Critic’s Choice for the week of September 20-26, 2006

World beats, Arno-core, and a Monday night Mastodon.

Wild Worldbeat

Pele Juju, the all-woman, Santa Cruz-based world-music band that has filled Bay Area dancefloors with its jazzy Afro-reggae groove, returns after a seven-year break. In their heyday, Pele Juju’s members were dubbed “The Wild Women of Worldbeat,” and their legendary power and good-time vibe survive. Guitarist Shelley Doty opens the evening with her X-tet, a band that brings her soulful blend of blues, rock, jazz, folk, funk, and R&B to vivid life. Friday, September 22. 9:30 p.m., $15/$17. (j. poet)

Monday Night Massacre

Prepare for a nosebleed. Mastodon, Atlanta’s purveyors of sludgeworthy, rhythmically complex, and sonically dizzying metal, continues to push the envelope with its just-released third album and major-label debut Blood Mountain. Picking up where the whale-obsessed Leviathan left off, Blood Mountain is chock-full of songs sure to make your insides wince. Slay on. Monday and Tuesday September 25 and 26 at Slim’s with Converge and the Bronx. 8 p.m., $18. (Kathleen Richards)

Warehouse Rock Memorial

Ruthie’s Inn on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley, now home to Rountree’s, was a mecca for local thrash metal and punk acts in the 1980s — everyone from Bad Brains to Social Distortion, then later Metallica and Death Angel, ripped up the stage here. Promoter Wes Robinson, now in his seventies, is filming a documentary about the legendary club at this reunion show, featuring thirteen bands and you. The performers include Fang, No Alternative, Social Unrest, Verbal Abuse, All Time Highs, Arnocorps, Stone Vengeance, and Proudflesh. At Nimby Warehouse, 26th and Campbell streets, Oakland (skateboarders, FYI: indoor halfpipe! Sweeet!). Saturday, September 23. 6 p.m., $20. (K.R.)

DJ on da Run

Amoeba Music apparently likes its DJs on the run. Amoeba asked Cut Chemist to do two shows at its Berkeley and San Francisco stores in one day, and the result brought hundreds of rabid fans. This time around, the Hayward-born DJ Shadow returns to the Bay Area after introducing hyphy to Europeans with his hit single “3 Freaks,” featuring Keak da Sneak & Turf Talk. On Thursday, September 21, DJ Shadow plays the Berkeley Amoeba at 4 p.m. and the San Francisco store around 8 p.m. Both shows are free, so get there early. Catch Shadow’s live show the next day opening for Massive Attack at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. (K.R.)

Tenor Sensation

Rolando Villazon, the handsome young tenor with the dark gleaming voice and irresistible stage presence, make his Cal Performances debut this Sunday, September 24. Taking advantage of the intimate acoustics of Hertz Hall, the Merola graduate begins the afternoon with a performance of a familiar song cycle usually sung by baritones, Schumann’s Dichterliebe. The second half of the concert includes much-loved treasures by Bonincini, Handel, Massenet, Fauré, Tosti, and Obradors. Sunday, September 24. 3 p.m., $68. (Jason Victor Serinus)

Positive Reagon-omics

With her electrifying stage presence, folk-rock-soul-gospel shouter’s voice, and a ringing guitar to match, Toshi Reagon sounds as if she could single-handedly bring about world peace just through her music. On her seventh album, Have You Heard (on Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe label), Reagon comes to Berkeley’s La Peña. The daughter of Sweet Honey in the Rock founder Bernice Johnson Reagon, Toshi makes everything she sings, from political to personal, sound like a call to action to make a better world, a call that’s hard to resist because Reagon’s performance is so uplifting. Friday 9/22. 8 p.m. $15 (Larry Kelp)

R&B, Naturally

Nobody embodies retro cool better than Sharon Jones. The frontwoman for the Dap-Kings — an NYC-based ensemble featuring members of Antibalas — is like a cross between Aretha Franklin and James Brown. She demands — and earns — respect, but she’s not too shy to get up, get down, and get funky with her classic rhythm & blues stylings. Jones’ latest album, Naturally, is a wing-dinger, highlighted by a sumptuous version of “This Land Is Your Land,” the Woody Guthrie chestnut given a new life (and a backbeat) by Jones and Co. Expect sweat to drip out of every pore in your body when the red-hot R&B mama and the Dap-Kings play Bimbo’s — still the classiest juke joint in SF’s North Beach. Thursday, September 21. 7 p.m., $18. (Eric K. Arnold)

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