Critic’s Choice for the week of

Our writers tell you what's hot this week.


When Georgia native Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall, turned to her Southern roots for inspiration, she emerged from the studio in 2006 with The Greatest, a critically acclaimed soul record that got a boost from some legendary Memphis studio musicians best known for backing up Al Green. The result was a further maturation of this idiosyncratic artist who found inspiration at the crossroads of R&B and country, while still including enough bittersweet dysfunction for diehard fans. Currently touring with her crack Dirty Delta Blues Band as a prelude to next year’s tentatively titled Covers Record 2, rumors of newfound sobriety are translating into nearly three-hour performances rather than panicky cancellations. So this one should be a good bet. Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the Fillmore. 8 p.m. $32.50. —Dave Gil de Rubio


The reggae community has historically prided itself on righteousness in roots, religion, and lifestyle. Today, true righteousness must encompass new areas: sustainability, social awareness, and that slippery ideal of environmental friendliness. For Athens, Georgia, reggae squad Dubconscious, these concepts extend beyond the abstract. The seven members travel on biodiesel and plan to convert their bus to run on pure vegetable oil. They say they’re always looking for new ways to live — and tour — more sustainably. Sounds like they’ve come to the right place. Dubconscious plays Berkeley’s Ashkenaz on Thursday, Sept. 20, with support from DJ Captain Harris. 9:30 p.m. $8-$10. Ashkenaz.comNate Seltenrich


Chile’s Cuarteto Latinoamericano de Saxofones has two Berkeley appearances. But they warrant it. This is a different kind of quartet, with four saxophonists playing tunes from Baroque to dazzling contemporary classical by Latin American composers. Throw in some original works and Latin folk music, irresistible rhythms, and innovative four-part harmonizing, and the reedsmen soar. Formed in 1992, the quartet (Alejandro Vasquez, Ricardo Alvarez, Raul Lopez, and Jaime Atenas) has toured widely and accumulated impressive awards for its unique approach. The band presents a lecture-demonstration on Friday, Sept. 21, at JazzSchool (8:00 p.m., $15,, followed by a full concert the following night at La Peña Cultural Center. 8 p.m. $20. Lapena.orgLarry Kelp


Guitarist Bobby Broom has more than alliteration going for him. Drawn to jazz as a teen after listening to the early recordings of George Benson (back when Benson was one of the genre’s baddest players, save for Wes Montgomery), Harlem-born Broom become a sideman for tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, and eventually established his own career as a bandleader. On his latest trio album, Song and Dance, he had the audacity to open with a Beatles cover, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” which he reconfigured as a twelve-bar blues. He also included the Charlie Chaplin tune “Smile,” the theme from Little Rascals, and a hip, slightly behind-the-beat rendition of the normally flat MacDonald and Salter duet “Where Is the Love?” While most jazz albums feature one or two pop songs with some altered changes, Broom goes a little more off the beaten track in choosing his source material. Plus he’s a got a knack for taking the original tune and ratcheting it up a notch. The Bobby Broom Trio (including bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins) performs Saturday, Sept. 22, at Berkeley’s JazzSchool. 8 p.m. $20. JazzSchool.comRachel Swan


In a most enticing opening to its 27th season, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under the delightful Nicholas McGegan presents a concert version of Il Re Pastore (The Shepherd King). The fabulous cast for this infrequently performed opera, written by a nineteen-year old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, includes well-known sopranos Heidi Grant Murphy and Lisa Saffer, as well as mezzo Margaret Lattimore, and tenors Iain Paton and Michael Slattery. Saturday, Sept. 22, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 23, at 7:30 p.m. at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church. $30-$72. 415-392-4400 or Philharmonia.orgJason Victor Serinus


The original punk Rastas are back. After reuniting for the umpteenth time and touring behind their critically acclaimed new album Build a Nation (produced by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch), Bad Brains are finally in a position to reap the benefits of their influential career, which started in Washington, DC, in 1979. Known for their all-out assault on metal, funk, and reggae, singer HR, guitarist Dr. Know, drummer Earl Hudson, and bassist Daryl Jenifer are the real deal, folks — legends in their own time. Don’t miss your chance to see the Brains during their two-night stay at Slim’s, where they’re sure to play tons of stuff from the new album, as well as classics like “Pay to Cum” and “Return to Heaven.” Sunday, Sept. 23, and Monday, Sept. 24. 8 p.m. $25. — Eric K. Arnold


Th’ Legendary Shack*Shakers live up to their name with a sonic assault that cracks the plaster in the walls, loosens floorboards, and generates more heat than a year of global warming. Front man J.D. Wilkes rants like a street corner preacher high on a steady diet of blues, country, and punk, while guitarist David Lee unleashes blazing volleys that’ll sear the hairs off a pig’s hide. One of the last great live bands, claims Jello Biafra, who sang backup on their 2006 album, Pandelirium. Wednesday, Sept. 26 at SF’s 12 Galaxies. 9:00 p.m. $12. Ticket info: 415-970-9777 or — j. poet

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