Critic's Choice for the week of June 28-July 6, 2006 

Latin punk, complicated metal, and gothic cabaret.

Piñata Punk

Despite their name, the members of East Bay's LaTeenO's haven't just crawled out of their velvet-painting-covered parents' garage stacked with cans of frijoles. They have, however, come to light gringos' pants on fire with their less-than-two-minute raunchy punk ditties, packed with enough punch to blow up your fourth-grade birthday party piñata. Songs like the organ chugging "Burrito Time" and the three-chord punk of "Swim the Border" will get the crowd moving when the TeenO's play the Ivy Room on Saturday, July 1. 10 p.m., $7. (Kathleen Richards)

Masochistic Metal

Sometimes it seems as if musicians play ridiculously complicated and unlistenable music — even if equally geeky and showoff musicians will be the only ones to appreciate it — just to show that they can. In the case of Oakland's the Mass, the melding of potentially disharmonious elements of noisy, free-jazz, post rock, and creepy metal into a throbbing groove doesn't torture the audience but the bandmembers themselves. Luckily, they seem to enjoy it. The Mass plays with Hightower, Jesus Fucking Christ, and Frontside Five at the Golden Bull on Sunday, July 2. 7 p.m. $5. 510-893-0803. (K.R.)


Got five dollars and a) a penchant for gothic cabaret or b) nothing to do Saturday night? Los Angeles' Lion Fever invites the walking undead and regular folks alike to Oakland's Stork Club to share in its love of the night. Wonder what you're in for? Imagine Tom Waits, the Misfits, and Joy Division morphed into a chick singer and three dudes. Also playing are Bella Vista, Bellmer Dolls, and Grand Elegance. That's four bands for less than a dollar a pop, so buy some merch if you dig the music. Oh, and be sure to wear black. Saturday, July 1. $5 9:30 p.m. (Nate Seltenrich)

Apple's Brood

Perpetually brooding songstress Fiona Apple is coming to Concord. Her arrival not only exhibits her tenacity for navigating the quicksand terrain of major label status, it also marks a mini victory for her fans. Her last album, Extraordinary Machine, was shelved by her record company for two years, and after some of the songs were leaked online, a group of persistent, obsessive fans helped convince the songwriter to give the album another shot. The result, her first release in six years, is a ship on a roiling sea of piano-driven drama. Apple plays with Damien Rice at the Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord on Thursday, June 29. 8 p.m., $29.50-$45. (K.R.)

Latin soul/Hip-Hop

The name may be different, but AguaLibre takes the best elements of its members' previous group, O-Maya, and ups the energy with an expanded horn section. Fronted by the amazing singer Destani Wolf (SoVoSó, John Santos, and others) and vocalist and MC Rico Pabon, AguaLibre drops into Berkeley's all-ages Ashkenaz on Saturday, July 1, for a night of soul-drenched Latin pop mixing in hip-hop and Caribbean rhythms from Cuban son to reggae, loads of guitar and percussion, and those horns. 9:30 p.m., $12. 510-525-5054 or (Larry Kelp)


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