Critic's Choice 


Kitka, the Bay Area women's a cappella Balkan music ensemble, presents a limited-seating fund-raiser designed as a festive kafana (Balkan cafe) Wednesday at Montclair Women's Cultural Arts Club. Complete with soul songs and delicious delicacies, the tempting evening features mistress of ceremonies Linda Tillery, the Toids performing original Balkan-inspired instrumentals suitable for dancing, and surprise guests. 510-444-0323. (Jason Serinus)


Last November Jazz Times ran a photo of conguero Poncho Sanchez with the headline: "All Hail the New King of Latin Jazz." Fans of the late Tito Puente called it blasphemy, yet since starting his band in 1981, Sanchez has outsold and outplayed the New York competition with his West Coast brand of Latin jazz. He brings his royal grooves to Yoshi's Wednesday through Sunday. 510-238-9200. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)

Dee Dee Bridgewater returns to the scene of her Grammy-nominated Live at Yoshi's CD for an engagement Tuesday through next Sunday with a nine-piece band that includes alto saxophonist Antonio Hart, drummer Gregory Hutchison, and longtime pianist Tierry Eleiz. The Memphis-born, Paris-based singer's focus during this visit is on the compositions of Kurt Weill, no doubt including such favorites as "Mack the Knife" and "Bilbao Song." 510-238-9200. (Lee Hildebrand)


Mike Boner's performance art/rock shows are beautiful or disturbing, depending on your affinity for clothespinned nipples, guitar, and sex. It's sweet, dark, strange, and great. Three Day Stubble and the Ass Baboons of Venus also appear Thursday at the Eagle. 415-626-0880. (Katy St. Clair)

Attention weirdo punky art freaks: the Festival of the Hideous Dance comes to 21Grand on Saturday night. Featured is the act that made Chico proud, Experimental Dental School, a cacophony of oddity and noise that somehow finds a way to incorporate a dildo and some Hawaiian music. Also performing is Sagan, a collaboration comprising bleepy Blevin Blectum, Ryan Junell, and Lesser. Then there's Creepy Crawly Claw, featuring show tunes squarshed by blood and organ (the instrument, not the weenie). The whole thing is tied together with improvised film shorts. Artsy. Fartsy. 510-444-7263. (K.S.)


John Reischman, a former East Bay resident now based in Vancouver, BC, is one of bluegrass' best and most underrated mandolinists, an ear-boggling virtuoso without a trace of flash or excess. On Thursday he brings his band the Jaybirds to Freight & Salvage to play and sing the leanest, meanest, most exciting bluegrass of the new century. Guitarist Jim Nunally, banjo picker Nick Hornbuckle, bassist Trisha Gagnon, and fiddler Greg Spatz complete the lineup. 510-548-1761. (Larry Kelp)


Five Point Plan lead singer Latrice Barnett's inviting alto tones draw favorable comparison to those of Sade and Jill Scott, and her hip, hook-filled original odes seldom fail to hit the spot. The Bay Area quintet features selections from its recent Rare CD Friday at Blake's. 510-848-0886. (L.H.)


Originally a rub-board player and drummer in the Eunice Playboys, a band led by his late father John, Geno Delafose eventually took up both the diatonic and piano accordions and now carries on the family tradition. His is a very traditional take on zydeco; the repertoire, sung by Geno in both French and English, is made up of two-steps, waltzes, and shuffles, with few concessions to contemporary trends, all delivered with rock-till-you-drop intensity. The Louisiana squeeze-boxer and his French Rockin' Boogie Band pay their seventh annual Memorial Day visit to Eagles Hall in Alameda for a dance kicking off at 5 p.m. Monday. 415-285-6285. (L.H.)

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