Critic's Choice for the week of March 15-21, 2006 

International scratchmasters, urbane brassmasters, and people banging on shit.

ENTERPRISING emcees

Local rapper D Labrie is all about his hustle. He's known for calling up sleepyhead reporters at 1 a.m. on a Saturday just to, well, ramble: Yeah, well, I figured other eclectic minds might be up at this time. I'm driving back to my house in Tracy and I just wanna talk to you about this little album I'm doing. The Jacka is also all about hustling, though having come up as a crack dealer with an enviable talent for jacking other people's shit, he's a lot rougher around the edges. Both emcees perform Friday afternoon at Oakland's Youth Uprising Center, along with Raman Jamal, KDoe, the Unity High DJ Project, Best of the East Bay laureate Azeem, the Youth Uprising Dancers, and many more. Sponsored by the Hip Hop Congress, R.E.F.U.G.E., and Weekend Wake-Up, this all-ages show starts at 4 p.m. and costs nothing. YouthUprising.org (Rachel Swan)

SOUL IN THE HOLE

Remember the days before hip-hop, when black radio meant more than just the latest hyphy anthems and Bootsy Collins wore the original stunna shades? Bay Area scribe and noted DJ and crate-digga Oliver "O-Dub" Wang has curated an exquisite fourteen-track collection of old-school soul and R&B called Soul Sides Volume One, which features such immaculately funky chestnuts as Donny Hathaway's version of "Jealous Guy" and Erma Franklin (yeah, Aretha's sister) throwing down "Piece of My Heart" -- both tunes hold their own against the famous Lennon and Joplin versions. Hear what you've been missing Saturday at SF's Amnesia, when the Soul Sides record release party goes down at fellow crate-digga supreme Vinnie Esparza's monthly party Hella Tight. Get there early enough (it starts around 10 p.m.) and you might score some free music. AmnesiatheBar.com (Eric K. Arnold)

FOLK POP

Girlyman, as the band's name implies, is out to destroy the notion of gender as we know it. Think of the folk-pop group as a gay Peter, Paul & Mary, battling the forces of oppression and stupidity with close harmonies, ensemble playing, and witty original tunes. Catch it tonight at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage. $17.50-$18.50, 8 p.m. 510-548-1761 or TheFreight.org (j. poet)

international

scratchmasters

France now has its very own Invisibl Skratch Piklz thanks to the four-DJ crew Birdy Nam Nam, whose eponymous debut is a Wave Twister-esque symphonic mash of solely turntable-taken samples, It's fitting these four international scratchmasters are making a Bay Area stop Tuesday night at SF's newly opened Bar of Contemporary Art (BOCA), where they'll hopefully soak up the remnants of Q-Bert, Mixmaster Mike, and Shortkut's turntable karma. The show's part of BOCA's grand opening week celebration: $7-$10, 10 p.m. Blasthaus.com (Berwin Song)

QUESTING JAZZ

When he came to Yoshi's recently as the tenor saxophonist in the all-star "Night of the Cookers" bebop revival band, Billy Harper displayed technical brilliance as a team player. But leading his own quintet at Yoshi's in 8 and 10 p.m. shows Thursday through Saturday (with a Sunday family matinee at 2 followed by the 8 p.m. closer), Harper can open up and soar in his spiritual quest for boundary-breaking jazz. There just aren't many who come anywhere near Harper's approach to music as a life force -- joining the hunt are bandmates Francesca Tanksley on piano, trumpeter Keyon Harrald, bassist Clarence Seay, and drummer Newman Taylor Baker. $12-$20, 510-238-9200 or Yoshis.com (Larry Kelp)

PEOPLE BANGING ON SHIT

Maybe you're one of those people who used to tape-record yourself banging on pans or clinking empty bottles with a spoon (look, some of us did, okay?). Or you used to seriously geek out whenever Sesame Street aired that clip about the dudes who could make steel drums out of garbage cans. If either instance rings a bell (or bangs a pot), you'll definitely want to check out Wailing Junk Symphony. Billing itself as a blend of international influences -- everything from Sun Ra to Brazilian batucada -- the band mixes traditional instruments with found objects like buckets and kitchen utensils. Wailing Junk performs Sunday at Berkeley's Capoeira Arts Cafe; the show starts at 4 p.m. and costs $15 for adults, $7.50 for teens, and nothing for children under twelve. CapoeiraArts.com (R.S.)

CLASSICAL

Bach Collegium Japan -- founded in 1999 by conductor, harpsichordist, and organist Masaaki Suzuki -- returns to Cal Performances Saturday night for a ten-person, all-instrumental Bach program. With Suzuki at the harpsichord, the ensemble will brighten Berkeley's First Congregational Church with the Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor, Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor, Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins, and beloved Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major. $42, 8 p.m. 510-642-9988. (Jason Victor Serinus)

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