Critic's Choice for the week of September 27- October 3, 2006 

Digital Beck, Delta blues, and your best Karen O face — yeah, yeah, yeah!

Samba Tidings!

Singer-songwriter Kevin Welch has had a love affair with Brazilian music and culture since visiting the country as a student in the 1990s. For almost ten years, he led the outstanding Brazil fusion group Vivendo de Pão. For the longest time, that band played a potent brew of samba, jazz, and folk every Tuesday night at the Elbo Room in SF's Mission District; producing two albums then breaking up last year. This Friday at the Elbo Room, Kevin hosts a CD release party for his new album and band, Boca do Rio. The music is original, with provocative lyrics in both Portuguese and English, and driven by pulsating samba beats. Friday, September 29. 10 p.m., $10. Elbo.com (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)

A Shot of Mundo

Oakland's Oasis nightclub is primarily known as a spot for reggae music, yet it recently branched out into world music with "Mundo," held the last Saturday of every month. Mundo supports reggaetón, salsa, cumbia, bhangra, Afrobeat, merengue, and hip-hop, along with dancehall. This month, resident DJ Erick Santero will be joined by guests Marcella, Omar, and Marto, who invite you to expand your earspace globally and take advantage of the club's outdoor patio while it's still Indian summer. Saturday, September 30. 10 p.m., $7. 135 12th St., Oakland. 510-763-0404. (Eric K. Arnold)

Your 'Karen O' Face

Beck has a new album on the way, and if you're lucky, he might text-message you about it during the second annual Download Festival. That's the concept being marketed by the UK-imported music festival (hosted by Clear Channel), which encourages the intermingling (read: consumption) of music and technology through mobile communication (backstage chats with the artists), video, photo, gaming, and other gadget-related stuff. Still, you won't want to miss this lineup, which includes the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Shins, TV on the Radio, Rogue Wave, Wolfmother, and more on Saturday, September 30. 2:30 p.m., $30-$50. ShorelineAmp.com (Kathleen Richards)

Delta Blues, Euro Shoes

Bronx-born Bruce Molsky fell in love with the old-time sounds of Southern mountain music, learned it, and over the past decade has become one of its great champions. For his show at the Freight this week, he is being billed as "the Rembrandt of Appalachia," but that makes him sound like a stuffy museum piece. When he plays and sings, whether it's fiddle, banjo, or guitar, the music exudes such lively immediacy that it's difficult to imagine any style more contemporary or fun. Molsky is often involved with any number of groupings from folk to Celtic, but on his own (his sixth CD, Soon Be Time, is strictly solo) he conjures up a world of music, and not just old-time, as he delves into everything from Delta blues to Eastern European folk strains. Wednesday, October 4. 8 p.m., $18.50/$19.50. TheFreight.org (Larry Kelp)

Dark, Dooooom!

Swiss metal pioneers Celtic Frost may have had a turbulent, inconsistent history since forming in 1984, but one thing is certain: Its influence on the genre has been universally profound. In May, the band — singer and guitarist Tom Gabriel Fischer, bassist Martin Eric Ain, and drummer Franco Sesa — released Monotheist, a dark, doomy haze of dropped guitar tuning and the band's first original material since 1989. They stop at the Fillmore on Tuesday, October 3, with Goatwhore, Sunn O))), & 1349 as part of their first North American tour in seventeen years. 8 p.m., $29.50. TheFillmore.com (K.R.)

Northwest Grunginess

Featuring three-fourths of Seattle garage rockers the Catheters, Tall Birds distill the aforementioned band's style into a decidedly acid-tripping, Blow-Up-worthy psychedelia. The explosion of sound gives more than a subtle nod to their influences, most notably the Velvet Underground, picking up where fellow Seattleites Wellwater Conspiracy left off. Tall Birds play in support of their just-released Sub Pop 7-inch with the Owners on Thursday, September 28 at the Stork Club in Oakland. 9 p.m., $5. StorkClubOakland.com (K.R.)

Brassy Knights

Ask any Europeans about Berkeley's Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and they'll immediately mention their unique collaborations with the Mark Morris Dance Company. Don't miss your five chances to experience these two great ensembles together in Purcell's King Arthur. The production, which opens Saturday night with other performances Tuesday and Friday through Sunday, is directed by the brilliant Morris, and features the original English National Opera vocal cast, but with the period-instrument Baroque Orchestra under veteran conductor Jane Glover doing the instrumental honors. Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, Saturday, September 30, 8 p.m.; Tuesday, October 3., 8 p.m. $42-$110. CalPerfs.berkeley.edu (Jason Victor Serinus)

Torch Songs

Madeleine Peyroux is a singer's singer, a vocalist with an understated approach that imbues every word with a subtle emotional power. There's a hint of Billie Holiday's bluesy resignation in her delivery, but Peyroux is her own woman, able to bring her tales of lost love and heartbreak to devastating life. Her band provides a classy, restrained backdrop for her forlorn explorations. Tuesday, October 3 at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. 8 p.m., $29.50-49.50. ParamountTheatre.com (j. poet)

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