.Calendar Picks: Week of Dec. 28-Jan. 3




Pianist, computer scientist, mother, climate activist—singer-songwriter Vienna Teng is all of these. Her 2002 debut album, Waking Hour, was released to critical acclaim, landing her spots on NPR’s Weekend Edition, The Late Show With David Letterman and a spot on Amazon’s top charts. Her songs are deep, introspective and personal, even when she writes from someone else’s viewpoint. Last year she launched a “music x climate action” project that hosts monthly climate action Zoom meetings and workshops to raise awareness that we can all do something positive to save the world one step at a time. She performs at Freight & Salvage on Thursday and Friday. – MAT WEIR

INFO: 8pm, Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley. $40-$75. 510.644.2020. 



Cofounded by Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, transformative hip-hop collective the Roots emerged from Philadelphia’s vibrant streets in 1987. Weaving together jazz, rap, funk and soul, the Roots are architects of the live rap-band genre. They’re also very, very busy—improvising as the house band of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and developing the Roots Picnic music festival-coming to L.A. in 2024, and Questlove is set to direct and oversee the music for Disney’s live-action remake of The Aristocats. Everybody digs a swinging cat. – SONYA BENNETT-BRANDT

INFO: 8pm, Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. $75. 510.302.2250.




Enjoying three decades of swinging, buoyant rhythm and hanky-panky fun is a sweet reward for making it through 2023. Attending an appearance of the six-string-playing dudes known as the String Cheese Incident is a fine way to set your toes tapping as you dance into 2024. SCI’s terrific musicianship and blend of bluegrass, rock, jazz, R&B, calypso, reggae and a smidgeon of electronica manages to waft both retro and new. Soaring sound waves abound, so join the ride and leave the show elevated. SCI plays at Fox Theatre on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. – LOU FANCHER

INFO: 8pm, Fox Theatre, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, $69.50. 510.302.2250.



With a career spanning 67 years, renowned percussionist Pete Escovedo brings a rich musical heritage to the stage. Escovedo, who Tito Puente mentored, toured for years with Carlos Santana, blurring the lines between Latin jazz, smooth jazz, salsa and contemporary music. On his retirement tour, 86-year-old Escovedo and his orchestra showcase the culmination of a lifetime in the entertainment industry. Accompanied by a five-person horn section and a dynamic rhythm-and-percussion ensemble, Escovedo delivers a masterclass in the rhythms and melodies of Latin jazz, uniquely fused with other styles and sounds. PEO performs at Yoshi’s on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. – SB

INFO: 7:30pm/9:45pm, Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. $39-$125. 510.238.9200




SF Chronicle and Living Blues music critic Lee Hildebrand attests that Terrie Odabi is “easily the most dynamic blues and soul woman to have emerged in the Bay Area since Etta James came out of San Francisco’s Fillmore District in the ’50s.” It’s a lofty comparison that Odabi lives up to year after year, wielding her powerful voice and sharp lyricism with remarkable talent. Born in Oakland, the star knew she wanted to sing the blues from her teenage years and went on to study with opera singer Gwendolyn Brown, “The Jazz Professor” Dr. Bill Bell and many more luminaries. Now, Odabi is known and celebrated as one of the greats. – ADDIE MAHMASSANI

INFO: 7:30pm, Sound Room, 3022 Broadway, Oakland. $28.50. 510.708.7691.



Key Elements, a quintet led by veteran Latin jazz-pianist Patricia Thumas, brings together some of the region’s most seasoned women instrumentalists. Focusing on original compositions and arrangements by Thumas, the band features tenor saxophonist Robin Nzingah Smith, percussionist Sue “Suki” Kay, bassist Sylvia Sherman and drummer Joyce Baker. The repertoire encompasses gems from the Latin American songbook, focusing on the countries of Cuba and Brazil. There’s no room for a dance floor at the Back Room, but hips will swivel anyway. – ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 8pm, Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave., Berkeley. $20. 510.654.3808.




The vibe is entirely Fleetwood—the black velvet bed of “Dreams,” the bristle of “Go Your Own Way” and the unforgettableness of “Silver Springs,” “The Chain,” “Gypsy” and “Don’t Stop.” The audience will absolutely be singing. Feel good, make loving fun and have mercy while falling in love with this Bay Area-based band—not to mention the ghostly memories of the all-time impact of Fleetwood Mac. The band is Linda Moody (Stevie Nicks), Jai Bird (Mick Fleetwood), Tori Fulkerson-Jones (John McVie), Owen Adair Kelley (Lindsey Buckingham) and Lindsay Everly. The group performs at Ivy Room on Saturday and Sunday. – LF

INFO: 9pm, Ivy Room, 860 San Pablo Ave., Albany. $20/adv, $22/door. 510.526.588.




The Dresden Dolls, a punk cabaret duo from Boston, are the perfect band to ring in the New Year on this strange planet. Formed in 2000, the group counts rock hedonists the Doors, jazz-singer Nina Simone and German playwright Bertolt Brecht among their eclectic influences. Their aesthetic is a brilliant combination of feral and twee with the eerie, white face paint of mimes setting the tone. Songwriter Amanda Palmer’s darkly humorous lyricism brings the attitude, and drummer Brian Viglione’s primal beats anchor the whole operation. Their last album was 2008’s No Virginia, but their first global tour in almost two decades is said to be stoking new material. – AM

INFO: 9pm, UC Theatre, 2036 University Ave., Berkeley. $100. 510.356.4000.



In the spanning decades of Grateful Dead tribute bands, a few names rise, ahem, higher than the others. Jerry’s Middle Finger is one of those bands. The six-piece outfit hails from L.A. and has a deep reservoir of Grateful Dead and Dead-adjacent songs to keep the heads twirling all night. This Sunday they continue the Dead’s tradition of playing New Year’s Eve shows in the Bay Area and spreading loving vibes like ripples in still water. Speaking of liquids, be prepared for the altered mind-enhancing Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show by Lance Gordon, who has performed this art at psychedelic rock shows since the glory days of 1971. – MW

INFO: 9:30pm, Cornerstone, 2367 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. $43.50/adv, $51/door. 510.214.8600.


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