Critic's Choice for the week of June 2, 8, 2004 

Our writers tell you what's hot this week.


Attention, all knock-kneed bimbos walkin' like hos: Steer clear of Concord's Tommy T's comedy club Friday night, as the Bumpasaurus Sir Mix-a-Lot himself intends to bombard the masses with booty-obsessed pop-rap that will climax, gloriously, with "Baby Got Back," the greatest rap song of all time. He's got a new album (Daddy's Home) to plug, but it actually ain't all that bad, particularly "Big Johnson." Trust us. $20-$25; it'll start whenever he damn well wants to start it. 925-686-6809. (Rob Harvilla)


Stan Ridgway created his signature country 'n' Southwestern style with Wall of Voodoo. Since leaving that band, he's created a body of moody, noir-tinged work that fits into no genre but its own. His bleak, snide vocal style and off-kilter rhythms sound ever more timely as America continues its downward slide into the inferno. Tuesday at the Starry Plough in Berkeley, $10, 8:30 p.m. 510-841-2082. (j. poet)


Berkeley enjoys a healthy dose of salsa every weekend at Maiko's (1629 San Pablo Ave.), featuring the region's top ensembles. Right now the hot thing in Puerto Rico is salsa gorda (fat salsa), which draws from the music's '60s and '70s heyday. In the Bay Area, Orquesta Borinquen carries that torch. Heavily influenced by the Fania All Stars, the group is led by trumpet-playing director Bill Ortega Jr. Started in 1993, the outfit plays original and classic salsa, featuring timbalero and vocalist Alberto "Biki" Torres. $12. 510-527-8226. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)


Although still better known to fellow world musicians than the public, Brazilian-born percussion master Airto Moreira is one of the most influential performing artists of the past few decades. After he brought his unique jungle-meets-jazz style into the Miles Davis band in 1969 and then became a founding member of both Weather Report and Return to Forever, every jazz and fusion group that sprang up from McCoy Tyner to Pat Metheny's band hired its own Brazilian percussionist. Since then, Airto has recorded and toured with everyone from Mickey Hart to Paul Simon to Quincy Jones. With a new CD, Life After That, this time the focus is solely on Airto, as he brings his Jam Band (featuring vocalist wife Flora Purim) into Yoshi's Thursday through Sunday and explores new realms of percussion. Shows at 8 and 10 p.m.; Sunday's family matinee's at 2 with an evening show at 8. $10-$20, $5 for children Sunday afternoon. 510-238-9200. (Larry Kelp)


When you're nerdy-lookin', indie-rock-obsessed, and impossibly brainy, you can never have too many friends to protect you from getting beat up. Fortunately, Kurt Wagner has Lambchop, his Nashville-based mini-orchestra whose membership numbers well into the teens. The gang brings its lush, literate rock stylee to the Fillmore Friday night with the Court and Spark. 9 p.m., $20. 415-346-6000. (R.H.)


Velvet Revolver is proof that the world is safe for the excesses of rock again. This rock supergroup joins three former Guns N' Roses members -- Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum -- with former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland. Just imagine the bacchanalia backstage. The band sounds exactly as you'd expect: like Weiland singing along to GNR, tight rock with lots of attitude. Catch the circus when it rolls into the Warfield Monday night. 8 p.m., $22.75. 415-775-7722. (Michael Gowan)


If Mozart was reincarnated in the late 20th century, might he have become a pop songwriter? Find out this Saturday, when the Pacific Mozart Ensemble presents its annual A Cappella Jazz & Pop Concert at Berkeley's Crowden School. Dave Brubeck chose this ensemble to perform at his Brubeck Festival 2004, and Kent Nagano ask them to sing for a new recording. Translation: a potential eye-opener. $20, $15 students/seniors. 7:30 p.m. 415-705-0848. (Jason Victor Serinus)


On her latest CD, Sketches of Broadway, longtime Manhattan Transfer member Janis Siegel dips into the Great American Songbook for a collection of favorites from Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim, and other heavies. She'll bring her splendid vocal ability and small combo to town on Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 ($16) and 10 p.m. ($10) at Yoshi's. 510-238-9200. (j.p.)


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