Critic's Choice for the week of July 5-11, 2006 

Snicket at the Symphony, rootsy reggae, and intergalactic punk rock.

Ride 'n' Roll

Modern rock can get lost in a maze of effects like clunky synthesizers and ill-programmed drum beats. Luckily, classic Southern rock purists like San Francisco's Ride the Blinds balance the headiness with ripping guitar solos, bluesy bass lines, and John-Bonham-channeled drum smashing. The band's second album Start Running, released earlier this year, is a welcome return to good-time rock 'n' roll. Ride the Blinds play with Mike Therieau Band and the Vaticans at the Ivy Room on Saturday, July 8. 10 p.m. $7. (Kathleen Richards)

Van Morrison-ish

Longtime Bay Area resident Jesse DeNatale often gets compared to Van Morrison because of his sulky vocals and jazzy meandering melodies, but DeNatale is indeed a singer-songwriter with character-driven songs delivered with his own unique blend of R&B, rock, folk, and smoky late-night blues. Friday, July 7 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. $10 advance, $12 door; 9 p.m. (j. poet)

Goofy Sci-Fi Punk Rock

The scene at Berkeley's legendary all-ages punk venue 924 Gilman can be intimidating to newbies. But a lineup like this will clear that right up. At the top of the heap are the Phenomenauts, playing pop-punk rockabilly for sci-fi nerds. What's more harmless than Devo disciples singing about space stations? Fellow San Franciscans Onion Flavored Rings specialize in goofy punk rock (and have a member with the last name of Funyon). Ghengis Khan, Los Creepers, and Sweet Nothing also promise not to bite. A perfect introduction to Gilman if ever there was one. Friday, July 7. $5. 8 p.m. (Nate Seltenrich)

Swedo-African Folk Blues

Whether it's folk and blues, or spirituals from his African heritage, Eric Bibb delivers them as if they were all written for his voice. He has performed and recorded with the East Bay's Taj Mahal, and Linda Tillery's Cultural Heritage Choir, who join together on two award-winning children's albums. But it is Bibb's own music, and his versions of traditional songs, that make his solo concerts so warm and personal. The son of popular '60s folksinger Leon Bibb, Eric is also the nephew of Modern Jazz Quartet pianist John Lewis, and the godson of Paul Robeson. With thirteen solo CDs, Bibb (who now lives in Sweden) has a lot of inspired music to choose from. At the Freight & Salvage on Sunday, July 9, 8 p.m. Tickets $18.50 advance, $19.50 door. (Larry Kelp)

Durable Hardcore

Seattle hardcore outfit Akimbo's recent album Forging Steel and Laying Stone fits the band's industrial, factory-constructed noise. Throwing a foundation of classic rock on the conveyor belt, the band's songs endure blunt-force trauma with two-ton grooves and rubbed-raw vocals. The end product is beaten and battered but incredibly durable. Akimbo plays with Death of a Party and Sagittarians at the Stork Club on Friday, July 7. 9 p.m., $5. (K.R.)

snickety Symphonies

Loath as we are to suggest slumming it in Babylon, San Francisco Symphony's Saturday matinee family concert (2 p.m.) features Nathaniel Stookey's The Composer Is Dead, a tempting family whodunit murder mystery with text and in-person narration by Lemony Snicket. (Tickets $15-$64; youth seventeen and under half-price.) While you have to pay to attend that one, you can hear Edwin Outwater conduct the orchestra and Time for Three trio in Bizet, Schumann, and more for free at Stern Grove in San Francisco on Sunday, July 9. 2 p.m. (Jason Victor Serinus)

Roots Dancehall

Coulda be an Irishman or an Englishman/ Rastafarian a say dat de all o' we are one, sang Junior Reid on the 1990 hit "One Blood" — a song that has remained one of reggae's most enduring anthems. A master of the singjay style who has bridged the gap between roots and dancehall, Reid filled some pretty huge shoes when he replaced Michael Rose in Black Uhuru. But he answered any concerns about a possible drop-off in quality with tunes like "Great Train Robbery" and "Brutal" before venturing into a solo career most notable for "One Blood" and collaborations with the Wu-Tang Clan and others. He'll help get your summer irieness started Thursday, July 6, when he comes to Berkeley's Ashkenaz for a show that promises to be well dread, backed by the Reggae Angels. $17-$20. 9 p.m. (Eric K. Arnold)


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