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Wednesday, Dec 5 2007

Film School has found its niche preserving the shoegazer aesthetic. The band recognizes that great pop songs sound much better when obscured by a mess of ear-splitting guitars. While the group has weathered frequent lineup changes, gear theft, and other adversities, Los Angeles–based frontman Greg Bertens' wall of sound continues moving forward. This year's additions of female backing vocals (from bassist Lorelei Plotczyk) and a more visceral backbeat solidify Film School within its genre. Brooklyn's wonderfully cacophonous A Place to Bury Strangers provides support for this show, finding inspiration in the same distortion-pedal-heavy chapter of rock history. Gazeable footwear is strongly encouraged on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Mezzanine at 8 p.m. Admission is $10.53; call 625-8880 or visit for more info. — J. Pace

Canadian pop duo Tegan & Sara are sometimes mislabeled as folkies since, well, they're dykes and they play guitar. While you can occasionally glean Ani DiFranco's influence in their music, the Quin sisters' sound is more rightly compared to the power pop of the New Pornographers (whose bassist John Collins coproduced Tegan & Sara's 2004 album, So Jealous). Their latest CD, The Con, produced by Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie, finds the girls more pessimistic than on past albums, with lyrics like "Dark, you can't come soon enough for me/Saved, from one more day of misery." But expect these identical twins to lighten the mood with their trademark bitchy onstage banter when they perform on Thursday, Dec. 6, at Zellerbach Auditorium in Berkeley at 8 p.m. Admission is $25-27.50; call 510-642-9988 or visit for more info. — Will Harper

In the late '70s, Gene Sculatti of Crawdaddy! dubbed songwriter Jonathan Richman "The Future of Rock 'n' Roll." The irony is still palpable three decades later: Few pop artists are so rooted in the past. In Richman's case, it's the quixotic 1950s; the quirky Massachusetts native cops a jukebox lean, paying sonic tribute to early rock artists like Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins, and exploring that decade's themes of teenagerdom: cruisin' (the joyously provincial "Roadrunner"), carousin' ("Someone I Care About," which is Leave It to Beaver squeaky-clean), and cars ("Dodge Veg-O-Matic"). A friend once told me Satan was cast to hell's depths for disagreeing with God over The Modern Lovers' heavenly merits. Such is the hyperbolic veneration Richman inspires; see it on display on Thursday, Dec. 6 with former Beserkley labelmates The Rubinoos at the Great American Music Hall at 8 p.m. Admission is $15; call 885-0750 or visit for more info. — Ryan Foley

There've been some notable rockin' couples-as-performers: John Doe and Exene Cervenka, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Jack and Meg White. Now, there's Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby. Eric Goulden was among the original 1976-'78 Stiff Records posse (Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, the Damned) aiming to revitalize rock, though his charmingly ramshackle punk-pop was perhaps too British for American ears. Amy Rigby is a pop princess with four terrific folk-rock-meets-powerpop discs to her credit. Their meeting was pure rock 'n' roll — while Rigby was touring Britain, she performed Goulden's classic "Whole Wide World" and he leapt onstage to join her. They since recorded an album in France — their West Coast mini-tour will give you a taste of what's to come. Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby perform on Friday, Dec. 7, at Thee Parkside at 9 p.m. Admission is $10; call 252-1330 or visit for more info. — Mark Keresman

Today's fractured musical landscape doesn't allow much room for the kind of unifying Big Rock Band experience that seemed de rigueur not so long ago — gone are the days when fans of all stripes could claim neck cramps from camping out for Stones tickets. But Tool — whose pummeling brand of progressive art-metal has sold a bazillion records without the benefit of such industry favorites as songs shorter than seven minutes — may be as close as we get for now (or at least until Radiohead comes around again). Not that Tool endears itself to everyone: Last year's 10,000 Days was the band's latest album to go multiplatinum while being bone-crushingly heavy enough to keep you from spinning it for grandma. Still, you'd be hard-pressed to find another outfit about which hippies, metalheads, German goth-rockers, and Aleister Crowley fanatics can all agree. So if you want to be among the initiated, find thee a friend with extra tickets (like any Big Rock Band worth its salt, this show sold out ages ago) and cross your fingers. Tool performs on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium at 8 p.m. Visit for more info. — Ezra Gale


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