Critic's Choice for the week of December 31, 2003 - January 6, 2004 

Where to go? What to listen to? Our critics tell you.


While it's not really considered cool to like Counting Crows, a lot of people do. Which makes it ultracool to be into a Crows side project like Glider, which features guitarist David Immergluck (also a Monk of Doom) and drummer Jim Bogios (who also has played with Sheryl Crow). The band has existed since 1998, but its free-association mix of Booker T. & the MGs' surf-rock and Ennio Morricone riffs is just starting to come into its own. They'll be the featured attraction at Jupiter's NYE celebration, which will set you back only $10 -- leaving you plenty of scrilla left for drinks and taxi fare home. 510-843-8277. (Eric K. Arnold)


It's in with the old and the new for acid jazz fans this New Year's Eve at the Warfield. First the old: The Greyboy Allstars, the pioneering '90s band that brought us acid jazz luminaries Karl Denson and Robert Walter, reunite to groove in the New Year. And the new: DJ Logic will be shredding the turntable with his electronic jazz beats, while the Bad Plus brings esoteric funk zaniness to the party. Info: 415-775-7722. (Michael Gowan)


Viva Zapatistas! If the crushing onslaught of holiday-themed materialism has you all a-twitter, the place for you on NYE is the Humanist Hall in Oakland. You can celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Zapatista uprising and lend your solidarity to the cause. Plus, you can't go wrong with the evening's entertainment, which promises to be both slammin' and thought-provokin'. Headliners Orixa are the hardest rock en español band since Santana's heyday, and the undercard is similarly thrilling: the Bodhi Busick Band and Son de la Tierra (a son jarocho outfit from Veracruz, via Richmond), as well as Cuahtonal (traditional Aztec dancers). Best of all, admission is only $15, and the Chiapas rebels receive 100 percent of all proceeds. 510-654-9587. (E.K.A.)


Right now the Bush administration is tightening the screws on Cuba -- which celebrates the 43rd anniversary of its revolution on New Year's Day -- by closing legal loopholes created for cultural exchange. It's also making it tougher for Cuban bands to enter the United States. But in the East Bay we are blessed to have Orquesta la Moderna Tradición, which plays authentic Cuban danzon. The ensemble also plays the modern dance beats like Songo and Timba. Sample them New Year's Eve at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley. 510 849-2568. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)


It's a Quannum family affair at the Shattuck Downlow Lounge, giving you the hip-hop you so desperately crave without insulting your intelligence or your love of positive vibes. Lyrics Born is quite possibly the most versatile and innovative MC in the entire world, and he actually isn't a half-bad singer either. Backed by songbird Joyo Velarde (who will kill you with her sweetness and strong vocalizing) and the razor cuts of DJ D-Sharp, you can comfortably adjust your party phasers to "bump" and let the funk flow. Local DJs Platurn, Zeph, and Icewater complete the bill, which will only set you back a Jackson, if you're asking. 510-548-1159 or (E.K.A.)


The reborn Eli's Mile High Club isn't just the best East Bay spot for blues -- it also serves some of the best damn fried chicken ever. The ticket for New Year's Eve combines what Eli's does best: Oakland legend Sonny Rhodes will be laying down the law onstage while the kitchen serves up the finest in soul food and barbecue. Tasty! Call in advance to reserve one of the limited spots. 510-655-6161. (M.G.)


Okay, so you're ready to throw caution to the wind and say goodbye to 2003 with a bang. Yet you still want to do something cultural and unique, and get your belly full at the same time. Have we got an event for you: The NYE fiesta at Cafe de la Paz will set you back as much as 49 bones a person, so go ahead and say it with me: ouch. But look at what you get for your pesos, amigo. Live music from Jose Roberto y Los Amigos to tango in 2004 to, and a meal fit for Quetzalcoatl, including a fantastic array of tapas, and an entrée buffet with such delicacies as grilled pork ribs with a mango chipotle glaze and roasted chicken with mole poblano, which you can wash down with mojitos and margaritas. Sangria and champagne will be served at midnight, and noisemakers will be provided. Reservations are encouraged: Call ahead at 510-843-0662. (E.K.A.)


Idaho native Rosalie Sorrels has lived the life she sings about, with enough triumph and tragedy to fill a dozen songbooks. She's been on the road singing, recording, and collecting songs since she was nineteen, and balances her love of traditional American ballads with her own profoundly moving compositions. Sunday at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley. 510-548-1761. (j. poet)


Acclaimed for his accomplished coloratura and effortless high C, Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez returns to Berkeley Tuesday night to again woo vocal aficionados. The voice is unquestionably as handsome as the man himself. Discovering how it will carry in Zellerbach Hall, and how much the singer has grown in his ability to interpret with subtlety and nuance, should be ample inducement to attend. 510-642-9988. (Jason Victor Serinus)


Sensitive, scruffy dudes with loud guitars, shiny melodies, and an unabashed affinity for random bursts of pure feedback-drenched noise. We love 'em, you love 'em. So let's all go see 'em Friday night at SF's Bottom of the Hill, when Oakland's own Foodstamp Records throws down a nifty showcase featuring the call-them-emo-at-your-own-risk stylings of the Cushion Theory, the wildly schizophrenic Ned, and the poignantly named Love Kills Love and Jacuzzi on the undercard. Bring earplugs and wear cologne, gentlemen, 'cause the cutie indie girls'll be there. 415-621-4455. (Rob Harvilla)


You'd better call right now for tickets or hit the Freight & Salvage Web site, because the Cheap Suit Serenaders are staging an all-too-infrequent reunion Friday at the Freight. Their shows always sell out. And while R. Crumb is in France and won't be here this time, the usual lineup boasts string wizard Bob Brozman, cellist Terry Zwigoff (whose latest film after Crumb and Ghost World is Bad Santa), and multi-instrumentalists Alan Dodge, Rick Elmore, Robert Armstrong, and Tony Marcus. Expect your old favorites from the '20s, "Singin' in the Bathtub," dueling saws, Hawaiian steel guitars, and other musical high jinks and mayhem from this gathering of record-collecting fanatics who know what real, timeless musical fun is. 510-548-1761. (Larry Kelp)


The Guarneri Jazz Quartet -- Mario Guarneri (trumpet), Calvin Keys (guitar), Kash Killion (bass), and Peter Magadini (drums) -- is one of the Bay Area's finest improvisational groups. These guys have played with everyone from Louis Armstrong to Pharoah Sanders and Luther Vandross, but it's their ensemble work on the recent From My Heart CD that has people buzzing. Saturday at the Jazz House in Berkeley. 415-846-9432. (j.p.)


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