Herms' Way 

Pillars of integrity

FRI 5/6

The Herms bob and weave a lot. They can play it staggeringly sweet, as they do on the piano-and-violin ballad "Now Everyone." They can agitate it funky Make-Up-style on "Methylene Baby" or nerd out with their baroque, synthy spoken word on "The Organization." The singer's voice sounds world-weary like David Gedge of the Wedding Present ... except when he sounds like Peter Murphy. The guitar parts don't go anywhere expected, but somehow, to paraphrase XTC, this is pop. A couple of things are for sure: These guys definitely met at Cal, given that -- unless it's an abbreviation for "hermaphrodite" -- the trio took its name from the pillars used as boundary markers on roads and borders in ancient Greece, with Hermes' head usually at the top, and male naughty bits on the base (back when Hermes was a phallic god, not a purse-merchant). And the Herms know how to write and pull off a song. They bring all that to the basement of Berkeley, aka Blake's (2367 Telegraph Ave.) this Friday, headlining a bill that also includes the Warren Teagarden Band, the Krose, Sweet Nothings, and Scream to Reason. The 18-and-up show begins at 9 p.m., and cover is $7 in advance, $8 at the door. Info: 510-048-0886. – Stefanie Kalem

SAT 5/7

Up Front

Frontline headlines

Regardless of how you feel about marketing credos like "New Bay" and "post-New Bay," there's really no denying that the Frontline is one of the funkiest hip-hop groups to emerge from this turf since Three Times Crazy. With ample street cred and beats that slap hard enough to jangle your stereo speakers, emcees Locksmith and Left are stretching the limits of the genre while sustaining a loyal underground fan base -- and, granted, that "Uh Huh" song was probably the first radio hit of 2004 to actually give you goosepimples. The Frontline performs for free this Saturday at People's Park for the ninth annual Hip-Hop in the Park festival. The lineup also features the hard-kicking group the Attik plus three-emcee outfit Lunar Heights, the Procussions, spoken-word poet Ise Lyfe, emcee Rashaan of Crown City Rockers, DJs Phatrick, Treat U Nice, and Riddm, local hip-hop author Jeff Chang, and much more. Noon at 2556 Haste St., Berkeley. – Rachel Swan

5/7-6/5

Plastic Fantastic

Artist Chris Corales Had a Dream I Wanted to Sleep Next to Plastic . The San Francisco-based artist and visual designer constructs bold, colorful assemblages out of found materials -- cardboard boxes, packing tape, labels, etc. -- and then lets his, and your, imagination do the rest. The exhibit opens with a reception this Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Gallery of Urban Art, in the Alpha Real Estate space at 1266 66th St., Suite 1, Emeryville, then runs through June 5. Info: 510-596-0020. -- Kelly Vance

SUN 5/8

Roma If You Want To

Make a Gypsy Crossing

If you've overdosed on dopey, downcast indie rock and could use some neck-hair shivers and a shot of adrenaline, Cal Performances' Gypsy Crossings is your ticket. It's probably some kind of fire hazard to unite Taraf de Haïdouks, a dozen provincial Romanians whose ages span six decades and whose sound spans millennia, with Belgian guitarist Biréli Lagrène, a technically astonishing heartbreaker and the uncontested heir to Django Reinhardt. But it shows how a culture fraught with oppression and perennial marginalization can produce music so gushing with life. Sunday, 7 p.m., Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley. $22-$42. 510-642-9988, CalPerfs.Berkeley.eduJonathan Kiefer

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