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Wednesday, Oct 24 2007

On its 2005 debut for Jagjaguwar, Canadian collective Black Mountain brewed up an intoxicating batch of homegrown rock. Stephen McBean's soulful voice and hypnotic song-visions create a contemporary version of classic rock, rich in texture and never ironic. The band lopes along as repeated guitar riiffs, a throbbing rhythm section, and occasional bursts of jamming keep up the druggy pace. Black Mountain is currently prepping a new album, In the Future, for a January release. Hopefully, time spent opening for Coldplay in the past few years hasn't altered the psilocybic songwriting McBean's mastered with his main project and his similarly minded solo effort, Pink Mountaintops. A tour-only EP will be available at shows on this outing to tide you over until the New Year. Black Mountain performs on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at The Independent at 9 p.m. Admission is $12; call 771-1422 or visit for more info. — Jonah Flicker

Revolutionary bebop pioneer Thelonious Monk would have turned 90 this month, and tributes are happening at a drop of a hat, ranging from jazz piano marathons to CD reissues. The birthday buzz is not, however, the motivation for Monk's Music Trio, one of the longest-running Monk repertory groups in the country. In the past eight years, the San Francisco act formed by Si Perkoff (piano), Chuck Bernstein (drums), and Sam Bevan (bass) has been appearing regularly at The Simple Pleasures Cafe. The group brings new arrangements to the late pianist's timeless tunes, as heard on the recent Monk on Mondays. Monk's Music Trio performs with the T.S. Monk Sextet as part of the San Francisco Jazz Festival on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Great American Music Hall at 8 p.m. Admission is $25-40; call 788-7353 or visit for more info. — Ernest Barteldes

Once called an "awkward, aw-shucks bumpkin" by Pitchfork, Tom Brosseau is North Dakota's best-known straw-blond singer (after Peggy Lee, natch). If by that description, the 'Fork writer meant that Brousseau wears his cornfed heart on his sleeve, and that his spooky ragtime and weird Americana is delivered with genuine warmth of spirit, then I won't disagree. Cavalier, his first proper LP, is ten tracks of bluesy love lost and found, delivered through sparse finger-picking and his sweetly plaintive voice. The L.A. transplant is beloved around his adopted city for his live shows, which are punctuated by his goofy stories. Tom Brosseau opens for Múm on Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Palace of Fine Arts at 8 p.m. Admission is $25; call 673-5716 or visit for more info. — Frances Reade

Guitarist Nels Cline has digits in so many musical pastries it's a wonder he can keep the varieties separate. Then again, maybe he doesn't — not completely, anyway. Formerly of the Geraldine Fibbers, Cline played with Mike Watt, is a member of Americana rockers Wilco, and has an extensive background in jazz (bebop, fusion, and free). He takes something from every experience for each context in which he performs. His latest disc under the banner Nels Cline Singers (featuring Bay Area drum whiz Scott Amendola), Draw Breath, features cavernous, shadowy blues ambience ("Caved-In Heart Blues"), thorny King Crimson-meets-Sonic Youth onslaughts ("Confection"), and noisy cinematic panoramas ("Squirrel of God"). Cline'll clean your clock, guitaristically speaking. The Nels Cline Singers with special guest Jeff Parker (Tortoise) perform two sets on Thursday, Oct. 25 at Cafe du Nord at 9 p.m. Admission is $12-14; call 861-5016 or visit for more info. — Mark Keresman

Every fall, legendary rocker and political lefty Neil Young comes down from his home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, calls up some heavyweight friends, and goes acoustic for the weekend in a long-running concert series that benefits San Mateo County's Bridge School. Co-founded by Young's wife Pegi, the school teaches communication skills to kids with severe disabilities, and the concerts have become famous not only for the stellar lineups, but also for the surprise guests and inspired pairings onstage. Who knows what will happen this year when festival newcomers John Mayer, My Morning Jacket, and Regina Spektor join Bridge vets Tegan & Sara, Metallica, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tom Waits with Kronos Quartet, and of course, Young himself. The 21st Annual Bridge School Benefit is on Saturday, Oct. 27, and Sunday, Oct. 28, at Shoreline Amphitheater at 5 p.m. (Sat.) and 2 p.m. (Sun.) Admission is $39.50-$150; call 650-967-3000 or visit for more info. – Toph One


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