Critic's Choice for the week of November 8-14, 2006 

Uke festivals, profane rock, and some roots Cajun goodness.

Primitive Folk

Peter Walker's Rainy Day Raga, cut for Vanguard Records in 1967, made the guitarist a finger-picking legend. After a second, even more adventurous album, Second Poem to Karmela, he vanished, which added to his underground cachet. Turns out Walker settled in Woodstock, New York, hung around with Fred Neil, and studied flamenco guitar in Spain during the past four decades. Tompkins Square Records recently reissued Rainy Day Raga along with a Walker tribute album featuring longtime fans like Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore. Walker still dazzles with his primitive American folk-meets-world jazz playing. Guitarist Jack Rose opens at 21 Grand, 416 25th Street and Broadway in Oakland. Saturday, November 11, 9 p.m. $8/$10 door. (j.poet)

LaMontagne's Love & Love Loss

Love and love lost have made for some great music over the years. In 2004, Ray LaMontagne burst on to the scene with Trouble, a startlingly mature and poignant debut that found the Maine native soulfully ruminating on love while backed by simple acoustic instrumentation. On Till the Sun Turns Black, his sophomore effort that was released on RCA Records in September, LaMontagne pulls a 180 both lyrically and musically, writing songs that delve into the emotional abyss of love lost while infusing the compositions with string and horn sections, atmospheric ambience, and even full-band arrangements. If you like Van Morrison, Otis Redding, or Joe Cocker, this one's for you. Monday, November 13, 8 p.m. $35. (Andy Tennille)

Tan Classical

In an era when one would have wished it no longer necessary to champion artists of color, the laudable Four Seasons Concerts organization continues to help de-whiten the classical playing field. This week's concert at the Regents' Theatre at Holy Names University's Valley Center for the Performing Arts pairs violist Amadi Hummings and cellist Wendy Law in an unusual recital of infrequently programmed repertoire by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Lutoslawski, Rebecca Clarke, Hindemith, Piazzolla, Milhaud, and someone named Beethoven. Sunday, November 12, 4 p.m. $40-$35. (Jason Victor Serinus)

Roots Cajun Goodness

The best roots Cajun band on the local scene, Aux Cajunals was an offshoot of California Cajun Orchestra, a chance for CCO bandmembers to unplug and get back to the source of Louisiana dance music. For its Saturday Ashkenaz dance and concert, Aux Cajunals has just added bass and drums, plus that master of roots eclecticism, Mayne Smith, on pedal steel guitar. With most members singing, Aux Cajunals digs into not just Cajun waltzes and two-steps, but old string band music and blues tunes, plus some originals, with the emphasis still on a down-home feel. Suzy Thompson plays fiddle and accordion, with husband Eric Thompson on guitar, bassist Steven Strauss, drummer John Hanes, and Smith on steel. Saturday, November 11, 9 p.m. $13/$11 student. (Larry Kelp)

F***ing Rock

What local band not only attracts hate mail but also chooses to post it on its Web site? Why, The Fucking Champs, of course! The band's heady guitar riffing is considered pretentious by some, and its f***ing name has been accused of corrupting young children. They might be cynical about their moniker, but they're serious about their music, which rocks like a Trans Am spinning donuts in the Berklee College of Music parking lot. They play with Saviours and Red Fang at the Uptown on Saturday, November 11 at 8:30 p.m. $8. (Kathleen Richards)

When Ukes Cry

Local ukulele enthusiasts continue to push their tiny four-stringed Hawaiian guitars to new heights, this time, with a rendition of the '80s soul opus, Prince's Purple Rain. Uke Apocalypse and Kitten on the Keys realize their endeavor may be ridiculous, but that's exactly the appeal — seeing how "When Doves Cry" will sound on an instrument that conjures up scenes of Waikiki. Amy Zing, Five Cent Coffee, Just Henry, and Koz join the bill on Thursday, November 9 at 8 p.m. at the Rickshaw Stop. $10. (K.R.)

meat-metal symbiosis

Portland's Small Sails create soundscapes meant to engulf the listener by drawing in unexpected elements into a coherent groove. Aftershocks and Afterthoughts builds on the foundation of post-rock instrumentalism, then adds layers of Native-American-sounding chants with '80s-era synth. It's that culmination of organic and tech into a symbiotic relationship that expresses itself in their live shows as well, with 16mm film projection by band member Ryan Jeffery. They play with Cloud Archive and linedotstar on Thursday, November 9 at the Stork Club at 9 p.m. $5. (K.R.)


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