Critic's Choice for the week of September 6-12, 2006 

Videogame hip-hop, kosher ska, and spandex-suited blues rock.

Tribe Once Called Quest

Six years and a breakup later, platinum-plated hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest emerges in the new millennium supporting a video game. NBA 2K7 features the '90s alternative rap stars' new song "Lyrics to Go," and a rare live performance rolls into the Berkeley Community Theater this week. Expect Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad to do all their hits, including songs from '91's definitive The Low End Theory. "Anything you can remember as a single, we're doing it," Phife told Billboard. "Thank god we have a catalogue." Saturday, September 9. 8 p.m., $40. (David Downs)

Panpipe PeÑa

Nobody plays Andean panpipes with as much feeling as Chile's Quique Cruz. Featured on recordings and at concerts by the likes of Jackson Browne and Sting, his instrumental ensemble Quijerema plays a benefit concert for ailing fellow Chilean singer Rafael Manriquez (they were founding members of Grupo Raiz) this week at Berkeley's La Peña Cultural Center. Quijerema brings in folk music of the Andes, along with arrangements that mix film scores with jazz. For this show, Manriquez will join the group. Sunday, September 10. 7:30 p.m., $12/$15 door. (Larry Kelp)

Mary's Church

Mary J. Blige is the queen of feminine woe. Since she first hit the scene fourteen years ago, she has tapped the ache of a generation of women who aren't exactly pining for "Baby Hit Me One More Time." When Blige takes the stage at the Sleep Train Pavilion this week, expect the Church of Mary's followers to sing her praises on tracks like 1994's "Be Happy" or "Take Me As I Am" off her latest album The Breakthrough. Joining her are Jaheim and LaToya. Friday, September 8. 7:30 p.m., $59-$89. 925-685-8497. (Kathleen Richards)

Kosher Reggae

Mixing reggae and ska beats with Sublime's old voice and rapping style, plus guitar solos from rock 'n' roll, Orthodox Jewish musician Matisyahu and his backing band Roots Tonic have found a hit. The live version of "King Without a Crown" climbed into the top 10 on the 2006 Modern Rock charts, and Billboard even named his 2006 album Youth the #1 digital download in March. Born Matthew Paul Miller, the Brooklyn resident followed up the buzz with tons of appearances on Letterman, Conan, Lollapalooza, and the like. This week, one of 2006's sleeper hits sports his iconic Jewish beard at the Berkeley Community Theater after indie darlings Gomez and Street Drum Corps open up for him. Sunday, September 10. 7:30 p.m., $39.50. (D2)

Black Magic

When the Black Keys blues duo hit the scene in 2002 with debut The Big Come Up, the band's rough and raw rock was a flamethrower blast at those music snobs disillusioned by new music and in need of a new Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet cassette. As the Akron boys approach the release of their fourth album Magic Potion on September 12, the flames show no sign of abating. See them when they play with Beaten Awake at the Fillmore Saturday, September 9. 9 p.m., $20. (K.R.)

Quintessential Mills

No idea what it will sound like, but how can one resist the Mills College Concert Hall season opener, Rock and a Hard Place? Listen to the lineup: Charming Hostess, three women in a whirl of eerie harmony and hot rhythm; eRikm, a French turntablist who creates a fusion between rock and contemporary music; and the venerable guitar pioneer Fred Frith in duo with Yuka Honda, a founding member of New York band Cibo Matto. Ooh, snap! Friday, September 8. 8 p.m. $12, $6 seniors. (Jason Victor Serinus)


Oliver Mtukudzi's "Paivepo (Once Upon a Time)" was the fastest-selling, most successful album ever released in his native Zimbabwe, with a sound that blends traditional music with his own contemporary sensibilities. Mtukudzi is a passionate singer and a charismatic frontman with a band that's guaranteed to move both body and soul with a relentless groove. At Yoshi's Monday, September 11, through Wednesday, September 13. 8 & 10 p.m., $24. (j. poet)

Boobs and Scotch

No, he doesn't have a new album, nor does he have a new shtick, but just the fact that he's in town is reason enough to see Tucson's Bob Log III. Armed with his motorcycle helmet, spandex jumpsuit, kick-drum, hi-hat cymbals, and guitar, he plays gritty, foot-stomping blues-rock with a freaky twist. Still touring on his last release, 2003's Log Bomb, Log encourages half-naked audience participation on songs like "Boob Scotch." He plays with Blowfly and YIKES! on Saturday, September 9 at SF's 12 Galaxies. 9 p.m., $10. (K.R.)


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