Critic's Choice for the week of April 4-April 10, 2007 

The Killers sell out, Mills College experiments, and Marley's Ghost manifests at the Freight.

Bone Rock

The Killers sold out the ten-bajillion-capacity Bill Graham Civic Center this week, which is no small feat until you remember that the Vegas rock quartet aimed straight for the reptilian brain when it recorded "When You Were Young" for its 2007 album Sam's Town. That freaking three-note synth riff, as well as the word "Jesus" and "gentleman," are guaranteed to head straight to the medulla, where your first kiss and first fight reside side by side. Expect some of its 2004 album Hot Fuss, most of Sam's Town, and more ass than a train-station bathroom. Saturday, April 7. 7:30 p.m., $38.50. (D2)

Double-Bass Bonanza

Double-bassist and improvisational composer Stefano Scodanibbio has drawn praise from the likes of John Cage, Terry Riley, and Giacinto Scelsi. How wonderful to discover him performing for no charge this Friday, April 6, in UC Berkeley's Hertz Hall, sponsored by CNMAT and the Department of Music. There's also a free lecture on Friday the 13th at 3 p.m. in 125 Morrison, sponsored by the UC Berkeley Regent's Lecture Program. 8 p.m., free. (Jason Victor Serinus)

Return of the Divas

If you didn't get enough of Les Nubians last time they graced the Shattuck Down Low, the Afro-Franco divas are back this week, and this time, mais oui, with a full band. Expect to hear smoove diasporan hip-hop/funk, Cubanized reggae, groovy Eurosoul, sensual Sade covers, and, of course, the signature anthem "Makeda" — a shout-out to the queen of Sheba. Local lovelies Jennifer Johns and DJ Mei-Lei get the party started. Friday, April 6. 9 p.m., $25. (Eric K. Arnold)

Satan's Mills

Art and music lodestar 21 Grand in Oakland presents an evening of Mills College kids doing what they do best — freaking you out. Expect experimental music from current students and recent alumni including the Allbee/Shelton/Walter Trio, Bones, and If Volition, Then. After studying with the likes of Fred Frith, Maggi Nichols, Chris Brown and other innovators, the students have spread out sonically and joined the electronica, noise, and rock scenes of the East Bay, consistently pushing boundaries and challenging complacency. Thursday, April 5. 8:30 p.m., $6-$10. All ages. (D2)

Solo Troubadour

While it's easy to write off John Hammond as some white guy who's been dusting off relics from a seemingly antiquated genre of music since his 1962 self-titled debut, he has done a nice job staying relevant. Despite almost exclusively covering others' songs, the sixtysomething icon been putting pen to paper in the past four years and taken some interesting creative detours. As if 2001's Wicked Grin, an album of all-Tom Waits songs produced by Waits himself, didn't get blues purists peeved enough, Hammond tapped folk-rapper G. Love (aka Garrett Dutton) to produce the recently released Push Comes to Shove. And while originals and songs by Waits, Junior Wells, and Dion make for an eclectic mix, a radically reworked version of Sonny Thompson's "Tore Down" will get tongues wagging. Woven in amid Hammond's distinctive growl and bleating harp is the slightest hip-hop beat and rapping by Dutton. That said, Hammond will be dipping deep into his vast repertoire as he dons the mantle of solo troubadour to return to his coffeehouse roots Tuesday, April 10 at the Freight. 8 p.m., $19.50 advance/$20.50 door. (Dave Gil de Rubio)

Wild Dutch Jazz

Holland's wild jazz band ICP Orchestra celebrates its fortieth anniversary with an American tour that drops into Yoshi's on Monday night. Although unknown in the mainstream, ICP (Instant Composers Pool) is acclaimed worldwide by lovers of the avant-garde as one of the most inventive, seriously improvisational, and just plain fun acts to take over a stage. The ten-member group features such Dutch jazz stars as pianist Misha Mengelberg and percussionist Han Bennink, and while wild solos abound, the unique group dynamic makes ICP one of the world's great bands. Monday, April 9. 8 & 10 p.m., $16/$10 (Larry Kelp)

From Jacob to Bob

Marley's Ghost plays old-time and traditional music, country, reggae, and sea chanteys while tossing in a few a cappella numbers for good measure. The quartet of multi-instrumentalists, singer-songwriters, and amateur folklorists has a repertoire that spans continents, genres, and generations, from Jacob Marley (the first ghost in Dickens' Christmas Carol) to Bob Marley. Their recent Van Dyke Parks-produced album, Spooked, is almost as impressive as their stage show. With centuries of music to draw on, you never know what's going to happen next. Friday, April 6 at the Freight. 8 p.m., $18.50/ $19.50. (j. poet)


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