Critic’s Choice for the week of November 10-16, 2004

Our writers tell you what's hot this week.


Feeling depressed over the election results? Turn that frown upside down and realize that it’s people, not politicians, who make the world go ’round. People such as Joan Baez, Mickey Hart, the Roots, Third Eye Blind, the Coup, and Michelle Shocked and the Waybacks, all of whom will be playing live at what is being billed as the most eco-friendly indoor event in the country. Powered by solar energy and biodiesel fuel, the second annual We the Planet Music and Activism Festival promises to keep hope alive without producing any waste or emissions. More than forty local nonprofit groups are scheduled to participate in the event, organized by celebrity tree-hugger Julia Butterfly Hill. The concert portion begins at 6 p.m., but starting at 2 there will be a series of workshops aimed at getting you involved in saving the planet, because we obviously can’t count on our elected officials to do it. It all goes down Saturday at the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland. Tickets are $22 in advance, $30 at the door.,, or 510-601-9790, ext. 6. (Eric K. Arnold)


Long the most heralded of traditional Cajun musicians, Louisiana accordionist Marc Savoy and singer-guitarist wife Ann Savoy (two-thirds of the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band) have teamed up with their now-grown sons, fiddler Joel and keyboardist Wilson, in their first Berkeley performances as the Savoy Family Cajun Band. Saturday at 9:30 p.m. (preceded by an 8 p.m. lecture), they’ll play for the dance crowd at Ashkenaz, and Sunday at 8 p.m. they’ll follow up with a sit-down concert at the Freight & Salvage., (Larry Kelp)


The Tiger Lillies have created their own sinister niche, blending opera, pop, and British music-hall excess with their skewed musical and lyrical visions. The trio — led by accordion player, songwriter, and falsetto vocalist Martyn Jacques — goes where angels fear to tread with darkly humorous songs about prostitution, suicide, torture, and other unsavory elements of human nature. Drummer Adrian Huge supplies a wide range of percussive sounds on found objects, while Adrian Stout holds down the bottom on acoustic bass. Tonight at SF’s Great American Music Hall. $20, 8 p.m. 415-478-2277 or (j. poet)


Now in its fourth year, the San Francisco Funk Festival has become one of the Bay Area’s liveliest musical events. Dedicated to preserving the history of funk, illuminating its present, and forecasting its future, the festival takes its funk seriously, as should you. But that doesn’t mean folks won’t be getting crazy doing the two shows at the Elbo Room this weekend. Friday night, the Spam All Stars headline the World Funk showcase, along with DJ Vinnie Esparza. At Saturday’s Urban Soul showcase, neo-soul funkster Martin Luther does his thing, along with J’Rod Indigo, Kid Beyond, and DJ Rickey Vincent. Both shows promise to be, ahem, motor-booty affairs, so prepare to get the notion to put your backfield in motion. $10-$13, (E.K.A.)


For those still unconvinced by TV on the Radio‘s disjointed, minimalist indie-funk debut Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes, make haste to (legally) acquire the band’s new single, “New Health Rock,” as propulsive and tremendous a rock tune as the biz will burp out this year. The dudes hit Bimbo’s 365 Club in SF tonight, opening for the Faint. 8 p.m., $17.50. (Rob Harvilla)


It’s beautiful how the Hecho en Califas Festival at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley brings together young Hispanic artists to perform and present on the same stage. Friday night is a great example, as O-Maya, International Hip-Hop Exchange, Lysa Flores, and poet Ariel Robello get together to bust rhymes and share songs. All are exceptional, but Flores is a rare talent seasoned by the ’80s Hollywood punk scene and named one of Newsweek‘s “Top 20 Latinos to Watch” in the new millennium. 8 p.m., $10. 510-849-2568 or (Jesse “Chuy” Varela)


Though hardly in hiding, the Maybeck Trio has seldom performed beyond the confines of private residences. Sunday evening at the Berkeley Arts Center, superb cellist Elaine Kreston unites with equally excellent pianist Jerry Kuderna and clarinetist Roy Zajac to perform Brahms, Rota, Lutoslawski, and Janàcek. $8-$10, 7:30 p.m. 510-644-6893. (Jason Victor Serinus)


A recent SF Symphony performance with tenor soloist Michael Schade revealed a keen intelligence married to a beautiful voice better suited to lighter repertoire than grand-scaled Mahler. Now Schade appears in Berkeley’s Hertz Hall to deliver a potentially superb Cal Performances recital, accompanied by the sterling Michael Martineau. Beginning with Beethoven’s Adelaide, the program of Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, Fauré, and Strauss is capped by some great Viennese classics that once belonged to Richard Tauber. $46, Saturday at 3 p.m. 510-642-9988. (J.V.S.)

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