Critic’s Choice for the week of January 24-30, 2007

Electrifying conductors, vicious selectas, and the Beachiest Boy of the bunch.

Precious Pop

Formed in 2004, San Francisco’s Minipop has shared the stage with some of indie rock’s more lo-fi contemporaries like Rogue Wave and Rainer Maria. Having just finished recording its debut album (its 2005 Precious EP is sold out), the coed fivesome continues to expand on the sublime, lush melodies and washes of synth (see “Like I Do”) that helped the band earn top spins on Live 105’s Soundcheck. Minipop is now embarking on a brief West Coast tour, culminating in a performance at SXSW in March. Catch it at the Stork Club on Friday, January 26 with the Hot Toddies, Good City Lie Still, and No More Stereo. 9 p.m., $5. (Kathleen Richards)

Electric Mandolin?

Oakland’s Tempest, under the charismatic leadership of Norwegian electric-mandolin player and singer-songwriter Lief Sorbye, has been knocking ’em dead on the international folk circuit for almost twenty years. It’s one of the world’s finest folk-rock bands and a local treasure, famous for its high energy and dazzling musicianship. The current lineup includes longtime drummer Adolpho Lazo, fiddler Michael Mullen, guitarist Ronan Carroll, and bass player Ariane Cap. Saturday, January 27 at the Starry Plough. 9 p.m., $12. (j. poet)

Pet Wilson

In celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the release of the Beach Boys’ pop masterpiece Pet Sounds, Brian Wilson has embarked on what could be a last hurrah for the aging songwriter (he’s 64) and his famed album. The tour comes on the heels of an acclaimed performance in November, his induction into the UK Music Hall of Fame, and the release of a limited-edition doll of Wilson himself. A host of musicians will be on hand to perform Pet Sounds in its entirety, including onetime Beach Boy Al Jardine. At the Paramount Theatre in Oakland on Sunday, January 28. 8 p.m., $45-$85. (K.R.)

Lotta Tape

There are no performers save the music itself, but that makes for just as riveting an experience at the San Francisco Tape Music Festival. The three-day festival returns for another installment of audio art by local and international composers, creating an “immersive sonic experience” with its sixteen-speaker surround sound. On Saturday, experience the works of local composers Cliff Caruthers, MaryClare Brzytwa, and Kent Jolly, plus a world premiere by Brian Eno. At the ODC Theater in SF Saturday, January 27. 8 p.m., $7/$12. (K.R.)

Knee-Slapping Folk

Wedded bliss went south for Lou & Peter Berryman, but their musical relationship has grown over the past twenty years. Their off-kilter harmonies buoyed by accordion and guitar back some of the best lyric zingers and funniest songs to come out of the Midwest. The Berrymans (who long ago married other partners) continue to write and sing songs that poke fun at the human plight, idiosyncrasies of living in America, sports, and painting the living room when the world is crumbling around them and us. As silly as they sometimes get, love comes through, adding warmth and depth and turning what could have been a comedy act into an evening of insight. Saturday, January 27 at the Freight & Salvage. 8 p.m., $19.50/$18.50. (Larry Kelp)

Live and Die Wrecked

DJs come and go, but the real litmus test of dancehall music is the vitality of its singers. Honey-tongued crooner Gyptian may be the best thing to happen to reggae in years. You can have your Tony Matterhorns and your Sean Pauls, but give me a dude who can smoothly segue between romantic lover’s rock and socially conscious roots material (as Gyptian does on tunes like “Ma Ma,” “Beautiful Lady,” and “Serious Times,” from his debut album My Name Is … ) anytime. Catch him this Saturday at Club Six’s Darkroom in SF, when he headlines DeeCee’s Soul Shakedown, along with selectas Ras Messa and Uni-T of Lonestar Sound. 9 p.m., $22. (Eric K. Arnold)

Electrifying Conductors

Given that conductor Lorin Maazel, now of NY Philharmonic fame, conducted Arturo Toscanini’s NBC Symphony at age eleven, it seems fitting that he should be at the helm of the new Symphonica Toscanini. As part of a global forty-concert tour commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Toscanini’s death, the group of young, predominantly Italian musicians arrives at Zellerbach Hall for a Cal Performances concert that includes eminently centrist repertoire: the Overture to Rossini’s Barber of Seville, Mendelssohn’s Fourth Symphony “Italian,” and Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome (whose US premiere Toscanini conducted in 1926). Sunday, January 28. 3 p.m., $34-$76. (Jason Victor Serinus)

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