Critic’s Choice for the week of March 14-20, 2007

Indie vixens, heavy metal coverboys, and of course, some local bangers and mash.

Bangin’ mash

If you’re going to be drinking on St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll want to hang your hat at Beckett’s in downtown Berkeley. From its old-brick facade to its dark-wood interior, its tasty “Bangers and Mash” dish to the pints of Guinness and Murphy’s on tap, Beckett’s is a prime choice for wassailing. To celebrate, Fun with Finnoula will play a mix of contemporary and traditional Irish and Scottish tunes to get you in the mood, plus Sweet Crude Bill & the Lighthouse Nautical Society performs its country-Morrissey concoction. Saturday, March 17, time and price TBA.


Inspired by the events of September 11 and the drug-addled literature of Irvine Welsh, the popular emo band My Chemical Romance often seems at cross-purposes with itself. On the one hand, it’s a rock outfit edging towards psychedelia; on the other, it’s the quintessential bad-diary-day band. Its promising 2003 album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, included such hits as the sordid love ballad “Helena” and the high-school-reject anthem “I’m Not Okay.” And that was like, you know, its happy album. Since then, the band has achieved unprecedented success with its screamy 2006 effort, The Black Parade. See what fame has done to the band Thursday, March 15 at Oakland’s Oracle Arena. 7:30 p.m., $30.25.

Metal Celebs

Considering that Avril Lavigne just released her second album, it’s Jesus-on-toast miraculous that Oakland’s High on Fire has gotten the attention it has. Recently, Rolling Stone recognized Matt Pike as one of the “New Guitar Gods” alongside John Mayer, Derek Trucks, and John Frusciante. (No, they didn’t invite him to the twelve-bar blues jam video cover-shoot, but that would’ve ruled.) Still, the band is using its spotlight to elevate extreme punk-metal flagellators and fellow Oaklanders Watch Them Die, which it took on tour last year. The two join forces again with Saros and Drain the Sky for a St. Patrick’s Day show on Saturday, March 17 at the Uptown. 9 p.m., $12, $14. (K.R.)

Indie’s X-tinas

Meg & Dia consist of sisters Meg (21) and Dia (19) Frampton, guitarist Kenji Chan, and drummer Nicholas Price. Of course, the hype is behind the two sisters. Now signed to Warner Bros., with a song on the new Ninja Turtles soundtrack, their sound offers plenty to entice doe-faced girls dreaming of true love, but the main appeal is no different than what made Britney and Christina marketing dreams come true. Thursday, March 15 at Slim’s in SF. 7:30 p.m., $16.

Thelonious’ Monk

Pianist Randy Weston was exploring the sounds of Africa before most people in the United States even knew the continent existed outside of their geography textbooks. His ability to merge the African-American sounds of jazz, from blues to postbop, with the music of the motherland has produced a rich body of work that helped define and transcend the narrow genre of world music. Saxman Billy Harper adds his soulfully spiritual improvisations to Weston’s African Rhythms Quartet on this tour. Thursday through Sunday March 15-18 at Yoshi’s. 8 and 10 p.m., $18/$12.

Rocking the Didgeridoo

Eda Maxym, the versatile vocalist in such world-bending bands as Trance Mission and Beasts of Paradise, celebrates the release of her debut CD, Imagination Club, with her band and guest didgeridoo player Stephen Kent (her husband). The songs range from world-pop-rock originals to covers, including Beatles songs, that take on new form in Maxym’s imaginative arrangements. What really counts is her spectacularly free-spirited voice and creative approach to contemporary music. Thursday, March 15 at the Freight & Salvage. 8 p.m., $19.50/$18.50.

Trippy Plates

The Mantles are two groovy guys and one gal from the City swishing around trippy, garage pop of the psychedelic ’60s, like shifting continents of jangle and reverb, garbled singing, and plodding bass. The trio headlines a healthy St. Patty’s lineup with Loyal Sons and Daughters, Que La Chinga, Strix Vega, and REID opening, at the Stork Club on Saturday, March 17. 9 p.m., $5.

Choral Music, American Style

Under Magen Solomon, the 24 members of San Francisco Choral Artists have evolved into one of the Bay Area’s premier chamber choirs. The group presents I Hear America Singing Sunday, March 18, in Oakland’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The packed afternoon includes African-American spirituals and music by Roy Harris, Charles Ives, George Rochberg, Samuel Barber, Elliott Carter, William Schumann, Ernst Toch, Jerry Mueller, Ted Allen, Mark Keller, and Leonard Bernstein. Yummy. 4 p.m., $18-$25. (Jason Victor Serinus)

See Also

Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble at Zellerbach Hall (Friday, page 19); Joey Lent at Spud’s Pizza, Juan del Gastor at La Peña Cultural Center (Saturday, page 20); Ralph Alessi and Against That at Yoshi’s (Monday, page 21).

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