Wednesday, like many nights of the week, is heavily metallic at Bourbon Street in Concord (2765 Clayton Rd., 925-676-7272). Tonight's four-pack of headbangers is a 21-and-up show, mostly because it's sponsored by A Shot at the Cabo Wabo, the annual national talent contest where the winner gets a chance to play Sammy Hagar's vomitorium in Cabo San Lucas. Slug down some tequila and lean against something sturdy -- you're about to listen to Mon-Atomik (led by guitarist Marc "Over 1 Million Downloads" Pattison); Limitpoint, a Southern California band ("Wishes of the Subconscious"); X Rated Porno Machine (just try to Google that one, podner); and the pick of the litter, the Bay Area's own A Band Called Pain, a bunch of African-American metalheads from Richmond and Oakland with musicianship a cut above (check out "The Pieces"). Lommori.com/shows.html
Photoo, a new art exhibition at the Oakland Art Gallery in downtown Oakland near City Hall, sneaks up on what it calls "the subvention and subversion of photography" by turning loose a gang of six photogs to detourn and otherwise riff on the big picture with their own hugely self-referential pics. The shots by Lisa Blatt, John Collins, and Nina Zurler appear at first to be color fields -- up close, we can see that "improper" exposure and focus are usually the culprits. For Francesca Pastine, Roy Tomlinson, and Pamela Wilson, photography has more of an abstract painterly role -- cut-and-paste, paint and drawings on photo prints, painted copies of photos, etc. All six artists will be on hand this evening (5-8 p.m.) for the show's reception, 199 Kahn's Alley, Oakland, 510-637-0395. It runs through September 24. OaklandArtGallery.org
Get your Texas cracker on tonight with Wayne "The Train" Hancock, possibly the finest musical storyteller you'll ever encounter -- at least between here and Austin. When he launches into his late-night moaner "Thunderstorms and Neon Signs" or the outlaw roadtrip anthem "Johnny Law," you'll understand why he has been cemented into Hillbilly Swing Hall of Fame by such admirers as Joe Ely and Hank Williams III (who frequently shows up unannounced at Wayne's gigs). Nothing "countrypolitan" about the dude. Hancock, touring behind a best-of CD on the Ark 21 label and Bloodshot Records' For a Decade of Sin compilation, waltzes across Berkeley tonight with you in his eyes at the Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck Ave., 510-841-2082. Stop by and say Boy Howdy. StarryPloughPub.com
Sedge Thomson's West Coast Live wants to be known as "San Francisco's Live Radio Show to the World," and it does reflect a certain sliver of the NorCal zeitgeist in its weekly broadcasts from echt-Bay-Area venues like the Empire Plush Room, SFMOMA, and the Magic Theater. Thomson's favorite haunt, however, is Berkeley's rootsy music hall the Freight & Salvage, where at 10 this morning (doors 9:30), Thomson yaks on the air with author Terry McMillan, singer-songwriter Zoe Lewis, the one-two accordion punch of Big Lou (polka madness) and Odile Levault (Parisian cafe and Argentine tango), and tap dancer (on radio?) Arthur Duncan from the old Lawrence Welk show -- all in front of a live studio audience. That's where you come in. Phone the WCL reservations line at 415-664-9500 or go, if you must, to Ticketweb.com, cough up fifteen bucks, and you're in. Procrastinators and other slackers may tune in to KALW, 91.7 FM for the broadcast.
Just in time for the "intelligent design" vs. evolution debate, Stephen (Godspell) Schwartz and John (Les Miserables) Caird's stage musical Children of Eden, a rock-reggae-gospel-powered look at the Book of Genesis, concludes its short run this afternoon at Highlands Summer Theatre at Cal State East Bay. Adam, Eve, Noah, God, the flood, animals, the creation of Earth viewed as a family sitcom -- they're all there in a production directed by Dawn Monique Williams. Showtime is 2 p.m. at University Theatre, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward. Tickets: $14 general; $10 seniors, youth, faculty, and staff; $8 CSUEB students. Info: 510-885-3261.
The Giants these days are fascinating to watch, like a multicar pileup. But if you're bored with the Barry Bonds cargo cult, constantly searching the horizon waiting for the fabled slugger to appear, there's another reason to come out to SBC Park: Heritage Week. Starting this evening with Irish Night against the visiting Phillies (7:15), fans who buy special tickets at SanFrancisco.giants.mlb.com can get a swell ethnic goodie when they come to the game. The Irish and Italians (August 23) get baseball caps, Jews (August 24) receive a T-shirt with the Hebrew legend "Go Giants!" on it, and on the catch-all Asian-American Night vs. the Mets (August 26), Asian-Am fans will have to make do with a camera -- talk about ethnic stereotyping. What about Latino and African-American Giants fans? Don't they deserve a Heritage Night of their own? The Bay Area is the true home of multiculti, is it not?
The Alameda Art Center's press release for Phonic Thee Bomber's art show stresses that the show's title, If Walls Could Talk These Would Curse, is nonironic. Irony, of course, is a major part of the stock in trade of visual artists, but obviously Phonic, an East Oakland DJ and musician also known as John Middle, is having none of that. His abstract mixed-media on paper pieces bubble over with energy -- with a bit of imagination prompted by the show's handle, it's not difficult to imagine them as angry. The prolific Phonic has reportedly knocked out "thousands" of pieces of work in the last ten years, and a few of them are on display through August 25 in the Studio Annex of the Alameda Art Center (1701 Webster St., 510-748-7888, AlamedaArtCenter.org).
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