Thursday, July 25
Social Distortion OK, all their records sound the same, but you have to admit, it's a damn good sound! These tattooed studs sing about booze, babes, and prison better than any punks I know (granted, singer Mike Ness only did time in the local lockup, but "Prison Bound" sounds better than "County Jail Bound"). Folks down South tell me that Social D is to L.A. what the Dwarves are to S.F. Well, we'll just see about that. Lord knows when we'll have another opportunity for comparison: It took us three years to get the Dwarves back on a stage, and chances are they won't make it all the way down the coast. Scarce and Suckapunch open. Great American Music Hall, 9 p.m., $15.
Friday, July 26
"More Bang for Your Buck" If I were to put money on any one show at SFO3, I'd have to choose this one. You've got the super high-energy of the WAMMIE-winning, Latin-funk-hip-hop 10-piece Los Angelitos; the soulful '60s musings of the Supernaturals, featuring ex-members of the Loved Ones; the sexy, WAMMIE-winning bump-and-grind of the all-star ensemble Engorged With Blood (which includes members of Club Foot Orchestra, Pearl Harbour, Romeo Void, and the American Music Club); and Prawn Song's up-and-coming world-punk outfit Baby Snufkin. But wait, there's more! Upstairs, you've got the bluesy, lyric-driven roots of Preacher Boy, and the fantastic, country-flavored jazz of Jim Campilongo & the Ten Gallon Cats. Paradise Lounge, 9 p.m., $7.
Saturday, July 27
Action Plus Imagine the creepy, wobbling soprano of a Star Trek siren playing Ring Around the Rosy with a rumbling, baritone guitar riff; add some blazing bongo heat and a little al dente spaghetti western, and you might be getting close. This is the brainchild of guitarist Joe Gore, whose other projects include the jazz-improv wizardry of the Oranj Symphonette and an abundance of work with no-namers like Tom Waits and Polly Jean Harvey. Action Plus is an original, somewhat dark take on loungy flavors inspired by the likes of Bacharach, Mancini, and Morricone. If you like theremin, it's in there. Bruno's, 11 p.m./12:30 a.m., $4.
Sunday, July 28
Manifest Yesterday Don't say goodbye, just so long. Lead singer L.B. Free is taking his velvety smooth baritone to France where he will, no doubt, continue to spread his unique fusion of philosophy and music. The jazzhopsoul sound that is Manifest Yesterday's trademark is a blend of funky groove, urban texture, scat-style vocalization, and Afrocentric, polycultural lyrics. Free cut his musical teeth while singing with the Oakland Jazz Choir and One Nation Underground, but it was only with the realization of Manifest that his magnetic stage personas came into being. The Parisians should count their blessings. Part of Nabiel & Martel's "Leopard Lounge"; DJ Jerry Ross spins. Blues, 10 p.m., $5.
Monday, July 29
H.O.R.D.E. Festival For all those lucky buggers who don't have to work today, here's a little cultural overload. Imagine, if you will, Lenny Kravitz and Rickie Lee Jones sharing a stage. Such an overwhelming confluence of ego fairly boggles the mind, don't it? But that is just the beginning. This year's H.O.R.D.E. also features its founding fathers, Blues Traveler, as well as Rusted Root, the Dave Matthews Band, Jono Manson, and others. Also present: "[T]he most cutting edge politically, socially and environmentally conscious interactive displays and vendors in the country," an indigenous peoples jam session, and work from environmental sculptor Shane Eagleton. Shoreline Amphitheater, 4 p.m., $33.
Tuesday, July 30
Download With Skinny Puppy founder cEvin Key collaborating with Mark Spybey from Dead Voices on Air, and soliciting the additional help of British exile Genesis P. Orridge, you could not have been expecting a fluffy pink bunny of an album. Furnace (Nettwerk) is a dark, futuristic dreamscape filled with toys' voices and hallucinatory incantations. The music dips into pools of ambient and techno, while still fueling an industrial hellfire. Opener Twilight Circus features members of Skinny Puppy and the Legendary Pink Dots. DNA Lounge, 9 p.m., $7.
By Silke Tudor