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5th Anniversary Bash 

When: Sat., Jan. 3, 9 p.m. 2009
Price: $8

The band may be named after a nasty tropical virus, but there's nothing ill-inducing about Los Angeles' Dengue Fever. Led by the enchanting ChhomNimol, Dengue Fever creates an uncommon sound that can be psychedelic and entrancing ("Seeing Hands," sung in Khmer), playful and quirky ("Tiger Phone Card"), and downright hypnotizing ("Sleepwalking Through the Mekong"). It's like a sublime soundtrack to a kitschy '60s Cambodian spy movie, where Nimol is the dangerously mysterious singer in a smoky lounge who could either help you or kill you. Or so you could imagine, at least, on Friday, Jan. 2 when the band plays the Rickshaw Stop's (155 Fell St., San Francisco) 5th Anniversary Bash along with singer-songwriter Goh Nakamura. 9 p.m., $8. RickshawStop.com


— Kathleen Richards

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