Our Weekly Picks: April 4-10

Pub date April 3, 2012




Death metal fans are eagerly awaiting At the Gate of Sethu, the newest album from South Carolina speed-demons Nile. Influenced, as always, by singer-guitarist Carl Sanders’ exhaustive study of Egyptian history and myth, the band’s new offering is sure to feature Nile’s distinctive traits: impossibly fast blast-beats (courtesy of drummer George Kollias), keening, Middle Eastern chords, and creepy, atmospheric interludes played on traditional instruments. Still, the chief delight for any Nile fan should be witnessing the band’s superhuman stamina and chops in person — despite a truncated opening set, few bands can play more individual notes in a single night.(Ben Richardson)

With the Black Dahlia Murder, Skeletonwitch, Hour of Penance

7:30pm, $21


333 11th St., SF

(415) 255-0333



Blank Tape Beloved featuring Brother Ali

“Sometimes I don’t write a lot/ I know folks out there call that writer’s block/ I just call it my process/ It comes out when it’s ready to, I guess…” So explains Brother Ali in new single “Writer’s Block,” perhaps as a reply to fans asking about the lengthy stretches between releases. The Minneapolis-based emcee brings a big-picture perspective, striking a lyrical balance between brevity and bookishness. New (and free!) seven-song EP The Bite Marked Heart provides the appetizer for upcoming LP Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color. Ali brings in the band Blank Tape Beloved for what he describes as an impromptu and intimate performance. (Kevin Lee)

9pm, $10

Cafe Du Nord

2170 Market, SF

(415) 861-5016




Cults sound like a ’60s girl group (think the Shangri-Las/Ronettes) drenched in dreamy, lo-fi noise. New York-based couple and artistic collaborators Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion began making music in their home as a hobby not too long ago. Shortly after their hit single “Go Outside” went viral in the blogosphere, however, they landed a record deal and released their first album (Cults). Their vocals, which Follin belts out in a sweet, crooning manner, suggest foreboding themes like senseless depression, unalterable inadequacies, and uneven, entrapping love. You’ll most likely want to slowly sway to these songs — and reverently mimic Oblivion’s steady, controlled head banging. (Mia Sullivan)

With Spectrals, Mrs. Magician

8pm, $21

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750

Thu/5, 8 p.m., $21


333 11th St., SF

(415) 255-0333




“Behind The Scenes: The Art and Craft of Cinema”

As a costume designer in Hollywood, Deborah Nadoolman Landis has worked on a host of legendary films and created iconic looks such as the fedora and jacket of Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones) in Raiders of The Lost Ark (1981), the candy apple red leather jacket for Michael Jackson in Thriller, the “College” shirt worn by John Belushi in Animal House (1978), and many more. Landis will be appearing at PFA this week to discuss her work as part of “Behind The Scenes: The Art and Craft of Cinema,” a special two-night program — on Thursday she will be joined by her husband, director John Landis, for a screening of Three Amigos! (1986) — one of several projects they’ve worked on together over the years. On Friday she will join fellow costume designer Aggie Guerard Rodgers for a talk and screening of the classic American Graffiti (1973). (Sean McCourt)

Thu/4-Fri/5, 7pm, $5.50–<\d>$9.50

Pacific Film Archive

2575 Bancroft Way, Berk.

(510) 642-1412



Argentine Tango USA Festival

There are few cities more similar to San Francisco than Buenos Aires — leaving aside the vagaries of bistec versus burrito and geographic shaping (121 compared to 203 square kilometers). The two are major cities with world-class art scenes, passionate histories of social protest, and dammit, we dance. Be you a hippie-shaker or a vogue hand-waver, the motion in your ocean will most surely respond to the sultry allure of tango, brought to us this week in spades in a big-time competition authorized by the Buenos Aires city government. Spring to attend a milonga, which is like a tango jam session, or take a seat to watch the pros pivot it out. (Caitlin Donohue)

Thu/5-Sun/8, $20 competition spectator admission Check website for competition times

San Francisco Airport Marriott

1800 Old Bayshore Highway, Burlingame




Dark Star Orchestra

Depending on how much second-hand pot you’ve smoked, if you close your eyes and listen up to Dark Star Orchestra, it’s possible to convince yourself you’ve transported back to 1969 for a Grateful Dead show. Yes, DSO is a nationally recognized and acclaimed Dead tribute act (seriously, the band really sound like the Dead) that is coming to show us young whippersnappers what we missed in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. So melt into the sunny jams that have shaped our fair city’s culture, expose your inner ecstasy, and rub against the person next to you; lovingly. Also, consider this is a prime opportunity to people-watch and swap Jerry Garcia-related personal transformation stories. (Sullivan)

9pm, $35

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750





Yours and Mine

If contemporary performance originated partly in response to the cultural primacy of visual art, Macklin Kowal’s Yours and Mine suggests a full-circle act of reclamation in which performance shares not only space but a full dynamic partnership with other objets d’art. In it Kowal, a San Francisco performer-choreographer and current artist-in-residence at Meridian Gallery, responds with capable, thoughtful intelligence to an exhibition by leading Irish contemporary painter Patrick Graham, in an hour-long performance installation involving ten dancers and all three floors of the gallery. The piece promises a further livening of the rooms beyond the already electric effect of Graham’s roiling canvases, as well as an exploration of the way we literally embody the aesthetic experience. (Robert Avila)

Fri/6-Sat/7, 7:30pm, $10–<\d>$20

Meridian Gallery

535 Powell, SF

(415) 624-6765.



“Beautiful Rebels: A Celebration of the Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier”

You got epaulet envy trawling the paparazzi shots from the opening of the JPG-de Young exhibit a few weeks ago. Chin up girl, your chance to fete fashion’s enfant terrible hasn’t passed you by. Sashay to Golden Gate Park to hang with the Guardian (we’re the media sponsors) at this Friday night happy hour event. Drag-cinema supernova Peaches Christ will be doing us the honor of emceeing, and would you believe there will be a fashion show featuring the work of Mister David and others — not to mention a performance by SF’s queer-hop representatives Double Duchess and a craft table by Some Thing artisan Haute Gloo? (Donohue)

Fri/6 5:30pm, free de Young Museum 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden, SF (415) 750-7694

Facebook: Beautiful Rebels www.peacheschrist.com


dead prez

The dead prez anthem “It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop” may as well apply to both dead prez lyricists-producers M-1 and stic.man. Since teaming together in New York in the mid-1990s in New York, M-1 and stic.man have developed from hip-hop artists into social change activists, revolutionary lecturers, and health advocates. (Legend has it the duo used to fling apples into the crowd at concerts.) Both have kept busy with their own projects — stic.man came out with a “fit-hop” album The Workout (Boss Up Inc) espousing the benefits of good breathing tactics and calisthenics, while M-1 has paired with Italian electro producer Bonnot of Assalti Frontali to become AP2P (aka All Power to the People). But dead prez is still very much alive, continuing to tour and working on the long-delayed LP Information Age. (Lee)

With Los Rakas, DJ Mr. E

9pm, $20


444 Jessie, SF

(415) 625-8880





Game on: the band Thrones has been around far longer than that newbie medieval fantasy television show (though not quite as long as the book series it’s based on). Another key difference, this Thrones is actually just one dude: Seattle’s Joe Preston, the metal-grinding doom bassist/Moog-enthusiast who’s spent time on tastemaker labels Kill Rock Stars and Southern Lord, and played alongside Earth, the Melvins, and High on Fire. If Preston were to play his own Thrones game, it would likely involve some sort of underground “chew up this sheet metal and spit it out stylishly” auditory sensation contest. Coda: I was advised against relating Thrones in any way to Games of Thrones, but it has now just happened, so do with that what you will. (Emily Savage)

With Helms Alee, Grayceon

9:30pm, $10

Hemlock Tavern

1131 Polk, SF

(415) 923-0923





You know a band is worth seeing when the singer has a seven-syllable name for his prosthetic penis. The “Cuttlefish of Cthulu” has flopped mightily at the forefront of GWAR shows for over 20 years, and the Richmond, Va. outfit shows no signs of slowing down. The tunes are still mostly straightforward, forgettable headbanger fuel, but the elaborate costumes and stage show change every tour — half the fun is discovering which foam-rubber politician effigy GWAR is going to disembowel next. My money’s on Rick Santorum this time around. (Ben Richardson)

With Municipal Waste, Ghoul, Legacy of Disorder

8pm, $25

Regency Ballroom

1300 Van Ness, SF

(415) 673-5716




Jeff Mangum

How much do we owe the Elephant Six Recording Company collective for our current slate of folk and indie rock? Two decades after a group of four friends launched their own record label in Denver, Elephant Six bands and spin-off projects (The Apples in Stereo and of Montreal among them) are still pushing critically acclaimed music. Core member Jeff Mangum remains among the collective’s most followed musicians, even though his Neutral Milk Hotel released the last of its two LPs fifteen years ago. The everlasting appeal of On Avery Island and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea may stem from a refreshing rawness devoid of glossy production. In these two shows before Coachella, Mangum’s acoustic performances highlight his signature sweet serenade. (Lee)

With Laura Carter and Andrew Rieger of Elf Power and Scott Spillane of the Gerbils

Mon/9-Tue/10, 8pm, $36

Fox Theater

1807 Telegraph, Oakl.

(510) 548-3010



The Guardian listings deadline is two weeks prior to our Wednesday publication date. To submit an item for consideration, please include the title of the event, a brief description of the event, date and time, venue name, street address (listing cross streets only isn’t sufficient), city, telephone number readers can call for more information, telephone number for media, and admission costs. Send information to Listings, the Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., SF, CA 94107; fax to (415) 487-2506; or e-mail (paste press release into e-mail body — no text attachments, please) to listings@sfbg.com. Digital photos may be submitted in jpeg format; the image must be at least 240 dpi and four inches by six inches in size. We regret we cannot accept listings over the phone.