Critic's Choice for the week of December 28, 2005-January 3, 2006 

Salacious salsa, psychedelic freak-outs, and thud staff mastery.

Thud Staff Mastery

All bass -- ahem, "thunder broom" -- enthusiasts within a two-hundred-mile radius of Oakland's 21 Grand Thursday night have no earthly reason not to pack the joint and pay homage to Mike Watt, impossibly awesome low-end maestro for the Minutemen and various solo incarnations, now touring with Dos, his long-running two-bass duet project with former Black Flag thunder broomer Kira Roessler. Their four-string interplay will be weird, wily, and thoroughly righteous. $7, 8:30 p.m., all ages. (Rob Harvilla)

Heavy Metal Country

The Supersuckers have taken America's most dangerous (and seemingly disparate) musical styles -- punk, metal, and honky-tonk country -- and distilled a potent brew that'll lift your spirits and inspire all kinds of debauched resolutions. Guaranteed to ring in the New Year with a force that'll leave your ears ringing well into '06. Saturday night at Slim's in SF. $30, 9 p.m. 415-255-0333 or (j. poet)

Salacious Salsa

A live Latin jazz orchestra is as essential to any salsa event as slinky women, sweet alcoholic drinks, and citrus fruit garnishes. Furthermore, no such party would be complete without a dashing, mustachioed bandleader to flirt with all the eligible bachelorettes. You don't have to travel south of the border to find it all this New Year's Eve; just head over to Club Anton in Oakland's Jack London Square Saturday night, where Andy y Orquestra Callao will join Pepe (he of Pepe y Su Orquesta) in hosting a brassy night of salsa dancing and debauchery. Doors open at 8:30 p.m.; they haven't disclosed the price yet, but rest assured a lot of people would pay good money for the chance to bat their eyes at Pepe all night. (Rachel Swan)


The all-night New Year's Eve Balkan Bash is an Ashkenaz tradition, but the night before packs a similarly high-energy surprise. Lucky Otis -- grandson of R&B/rock great Johnny Otis, and son of guitar ace Shuggie Otis -- will lead his own high-octane band Friday night, with Lucky on vocals, bass, guitar, organ, and turntables. Expect loads of his own tunes, along with the cream of his grandfather's and father's crop. What better way to party than with "Willie and the Hand Jive," "Strawberry Letter 23," and a bunch of other hits from the past six decades? $11-$13, 9:30 p.m. 510-525-5054 or (Larry Kelp)

Psychedelic Freakouts

Former Primus barker Les Claypool enhances the effect of being on mushrooms even when you're not on mushrooms, just because the dude's music sounds so frighteningly twangy and tweaked-out -- not to mention he has lots of dizzying, fluorescent-colored video projections whirling in the background. So if you'd like to chemically dissolve the nerve synapses between your right and left brain this weekend, just drink a bunch of Martinelli's and head on over to the Fillmore in SF to watch your favorite freak-metal-folk originator do his thing. Yeah, it's dorky, but it's a New Year's tradition. Claypool performs Friday ($30) and Saturday ($57.50) night at 9 p.m. (R.S.)


The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra comes through again Saturday night, with another free New Year's Eve program in Berkeley's First Congregational Church. As a special treat, the orchestra will be joined by Berlin's Jacques Thibaud String Trio to perform Mozart, Beethoven, Francaix, Golijov, and Danzi. $40 reserved, otherwise free. 8 p.m. 415-248-1640. (Jason Victor Serinus)

Instrumental Rock

Steve Kimock's restless, kaleidoscopic guitar style draws on everything from the Delta blues to Indian classical music. In drummer extraordinaire Rodney Holmes, he's found a perfect foil for his imaginative excursions into rock's outer limits. Soul-jazz keyboardist Robert Walter and bassman Reed Mathis round out Kimock's current touring band, which takes over SF's Great American Music Hall tonight (Wednesday) through Saturday. $25 per night, $40 Saturday (New Year's Eve). 9 p.m. 415-885-0750 or (j.p.)


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