Critic's Choice for the week of January 11-17, 2006 

World parties, peevish metalheads, and James freakin' Brown.


Go ahead, pinch yourself: You're not dreaming. Sunday night, fortune will grace a small theater in North Beach in the person of James Brown, the almighty Godfather of Soul, who'll bring along his "screaming" fifteen-piece band. Famous for his skronky horn riffs, fusillade drum breaks, and riotous vocals, Brown may have been raised in an era when the gospel-crooning sons of sharecroppers were just discovering the potential of an R&B string section, but he grew up to become the godfather of hip-hop, too. Granted, tickets for this concert are none too cheap at $125 a pop. But for the devout, no cover is too steep, and Bimbo's 365 Club is small enough that you might get to see the sweat gleaming off Brown's hairline. The show kicks off at 7 p.m. (Rachel Swan)


Utah Phillips -- folksinger, songwriter, guitar-picker, and raconteur -- played his first "farewell concert" at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage in 1995, but happily he's never been able to hang up his guitar for too long before hitting the road again. His voice remains hearty and robust, despite health problems that have slowed him down a bit; between songs, he still spins colorful tales of the anarchists, flophouse owners, truckers, lumberjacks, union organizers, and hobos he's met in a lifetime on the road. Friday at the Freight -- $18.50 advance, $19.50 door. 8 p.m. 510-548-1761 or (j. poet)


The mood can change on a dime during a tune by East Bay metal act A Band Called Pain: fractious power chords and dirgelike chants of death or war bleed into bluesy, hard-rock guitar lines and furious, peevish vocals (How would you like it if I did that to you? How would you feel?). Catch 'em Friday night at Concord's Time Out Bar, where they'll headline a local hard rock/metal showcase that also stars Blue Hail, Fine by Me, and That Which Binds. $6, 9 p.m. 925-798-1811. (R.S.)


The New Century Chamber Orchestra celebrates the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth Thursday night with a piece he wrote at the tender age of sixteen, the sunny Divertimento in D major. The concert at Berkeley's St. Mark's Episcopal Church also includes the world premiere of Gang Situ's Concerto for Cello (written specifically for Robin Bonnell and the NCCO), and Dvoràk's lovely Serenade, Op. 22. $28-$42; 8 p.m. or 415-357-1111. (Jason Victor Serinus)

LATINO dancefloor

Agua Libre is a new Latino alternative group featuring seven former members of the group O-Maya. Featuring vocalist Destani Wolf and rapero Rico Pabon, the group is dedicated to rockin' the dancefloor with conscious hip-hop, funk, and a diverse array of Afro-Caribe beats. Friday they appear at Oakland's 2232 MLK in a benefit for the youth arts performance space that also includes the Slammin' All Body Band and DJs Tim Diesel and Willie Maze. $15, 9 p.m. 510-451-1932. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)


After two sold-out shows at Anna's Jazz Island last summer, South American folk-jazz titans Quijerema return to the downtown Berkeley hotspot Saturday night before leaving on a Venezuela tour. The group plays more than two dozen instruments, creating original music that ranges from Andean to jazz to cinematic. The Bay Area-based quartet has expanded for this concert and tour, adding well-known Latin jazz flutist and multi-instrumentalist John Calloway to complement Chile's Quique Cruz on Andean wind instruments, Venezuelan Maria Fernanda Acuña on cuatro and percussion, and two North Americans: saxophonist David Barrows and bassist Jeremy Allen. 8 p.m. (510) 841-5299. (Larry Kelp)


Lest you think that alt-weekly "Best-Of" awards make a dubious merit badge, you can ascertain that DJ Joe Quixx really is the East Bay's "Most Mixmasterful" when you see this guy spin at one of his weekly residencies Wednesdays at the Golden Bull, Saturdays at Radio Bar, or, most recently, Monday nights at Little Baobab, a chic Senegalese restaurant in SF's Mission District. Dubbed Caña, this worldish dancehall and reggaetón-oriented event also features emcee Wonway of Secluded Journalists. This time around Joe may be a little bleary-eyed from Saturday night's "Big Payback" DJ extravaganza at DNA Lounge, but he'll still cut wax sharp enough to get chicks dancing on the bar -- dang, that shit is crackin'. Caña kicks off at 10 p.m. and costs $3. (R.S.)


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