Critic's Choice for the week of September 1-7, 2004 

Our writers tell you what's hot this week.


If you know Los Lobos only from their "La Bamba" cover (or if you confuse them with the tamer Los Lonely Boys), get yourself to the Oakland Art & Soul Festival Sunday, grab some chow and beer, and bask in this band's uniquely raw sound. Lobos' mariachi blues-rock sounds like ZZ Top after a boozy night at backroad Tijuana dancehalls, easily worth the $5 cover Art & Soul is charging this year. Sunday at 4 p.m. on the 12th Street Stage -- see for the complete Saturday-through-Monday lineup. (Michael Gowan)


Berkeley gets plenty of attention for its upscale theater and concert spaces, but Albany has its own two-joint dance-and-party district where Solano and San Pablo avenues meet. Across the intersection from the blues-and-rock-oriented Ivy Room, Club Montero's attracts a well-dressed dance crowd for its weekend salsa shows, where the crowds don't come just to sit down and listen. Just check out the hot horn players in Julio Bravo's band Salsabor Friday night, including the amazing San Diego transplant Steve Feierbend on tenor saxophone and always-surprising trombonist Sarah Cline. And on Saturday, Orquesta Kalichin celebrates the release of its CD Comienza la Rumba. Music both nights starts around 10, following the 8:30 salsa lesson. Info: or 510-524-1270. (Larry Kelp)


Mavis Staples, formerly the lead voice of the legendary Staple Singers, has one of the most inspirational voices in the history of gospel music, and she's coming' to town to celebrate the release of her first Alligator album, Have a Little Faith, a collection that salutes her contributions to soul and R&B as well as her gospel roots. Tuesday at SF's Great American Music Hall. $35, 9 p.m. 415-885-0750 or (j. poet)


For a small donation, you can hop on BART and attend noontime concerts every Wednesday in San Francisco's St. Patrick's Church at Yerba Buena Gardens. Today, Victor Romasevich, John Philip Santos, Yun Jie Liu, and Lawrence Granger of the San Francisco Symphony present Glazunov's Elegy Op. 105: "In Memory of M.P. Belayev" and Quartet's Finale and Joseph Andriasov's The Spring and String Quartet Op. 1 in D major. $5, noon. 415-777-3211. (Jason Victor Serinus)


The splendid Soul Captives, the Express' favorite band of fresh-faced ska-resuscitatin' youngsters, celebrate their first anniversary Saturday night at Blake's on Telegraph in Berkeley, spinning rocksteady, jazz, and two-tone funk into a danceable stew with the Debonaires and Full Spectrum. Bring your dancin' shoes, but don't step in anything untoward. Info: 510-848-0886 or (Rob Harvilla)


Ashkenaz, Berkeley's all-ages world music dance club, was founded on Balkan dancing, but Tuesday night's concert is a rarity focusing on traditional Greek dance, with two bands: Smyrna Time Machine and Edessa. With their voices, ouds, doumbeks, bouzoukis, and other Mediterranean instruments, the two groups perform mostly Greek rembetika (or rebetika) songs and related traditional dances that draw from the region around Greece, the Aegean Sea, and into Turkey. Some of the music is mournful, while other tunes are almost carefree in their lilting dance rhythms and sometimes-bawdy lyrics. The 8:30 p.m. show is preceded by a 7:30 p.m. Greek dance lesson taught by Edessa's Lise Liepman. 510-525-5054 or (L.K.)


Filling in this weekend at Yoshi's for the ailing Shirley Horn are Jose Rizo's Jazz on the Latin Side All-Stars. Based in Southern California, the ensemble formed when Rizo, host of the popular Friday night Jazz on the Latin Side radio show on Long Beach's KKJZ, organized a stellar group to celebrate ten years on the air. Since then, the crew has delivered two albums for Cubop Records and is still going strong with luminary members Justo Almario, Alex Acuña, and Francisco Aguabella. The Last Bullfighter is the All-Stars' latest. Friday through Sunday, 8 and 10 p.m., $12-$24. 510-238-9200 or (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)


Guitar ace Junior Brown -- inventor of the "guit-steel" guitar (half electric guitar, half lap steel) -- writes tunes that reside at the unholy crossroads of country blues, honky-tonk, rockabilly, and surf music. His smokin' band lays down a solid groove for his wild twang-fueled flights of fancy. Thursday at the Great American Music Hall. $20-$22, 8 p.m. 415-885-0750 or (j.p.)


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