Critic's Choice for the week of January 4-10, 2006 

Blues OGs, newgrass, and all the young dudes.

International Violence

For all those who have never experienced the exhilaration and horror of watching other people get mauled, pitched, and slam-dunked in the mosh pit at Richmond's Burnt Ramen or Berkeley's 924 Gilman, now's your chance. This weekend's Super Sabado Gigante -- an annual all-ages hardcore festival put together by the punk organizations Prank, Six Weeks, and 625 Thrash -- will feature bands from all parts of the globe, including Japan's NK6 and Dudman (Thursday night) and Mexico's Bumbklaat (Saturday), plus a lot of addled, stumbling punks from out of town and definitely plenty of carnage. Super Sabado kicks off Thursday night at Burnt Ramen, continues Friday and Saturday nights at 924 Gilman, and closes off Sunday at Oakland's Chop Shop. Shows start at 8 p.m., except Sunday's, which kicks off at 3. $7 apiece. (Rachel Swan)

Northern Exposure

Ghostly, orchestral, scruffy, and brazenly Canadian indie-rock is all the rage these days, and Wolf Parade, sire of 2005's critically beloved Apologies to the Queen Mary, is here to capitalize, with two shows at the Independent in SF tonight (Wednesday) and Thursday. Sold out, alas, but Craigslist and your charming countenance outside the venue around showtime may help you nonetheless enjoy the largely Internet-derived hotness. Have fun. Chad VanGaalen, Jel, and Audrock open. 9 p.m. (Rob Harvilla)


Mike Marshall has taken the mandolin from newgrass to world music and back again in groups like Psychograss and Choro Famoso. Chris Thile, member of the pop bluegrass unit Nickel Creek, has flaunted his imaginative brand of progressive acoustic music since he cut his first CD at the tender age of twelve. Together, they've tried their hand at everything from Bach to swing, and they'll bring their eclectic roadshow to Berkeley Friday night at the Freight. $24.50-$25.50, 8 p.m. 510-548-1761 or (j. poet)

Blues OGs

Apparently, lap-steel guitar is high on the blues world's endangered species list. So are old guys with rucked, world-weary orbs and tobacco pipes perennially dangling from their lips. So give it up for the mighty Freddy Roulette -- come watch the bluesman and his five-piece band, Freddy Roulette & Friends, when they perform Friday night at Point Richmond's Baltic Square Pub. Rumor has it that a host of superspecial guests will show up and bum-rush the stage (or whatever the equivalent is in blues), so be ready for anything. The show kicks off at 9 p.m., and there's no cover; call 510-237-4782 to make dinner reservations. (R.S.)

All the Young Dudes

Ah, playing the Vans Warped tour is a sure sign you've made it. Yep, you paid your dues, and now ... you can watch a thousand indifferent kids give you the "whatever" sign. That may sound like a Pyrrhic victory to you, but it's amazing what some hungry bands would do for the honor. Watch 'em duke it out at the Emergenza Festival -- billed as a Battle Royale for unsigned bands in Europe and North America -- at Red Devil Lounge, which kicks off tonight (Wednesday) and runs through Monday. Festival winners snag all sorts of goodies, including endorsements, production hookups, and a slot on the Warped Tour, plus lots of really fly twelve-year-old groupies and stuff. Tonight's show features Blood on the Tracks, Monday Bulletin, Mr. Green, Mad Drama, Elephant Hunter, and Amber Estrada & the Hypnosis Company. $10, 8 p.m. (R.S.)

Guitar Chefs

A new year ... a new guitar trio ... who could ask for a better start? Thursday night at Berkeley's Downtown Restaurant, behold guitarists Will Bernard, Paul Mehling, and Ken Emerson swapping licks and commiserating on a wide assortment of styles. In fact, they may end up calling themselves Sol Django Christian to represent the styles of music they've arranged, namely Hawaiian hula music (Sol Hoopi'i), Parisian swing (Django Reinhardt), and American bop jazz (Charlie Christian). This one is all about great source material, fresh arrangements, and hot soloing. 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. No cover charge -- just dinner, drinks, whatever. 510-649-3810 or (Larry Kelp)


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