Critic's Choice for the week of September 15-21, 2004 

Our writers tell you what's hot this week.

BEATS 'N' RHYMES

Love 'em or hate 'em, you gotta respect the Beastie Boys for sticking to their shtick long enough to attain legendary (if not quite mythical) status. On their recent "comeback" album, To the Five Boroughs, Ad-Rock, Mike D, and MCA reintroduced old-fashioned hip-hop values to jaded critics and rawk fans alike, holding it down for true-school fans who still write graffiti at bus stops despite now having day jobs. When the Beastie men grab their bozacks, it's still in the name of fun, even if they've taken a "serious" turn with all the Meaningful Lyrical Statements on Five Boroughs. But neither that nor those Buddhist b-boy stances can stop the party from jumping off Thursday and Friday nights -- especially with Mix Master Mike on the 1 and 2s. Talib Kweli opens up the show, which promises an entertaining mix of pop culture references, witty punch lines, MC gymnastics, and classic hip-hop flava. To the beat, y'all. Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove St., San Francisco 415-478-2277. Tickets are $37.50, 7:30 p.m. both nights, though Thursday is sold out, sucka. BGP.com (Eric K. Arnold)

DANCIN'

East Bay guitarist Henry Kaiser's concert schedule is as unpredictable as the music he plays. After months off the scene following the release of his acclaimed second Yo Miles! CD collaboration with Wadada Leo Smith (celebrating the electric music of Miles Davis), Kaiser has been popping up with his Grooves of Mystery playing fun dance-rock tunes. The band plays a final concert Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. at Berkeley's Ashkenaz before he heads off on his second Antarctic expedition, this time as lead research scuba diver. In this configuration, Kaiser and blues lap-steel great Freddie Roulette trade licks, joined by drummer John Hanes, bassist Dave Jess, singer Cary Sheldon, and singer-guitarist Joe Rut. Expect anything from Miles riffs to rock novelties ("Ode to Billie Joe") to Grateful Dead asides, all for dancing. $9. 510-525-5054 or Ashkenaz.com (Larry Kelp)

BRIT BOMBAST

You're unlikely to find a "modern rock" CD more melodramatically ludicrous than Muse's Absolution, which picks up where Radiohead's The Bends left off with badass guitars, over-the-top vocal bombast, and doom-pop melodies to die for. "Time Is Running Out" alone justifies Live 105's existence. Though we missed the deified Brit trio on the Curiosa tour, the band hits the Warfield in SF Tuesday night. Go. $20, 8 p.m. BGP.com (Rob Harvilla)

NORTEñO

For decades, Promociones Valdivia has presented the finest talents in Mexican regional music at the Newark Pavilion. The spacious hall, nestled at 6430 Thornton Avenue, has served as a launching pad for regional greats like Los Tigres del Norte. This Saturday night, Los Inquietos del Norte, Eduardo Trujillo y Su Banda Limonense, Banda la Mera Mera, and El Tunero provide a lineup for some kick-up-your-heels dancing! 8 p.m., $25. 510-595-5599. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)

COUNTRY/THRASH ROCK

The Supersuckers, who took their name from a porno novel, modestly bill themselves as "The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band in the World," a boast they back up with blistering energy, monster chops, and sharp, nasty tunes that mine the darkest impulses of hard rock and honky-tonk country. They've backed Willie Nelson on The Tonight Show and cracked Billboard's Indie Chart, but it's the Suckers' live shows that win converts to the cause. They rock the Cafe du Nord in San Francisco tonight (country show), Thursday (rock show), and Friday (all Suckers, all night). 9 p.m., $12-$14 per night. 415-861-5016 or CafeduNord.com (j. poet)

BLACK DRUIDS

The term "Afro-Celtic" might make you think of a Mel Gibson movie starring Snoop Dogg, but it actually applies to Baka Beyond, which fuses African and Irish musical traditions in a way you never thought was possible on its most recent CD, 2002's East to West. If you've ever dreamed of hearing mandolins and koras (or uilleann pipes and djembes) playing together in perfect harmony, this is a group you've got to see for yourself. They'll be doing the tribal alchemy thing at Yoshi's -- transforming the venue's focus from world-class jazz to world-class world music for two nights -- so grab your kilt and your dashiki and check it out. Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 21-22. 8 p.m. ($20) and 10 p.m. ($12) both nights. 510-238-9200 or Yoshis.com (E.K.A.)

RANCHERO

Celebrate Mexican Independence at the Oakland Convention Center (in the Hyatt Regency Hotel) Saturday night with Lupillo Rivera, Los Originales de San Juan, and Chuy Chavez Jr. All are leading Mexican artists, but Lupillo is a ranchero superstar -- he's part of a musical family from Long Beach that, under the direction of his father, Don Pedro Rivera, has spawned a dynasty with sister Jenni and brothers Gustavo and Juan. 7 p.m., $40. 510-548-4040 (J.C.V.)

CLASSICAL

An unusual musical combination comes our way Tuesday night as the clarinetist, pianist, and violin/viola players of the STRATA Trio open Berkeley Chamber Performances' season in the Berkeley City Club. Featuring clarinetist Nathan Williams -- a prizewinner in the Eastman Concerto and Naumburg international competitions -- the trio performs Milhaud's Suite, Schumann's Fairy Tales, Rebecca Clarke's Duo for Viola and Clarinet, and contemporary American composer Don Freund's Triomusic. $20, 8 p.m. 510-525-5211. (Jason Victor Serinus)

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