Critic's Choice for the week of May 10-16, 2006 

Air-guitar battles, childish abominations, and Mohican rock.


Glen Pearson is a world-class pianist from the East Bay who has played with jazz luminaries like James Moody, Mary Stallings, and Robert Stewart. Last year he took over the reins as jazz professor at the College of Alameda. Now partnered with the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, Pearson presents free Sunday afternoon concerts and jam sessions this summer with the College of Alameda Big Band. This Sunday they perform a Mother's Day concert at the conservatory's 1616 Franklin St. address from 2 to 6 p.m. or 510-748-2213. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)


Laramie, Wyoming's Teenage Bottlerocket makes punk cool again. Leather jackets, Levi's, and Chuck Taylors help this foursome channel the Ramones in an explosive live show that barrels through songs without breaks save a quick "onetwothreefour!" How can such orthodoxy be quaint? Identical twin brothers Ray and Brandon Carlisle are actual scientists, and guitarist Joel Pattinson is a master's candidate in violin performance. Now with the recent addition of former Lillingtons frontman Kody Lillington, they open with the Teenage Harlets at Bottom of the Hill before the Phenomenauts and the Epoxies Friday for $10 at 9 p.m. (Kathleen Richards)


Fans of shoegazer and post-rock are starting to take note of San Francisco's Halcyon High, the solo project of Roger Anderson, formerly of Vaportrail. Colorful visual projections help Halcyon High's songs wrap listeners in a wash of guitar and Anderson's ethereal vocals that build into a meditative, monumental, transcending state of bliss. With Levator and Rye in the Sky at the Knockout in SF Wednesday for $4. 9 p.m. (K.R.)


Last year the US Air Guitar team faced its first defeat at the Air Guitar World Championships in Finland. Reigning US champ Fatima "Rockness Monster" Hoang wants revenge, but to get back to Finland he must outplay ten regional champs plus the US tournament's first collegiate champ. One of those ten finalists will be decided Thursday night at the Independent in SF. Here's how it works: In Round One, competitors perform up to sixty seconds of a song of their choosing; in Round Two, the top competitors from Round One perform to the surprise compulsory song. Air roadies are allowed, but air drums aren't. This is not a joke. Thursday at the Independent. $10 advance, $12 door, 9 p.m. (Nate Seltenrich)


He's a butcher by day, but when night falls, Tad Gonzales (aka Thadeus Duke) slips on his custom-made black suede pants and channels some soulful but less powerful version of Chris Cornell as the frontman for Straggler. Sometimes, his enthusiasm for becoming a rock 'n' roll star gets the better of him, causing him to break microphones or jump on tables. But then again, that's what makes this Oakland rock band so damn entertaining. Fellow Oaklanders Tokyo Decadence and Earthquake Weather add to the debauchery at the Uptown Nightclub Thursday for $6 at 8 p.m. (K.R.)


Long before he began winning Grammy awards, Native American singer Bill Miller made CDs mixing his socially conscious lyrics with rock guitars, plus chanting and flute-playing from his cultural ancestry. Modern world music that draws an upbringing on a Mohican reservation in Wisconsin characterizes his CD, Cedar Dream Songs, which nabbed an '05 Grammy for best Native American Recording, and this year he was part of the collaborative Grammy winner A Tribute to Mother Earth. This Friday at the Freight. $18.50 advance, $19.50 at door. 510-548-1761, or (Larry Kelp)


Frankenstein is set to conquer San Francisco. Or at least Davies Symphony Hall. On Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights, the San Francisco Symphony presents HK Gruber's Frankenstein!!, a bizarre, neo-gothic pandemonium set to children's rhymes by H.C. Artmann. With Gruber himself as the over-the-top chansonnier, a full orchestra augmented by a cupboardful of toy instruments, rhymes with political overtones, and complementary works by Adès, Débussy, and Bizet, only the straitlaced or utterly paranoid need flee. $20-$107, 8 p.m.; 415-864-6000 or (Jason Victor Serinus)

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