes takes place next to Mountain View Cemetery Tuesday evening. Join more than a thousand other lovers of the unusual as you stumble upon Monique Buzzarte, Sarah Cahill, Miguel Frasconi, Mills College Didjeridoo, Amy X Neuburg, William Winant, Paul Dresher, and more than thirty other performers making extraordinary music out of the unexpected. $5-$10, 5-9 p.m. 415-563-6355, ex. 3. (Jason Victor Serinus)

POP

The latest Eels opus, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, is almost exuberant, a double-disc collection of delicate pop, new wave rockers, and quiet meditations of this imperfect life. Mr. E. is bringing along a string section for this gig, which should add some delicate shading to works usually painted in various shades of black and blue. Tonight at SF's Great American Music Hall. $25 (sold out, alas), 8 p.m. 415-885-0750 or GAMH.com (j.p.)

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