A psychotic cross-pollination between the Pogues, the Replacements, and the Slavonic Heritage Band, Deadweight are one of the most unique trios in San Francisco, and that's saying something. Live, the three primary players -- Paulo Baldi on percussion and drums; Benjamin Barnes on fiddle, lead vocals, mandolin, guitar, and viola; and Samuel Bass on cello -- create moody, lilting, sometimes ticklish mantles of sound. Think Eastern European Gypsy songs sung in the back of a big rig driven across tornado country by the ghost of the Marlboro Man, and you might be close. On Deadweight's new CD, Opus I, guitarists Eric McFadden and John Marshall, drummer Dave Peters, percussionist Paul Dal Porto, and the entire Chaos Marching Band add savory flavor to the pot. The band celebrates its CD release at the Hotel Utah on Saturday, Dec. 13 (which happens to be Hotel Utah booker Guy Carson's birthday), at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 421-8308. Proceeds benefit the San Francisco Unified School District.
Born out of the Old Mill Tavern music scene in Marin, the Christmas Jug Band has been celebrating the holiday season, in one incarnation or another, for the past two decades. This year's manifestation includes Dan Hicks, former host of the Old Mill's infamous open mike; Paul Rogers from Those Darned Accordions; Tim Eschliman from Etta James' band; Austin DeLeone from Nick Lowe's band; Lance Dickerman from Commander Cody's Lost Planet Airmen; Nick Phelps from Club Foot Orchestra and Tom Waits' band; Norton Buffalo from Steve Miller's band; Gregory Leroy Dewey from Country Joe & the Fish; Bill DeKuiper; and Blake Richardson. With these boys, the holiday blues are literally just that -- backwater renderings of Christmas sing-alongs that will have you doing the roadhouse hip-shake before Santa can say ho. The Christmas Jug Band celebrates the release of its third CD, Rhythm on the Roof, on radio show West Coast Live (KALW-FM 91.7; or attend the live taping at Fort Mason) on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 10 a.m.; call 664-9500. They also perform at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley on Tuesday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.50; call (510) 548-1761.
-- Silke Tudor