Critic's Choice for the week of October 16-22, 2002 

Hitched indie rockers, a high-contrast trumpeter, rhythmic riffs from West Africa, and fado folk from Portugal.


They're married. They're talented. They're attractive. They use their relationship as inspiration for quirky, drums 'n' keys indie-rock. If it weren't for the humbling fact that they came to SF by way of Kansas, there sure would be a lot to hate about Mates of State. Get all wrapped up in the cuteness Thursday night at the Oakland Metro. Numbers, Snowsuit, and Knulla Roofs open. 510-763-1146. (Stefanie Kalem)

Rumors and Headlines, the new record by One Man Army, is nothing short of the Clashy, pop-punk, Oi-ish, commercial-but-who-cares melodic masterpiece that the band has been striving for all along. See the group perform Thursday at Slim's with Flogging Molly and the Briggs. 415-522-0333. (Katy St. Clair)

What do you get when you combine a folkie, a punk-rock mama of two, and a retro-garbed swingster? Why, of course, the Kirby Grips, an all-girl trio that updates '60s girl-group coo with sharp punk sugar. The band (named for a British brand of bobby pins, doncha know) celebrates the release of its second Sympathy for the Record Industry full-length CD on Friday at the Ivy Room. The Bellyachers open. 510-524-9299. (S.K.)

Hecho en Califas, conceived by spoken word artist Paul Flores, is a festival showcasing Chicano and Latino talent. The third annual edition, Saturday at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, features the punk band Los Super Elegantes and Silverio. The LA-based Super Elegantes are known for their zany antics and imaginative theatrical bent. 415-978-2787. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)


Best known for his work with Ravi Coltrane, New York-based trumpeter-composer Ralph Alessi is presently touring with his own quartet in support of his superb This Against That CD. The disc is aptly titled, as Alessi's music is rife with dynamic and melodic contrast, fusing postbop and European classical elements into an intriguing straight-ahead cocktail. The combo, which includes pianist Andy Milne, stops at Tuva Space in Berkeley on Tuesday. 510-655-9755. (Lee Hildebrand)


These days everything African sounds like processed world beat, so Mamar Kassey arrives Wednesday at Ashkenaz like a breath of fresh air. The Niger band's acoustic traditional roots dominate the intoxicating electric guitar riffs and irresistible dance rhythms, all supporting the captivating vocals of Yacouba Moumouni. This past and present melding makes Mamar Kassey's new Aloutoumi CD one of the best West African recordings in recent years. 510-525-5054. (Larry Kelp)


A stylistic disciple of the legendary Amalia Rodrigues, Cristina Branco is rapidly emerging as the preeminent contemporary purveyor of fado music, a nostalgia-filled Portuguese folk form akin to Spanish flamenco and Argentine tango. On her new Decca/Universal Classics CD, Corpo Iluminado (Luminous Body), Branco's radiant alto pipes drip vibrato and ooze emotion, backed by the shimmering twelve-string guitar work of Custodio Castelo, her husband and songwriting collaborator. Branco and Castelo make their Bay Area debut Sunday at San Francisco's Brava Theater Center with matinee and evening performances. 415-647-2822. (L.H.)


This Saturday, the monthly Jazzschool Composer Portraits series, hosted by the ubiquitous Sarah Cahill, features composer, flutist, and Mills faculty member Maggie Payne. Between discussion with Cahill, Payne presents works for flute and trombone, a piano tribute to Ruth Crawford Seeger, a video that explores space literally and figuratively, and, time permitting, an enticing work inspired by a squeaky gas regulator. 510-845-5373. (Jason Serinus)


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