Over the past two decades Yoshi’s has become like a home stage for Lalah Hathaway, offering a space where she can relax with an audience that knows and loves her. It’s not that the five-time Grammy Award-winning soul queen sets her crown aside. She knows there’s simply nothing to prove, and rewards listeners with performances that erase distinctions between soulful jazz and jazz-steeped soul. With a new album due out shortly, she’s likely to introduce some new original songs while not skimping on the hits. With six shows during a three-night run, she’s got time to dig deeply into her songbook. – ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7:30-10pm, Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. $76-$129. 510.238.9200.
Bands working in the heavy-metal subgenre known as blackened doom do not court the faint of heart. One such group—Ragana—started in the Olympia, Washington, DIY punk scene of the 2010s and steadily darkened its sound through a prolific decade. They celebrate their new release, Desolation’s Flower, on Friday. It’s their first album on the Flenser label. The title track is an 8-minute-plus triumph of slow, painful pathos interwoven with heavy distortion and cathartic shrieking. They describe the song as “a hymn of gratitude for queer and trans ancestors, known or unknown.” –ADDIE MAHMASSANI
INFO: 7pm, Eli’s Mile High Club, 3629 Martin Luther King Junior Way, Oakland. $15/adv, $18/door. 510.808.7565.
There aren’t many artists like Jolie Holland. A founding member of the folky bluegrass outfit, the Be Good Tanyas, she appears all over their debut album, Blue Horse, despite leaving the group before its release. Tom Waits is an avid and outspoken fan of Holland’s. She’s recorded with Bad Religion frontman, Greg Graffin, on his solo album, as well as Anti-Records labelmate and rapper, Sage Francis—the latter of whom is also a huge fan of Holland’s. Even rock-icon Lou Reed once told her he could listen to her sing all night. Since 2003 she has released eight albums, the most recent of which, Haunted Mansion, just came out in October. – MAT WEIR
INFO: 8pm, Ivy Room, 860 San Pablo Ave., Albany. $25/adv, $27/door. 510.526.5888.
HIGH ON FIRE
Twenty-five years in, High on Fire isn’t slowing down. The pioneering Oakland-based metal trio is celebrating a quarter century of crushing riffs by recording a new album, set to drop in early 2024, and releasing a remixed and remastered version of their debut album, The Art of Self Defense. In frontman Matt Pike’s words, the album “came back like new and totally polished! Like a feral dog on a truck bed during a deluxe car wash.” Their savage, breakneck performances are legendary. Let them take you into a dynamized, viscerally heavy, riff-filled land. – SONYA BENNETT-BRANDT
INFO: 8pm, The UC Theater, 2036 University Ave., Berkeley. $30. 510.356.4000
Nahko Bear sprints across genres that include folk, rock, alt-R&B, reggae, gospel, hip-hop, pop and trap. He and his band, Medicine For The People, had their breakout year in 2013 with the album, Dark As Night. Add to all of that Nahko’s gripping biography—born to a Puerto Rican/Native American mother and a Filipino father, adopted and raised in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, street busking and battling his way to find identity ever since. Nakho has been celebrated for his artistry, vilified in the sinking sand of internet attacks, and has wrestled with facing his faults and weaknesses. Now, he claims to have “dug his way out of the trenches” and arrives at New Parish with his band and a seventh album, Trenches. – LOU FANCHER
INFO: 6pm & 8pm, New Parish, 1743 San Pablo Ave., Oakland. $49.95-64.95. 510.227.8177.
Variety magazine once named Kirk Franklin the “Reigning King of Urban Gospel,” and it’s easy to see why. During his career Franklin has won a number of awards including an amazing 19 Grammys. He’s released 14 albums, eight of them solo and six with ensembles like God’s Property, One Nation Crew and the Family. Last June, he announced The Reunion Tour with a who’s who of contemporary Christian and gospel singers featuring the Clark Sisters, Israel Houghton, Tye Tribbett and David & Tamela Mann. The reunion is complete with special guests New Breed, who collaborate often with Israel Houghton, along with God’s Property and the Family. – MW
INFO: 7pm, Oakland Arena, 7000 S. Coliseum Way., Oakland. $49-$296. 510.569.2121.
Spend a few hours in the mesmerizing world of Henry Rollins: musician, comedian, writer, actor, radio show host and generally inextinguishable storyteller. In his “Good to See You” spoken-word tour he tells tales—at breakneck speed—saved up from before and during the pandemic. His unfiltered stories of world travel, life as a punk frontman and being trapped in one area code by COVID are funny, dark and poignant. Rollins is a master orator, and in his hands the mundanity of COVID lockdown is infused with drama and high adventure. – SB
INFO: 8pm, Cornerstone, 2367 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. $36/adv, $41/door. 510.214.8600.
With her new album, Sundial, Noname demands the kind of clarity one can only get from sunlight. The artist grew up in Chicago, shining at slam poetry events, eventually impressing Chance the Rapper with her talent. After featuring on several of his tracks, including Acid Rap’s “Lost,” she released her astounding debut, Room 25, in 2018. Her follow-up comes in on the notorious Pitchfork review scale at a whopping 8.8, with writer Alphonse Pierre praising the bravery and nuance with which she takes on the commodification of Black art and her own place within the culture. As Pierre says, she’s “throwing grenades without taking shelter.” – AM
INFO: 8pm, Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland. $35. 510.302.2250.
At 36, singer/songwriter Michelle Willis has already covered a lot of ground. Born in the U.K., raised in Canada and now based in New York City, she’s best known for her work with the late David Crosby and vocalist Becca Stevens—another jazz-steeped vocalist who collaborated widely with Crosby. A startlingly gifted singer/songwriter with a gift for quiet revelation, she’s also toured with Iggy & the Stooges, Snarky Puppy and the Zac Brown Band. A perfect setting for a stripped-down show backing herself on piano and guitar, the Back Room isn’t a roadhouse, but it’s safe to expect the unexpected. – AG
INFO: 8pm, Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave., Berkeley. $20. 510.654.3808.