Critic's Choice for the week of October 18-24, 2006 

Mis-Counting Crows in San Francisco, Bridge School benefits, and King Khan storms the Stork.

Counting two Crows

Adam Duritz and his funny hair have become something of a Berkeley landmark. The Counting Crows singer can still be spotted rooting for his alma mater at Cal football games or grabbing a beer at the Bear's Lair. He also fronts one of the biggest groups to emerge from the city. But what of his bandmates? Drummer Jim Bogios and guitarist David Immergluck, both local boys, have been playing global-village-rock in their Glider side project since 1998. For a chance to see what they can do sans Duritz, plus openers Brad Wolfe & the Moon and Wish Inflicted, head to Cafe du Nord Saturday, October 21. 9 p.m., $8. CafeDuNord.com (Nate Seltenrich)

Amadeus the Birthday Boy

Thanks to Robert Cole's unerring discrimination, Cal Performances continues to deserve Critic's Choices. This Sunday, an all-Mozart program in Zellerbach Hall unites pianist Emanuel Ax and the leaderless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. The combo stands out for excellence, execution, and repertoire with Piano Concertos No. 17 in G major, No. 25 in C major, Overture to Cosi fan tutte, and Symphony No. 35. Sunday, October 22. 3 p.m., $34-$58. CalPerfs.berkeley.edu (Jason Victor Serinus)

SoCal Hip-Hop

West Coast hip-hop label Stones Throw hosts a multi-artist party at the Mezzanine in San Francisco this week, bringing Oxnard producer Madlib, label boss Peanut Butter Wolf, plus J. Rocc and Percee P to the Bay to drum up sales for their latest Adult Swim collaboration Chrome Children, which dropped quietly on October 3. Children defines eclectic with appearances by MF Doom, the late J Dilla, M.E.D. and Madlib's five-piece jazz band Yesterday's News Quintet. As fluid as it is fun, expect the Chrome Children Tour to start and end late, with lots of blunts and guests mixed in with old jazz and soul samples cut up into a danceable, grooving pastiche. Occasionally, someone will rap. This is as classy and erudite as genuine hip-hop can get, and it's a steal for the price and venue. Thursday, October 19. 9 p.m. $15. MezzanineSF.com (D2)

Interplanetary Rock

San Francisco's outstanding prog-rock band Crime in Choir celebrates the release of its new album Trumpery Metier with a show at 12 Galaxies on Thursday, October 19. The title track expands on the mission of the band's 2004 release, The Hoop, with dense soundscapes created by Kenny Hooper's Rhodes wizardry and saxman Matt Waters of local free-jazz metal faves the Mass blasting his way through the cosmos. Experimental but never disorienting, Crime in Choir's change-ups always have one foot earthbound. The band plays with Tussle and Upsilon Crux at 9 p.m. $8. 12Galaxies.com (Kathleen Richards)

Benefit Bash

Festivals come and go, but the Bridge School Benefit is still going strong after twenty years thanks to Neil and Pegi Young's dedication to the school for severely physically impaired children. Standout moments from years past include Ministry's Al Jourgensen going acoustic, Tom Waits hunched over his piano, and Patti Smith singing with arms uplifted facing the kids onstage. This year will no doubt add to the history book with acoustic performances by Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Brian Wilson, Foo Fighters, Trent Reznor, Death Cab for Cutie, Gillian Welch, Devendra Banhart, and, of course, Neil Young. At Shoreline Amphitheatre on Saturday, October 21 at 4 p.m. and Sunday, October 22 at 1 p.m. $39.50, $75, $150. ShorelineAmp.com (K.R.)

Special Sauce

No, there's no grilling at this show. BBQ is the one-man band Mark Sultan, who sits on a stool playing guitar with his hands and drums with his feet, all while screaming into a microphone. King Khan is a dude formerly known as Black Snake, who plays guitar and hops around Chuck Berry-style. Together, they play raucous garage rock that injects mushy '60s soul. Sweet. The King Khan & BBQ Show is on tour in support of its new album, What's for Dinner, and plays with Mothballs and Traditional Fools at the Stork Club on Thursday, October 19. 9 p.m., $5. StorkClubOakland.com (K.R.)

Germans in da House

Kruder and Dorfmeister's Peter Kruder is lending his dubby, downtempo cachet to a new collaboration with Christian Prommer and Roland Appel of German drum 'n' bass royalty FaunaFlash. The three eclectic, electric Germans call the act Voom Voom and appear at Mezzanine this Sunday to spin and cue up work from their new !K7 album Peng Peng. Expect expert skills in deep house, fortified funk, jazzy downtempo, and soothing ambient; the kind of Euro-party only San Francisco can pull off. "Ja! Pass the E!" Sunday, October 21. 9 p.m.-4 a.m., $20. Mezzanine.com (D2)

Veruca Salt?

Hey? Wasn't there once a '90s female-fronted rock band that played loud, bitchy songs like "Seether" and "Volcano Girls"? Didn't it seem as good as Hole, if only for two seconds shorter than Hole seemed good? What happened to all that? The answer: drugs, alcohol, and failed interpersonal communication. This week, one-hit wonders Veruca Salt return to the Bay sporting a whole different lineup (except for frontwoman Louise Post) and a new record at the merch table that's allegedly big in Australia. Whatever. They still do "Volcano Girls," and have been known to cover Nirvana's "Negative Creep." The whole thing is a perfect '90s-flashback warm-up for Alice in Chains in November. With the Strays and Agent Sparks Monday, October 23, at the Cafe du Nord in SF. 9 p.m., $15. CafeduNord.com (D2)

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