Critic's Choice for the week of March 12-18, 2003 

Driving Jews, a band of bones, a bad-ass bluesman, a Finnish soprano, Latin horns, bongos on the beach, and a pack of well-read musicians.


It had to happen. Ian Stewart's racist Oi band, Skrewdriver, succumbs to the effects of the Zionist plot that is the music industry. Enter Jewdriver, the all-Semite tribute to skinhead rock. We're not sure what to expect, but it's gotta be great. All Hail the Jew Dawn! The band starts at 8 p.m. on the button, followed by a ridiculously good lineup of Panty Raid, the Rock and Roll Adventure Kids, Sharp Knife, and the Fleshies. Saturday at 924 Gilman. 510-525-9926. (Katy St. Clair)


Bonerama, despite its suggestive name, is not a collection of pornographic movie stars on a rampage. The nine-man group is the latest addition to the New Orleans second line brass band tradition. The group is fronted by Mark Mullins and Craig Klein, formerly with Harry Connick Jr.'s big band, and filled out with the Crescent City's finest horn and rhythm players including "Mean" Willie Green, longtime Neville Brothers drummer. Their blend of traditional jazz and funk has critics calling them one of the city's hottest new bands, no small feat in a town known for extraordinary music. Bonerama plays Friday and Saturday at the Boom Boom Room in San Francisco. 415-673-8000. (j. poet)


The Tommy Castro Band has been a mainstay on the San Francisco blues scene for the past twelve years, winning Best Club Band and Best Blues Club Band Bammies four years in a row. Castro is a great performer with a combination of good looks, soulful vocals, songwriting expertise, and a lead guitar style that blends the best of Texas, Memphis, and Chicago. Sax man Keith Crossan and a dynamite rhythm section make every tune sound as smoky as a Saturday evening saloon. Friday, Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. 415-885-0750. (j. poet)


Fresh from mesmerizing triumphs in San Francisco Opera's Katya Kabanova and the Met's PBS-telecast of Fidelio, the gorgeously voiced Finnish dramatic soprano Karita Mattila makes her long-overdue Bay Area recital debut Sunday afternoon in Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall. Accompanied by Martin Katz, Mattila's program of songs by Duparc, Sibelius, Rachmaninoff, and Dvoràk -- hopefully graced by operatic encores -- should prove riveting. 510-642-9988. (Jason Serinus)


GTS has been tearing up Friday nights at Xanadu (4th & University) in Berkeley for the last month or so. Straight outta Richmond, the Funk and Latin horn band is led by guitarist Rick Ramos and features Andres Soto (sax) and Jon Middleton (trumpet), veterans of the 1970s East Bay funk group Third Rail. Last year GTS released its debut CD Latin Soul Project, which showcased their soulful originals. 510-548-7880. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)


Steel pans master Jeff Narell and his Bongo Beach Band are back from Trinidad where Narell's tribute to the creator of steel drums, "Ellie Man," was the first outside song accepted in the Trinidad Carnival competition. Bongo Beach with singer Crazy headlines Saturday's all-Caribbean Ashkenaz benefit (with Caribbean Allstars, Harry Best & Shabang, and Junglz Apart) in the all-ages dance club's monthlong thirtieth anniversary celebration. 510-525-5054. (Larry Kelp)


Musicians do read good literature. As proof, SIBL and Artists for Literacy have compiled a second benefit CD to promote reading and adult literacy, which features songs by David Bowie, Tom Waits, Rosanne Cash, and others inspired by the likes of W.B. Yeats, George Orwell, Isabel Allende, and Hermann Hesse. The CD release party will be held Wednesday night, starting at 6 p.m., at Cafe Du Nord. A $20 donation includes a CD, catered light fare, and live performances by local contributing artists. 415-861-5016. (Malka Geffen)


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