Kat Renz

San Francisco Blues Festival


PREVIEW Oh baby, baby, baby, have you got them blues? I did, big time, a couple weeks ago after ODing on the metal and all its scenesterness. I nearly wrote off going to shows entirely. This silly sentiment lasted one hot minute, sure, but the blues remained. The blues remained. The blues remained. Which is the point: get rid of any genre-defining accoutrements — country’s twangs, metal’s sweeping arpeggios, jazz’s swanky chords — and you’re left with the 1-4-5 progression made so familiar and beautifully basic by early 20th-century blues masters.

So if you’re feeling especially bummed, love the blues, or are a music junkie in general, this weekend’s 36th annual San Francisco Blues Festival is mandatory. Holding the title of the oldest blues festival in the world, its lineup of legends attests to its status as an institution unto itself. Performers include electric slide virtuoso Johnny Winter, now in his fifth decade of performing, and David Honeyboy Edwards, who at 93 is one of the last Mississippi bluesmen of the Robert Johnson era. Maybe he’ll bring the devil and you can bargain your soul for six-stringed genius at the evil-brewing crossroads of Buchanan Street and Marina Boulevard.

Besides dancin’ and groovin’ to more than two dozen artists, you’ll get to hang outside for three days (weather.com forecasts sun, for whatever it’s worth), which also tends to assuage the blues — although instead of a background of railroad trains and Delta mudflats, we get the Golden Gate Bridge and a scintilutf8g Bay. Throw some horns for Robert Johnson’s legacy.

SAN FRANCISCO BLUES FESTIVAL Tribute to John Lee Hooker. Fri/26, noon–1:30 p.m., free. Justin Herman Plaza, 1 Market, SF. Sat/27 with Hot Tuna, the Delta Groove All-Star Blues Revue, Barbara Lynn, Michael Burks, Ruthie Foster, Elmore James Jr., and Delta Wires Big Band. Sun/28 with Johnny Winter, Buckwheat Zydeco, Curtis Salgado Big Band, David Honeyboy Edwards, Rick Estrin, and Gospel Hummingbirds. 11 a.m.– 6 p.m., $40 per day. Great Meadow at Fort Mason, Marina at Buchanan, SF. (415) 979-5588, www.sfblues.com

Victorian sensibilities


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GREEN CITY It’s hard to argue with Craig Nikitas when he says, "The greenest building is the one that exists now."

As a senior planner with the San Francisco Planning Department, Nikitas knows that a ton of energy is wasted tearing down the old and erecting the new. Energy embedded in the original materials and construction — which often last a century or longer — is also destroyed. And it all ends up in the dump, replaced by new products that might, if you’re lucky, hold up for a fraction of the lifetime of the old components.

Michael Tornabene is a designer at Page and Turnbull, Inc., a Nob Hill District architecture firm specializing in preserving historic buildings, notably the asbestos-laden Old Mint and the Ferry Building. He said the Bay Area is distinguished by its thousands of gorgeous Victorian, Edwardian, and Craftsman homes, as well as its green sentiment. Restoring old buildings can be tricky because their features aren’t standardized. Even so, their age can also be their best virtue.

"What’s great about sustainable upgrades to an historic home is most of the historic homes we’re dealing with were constructed before a mechanically integrated system was developed," Tornabene said, noting most pre-1950s structures already had nice green features such as passive solar orientation, designed into them rather than being built around unsustainable elements — think air conditioning — that are harder to green.

Where to start? First, pick off what Tom Dufurrena, a principal at Page and Turnbull, calls "all the low-hanging fruit — the easy things that have the least cost and the most benefit." Weather-stripping the doors and those rattling old windows, insuutf8g the attic (40 percent of heat is lost through the roof, he said), and replacing old, inefficient appliances with Energy Star models are the three simplest and best historic home improvements. All are noninvasive and energy conscious, and they don’t require a permit from the city.

Such suggestions were just the beginning of measures photographer Peter Bruce took to make his family’s 117-year-old Upper Haight Victorian more efficient and comfortable. Over a five year period, they knocked their monthly electric bill from $250 to $160 by replacing their refrigerator, installing a dishwasher that recycles heated water, and putting in nearly 100 percent efficient hot water heaters.

But Bruce didn’t ignore the low-tech, remembering to string a clothesline and using curtains as more than mere decoration. "Dark, heavy curtains make a world of difference," he said, explaining that they hung these over north- and east-facing windows to keep the rooms toasty. He put sheer, light-colored curtains over west windows to allow in afternoon warmth.

Curtains or no, windows are the controversial linchpin in any discussion of building preservation and sustainability. "There’s almost the knee-jerk reaction from a sustainability point of view to replace your windows with double-paned windows," Dufurrena said. "On an historic building, if the windows are a historic feature — which they almost inevitably will be — then there’s an issue right there with compromising the integrity of the building."

Old window frames are made from higher-quality materials — in San Franciscan Victorians this often means rare first-growth redwood — than most modern energy-efficient alternatives. The National Trust for Historic Preservation cites studies showing it could take a century or longer for a replacement window, typically made of toxic vinyl, energy-intensive aluminum, or a wood composite, to pay for itself in energy savings.

"The worst thing you can do is take out old wood windows and throw them away and replace them with vinyl," Nikitas said.

He said that when Sup. Aaron Peskin was working on the Green Building Ordinance last year, the big question was how to create incentives encouraging people to reuse historic buildings. They devised a system awarding points toward their mandated green building requirement for retaining historic features, and keeping the windows represents a big chunk of the points.

"It’s about the truth of the building and the preservation ethos," said Cara Bertron, Page and Turnbull’s cultural resources specialist. "Those are really hard things to articulate to people who may see the energy savings as worth it."

For more information, including details on upcoming events on greening historic homes, visit www.aiasf.org and www.builditgreen.org.

SF Electronic Music Festival


PREVIEW Five days, 18 performers, one ensemble, countless cords and magic boxes, and weird sounds times infinity. I mean, hell, if you’ve got an electric current and an instrument (in its broadest interpretation), you may as well use ’em together.

In this spirit, eight Bay Area sound-art wizards have organized the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival for eager electro-lovin’ ears for the ninth year in a row. Could there be a musical gathering more eclectic than this? Not likely. After nearly a decade of tapping into the electro-acoustic grab bag, the lineup is still stretching diversity to new levels, ranging the melodic-discordant gamut from drone to pop and contemporary chamber to industrial and then some. There’ll be internationally renowned pioneers such as sonic meditator Pauline Oliveros, and emerging artists like Oakland’s folklore-inspired pop duo Myrmyr. Many performances feature sfSoundGroup lending its modern improvisational twist. And don’t forget the science-derived computer music and harsh noise, synth-y innovations and rearranged Persian classics, electro-trombone and minimalism by way of New York City. You know you wouldn’t dare argue with an "intense noise artist" named Sharkiface.

SFEMF pummels the boundaries of your deconstructed notions of avant-garde postmodernism, then does it a few more times, till you’re left with the sharpened edge of experimental glinting through the soundwaves. Why not totally saturate your sonic-scape and save a few bucks with the five-day ticket? ‘Cause you love the Moog and the Mac, and for one week, you have it all.

SF ELECTRONIC MUSIC FESTIVALWith Jen Boyd, Monique Buzzarté, Edmund Campion, Clay Chaplin, Ata Ebtekar, Hans Fjellestad, Christopher Fleeger, Phill Niblock, Tujiko Noriko, Carl Stone, Alex Potts, Akira Rabelais, Rutro and the Logs, Ray Sweeten, and Richard Teitelbaum. Wed/3–Sun/7, 8 p.m. (Sat/6 at 7 p.m.), $12–$17 per day; $55 all five days. Project Artaud Theatre, 450 Florida, SF. (415) 626-4370, www.sfemf.org

“Japanese Wolf”


P>REVIEW When was the last time you chatted on your cell in a crowd of yaks? Or honored the dewy lavender morning with a steaming cup of green tea and a goat friend? Or crouched with a pack of sunset wolves howling on your back?

No offense, but I bet your social circle isn’t this diverse. For the girl-woman at the center of Yumiko Kayukawa’s paintings, though, communing with nonhuman creatures is typical. Born in the small town of Naie in Hokkaido, Japan, Kayukawa found her muses amid the land’s sweeping beauty and native fauna. Her connection with those elements runs throughout her body of work: the giant tiger perched atop the earth, enjoying the company of three lounging pop-tart girls in Sekai De Ichiban Neko (The World’s Biggest Cat); the wide-eyed tarsiers helping to hang wishes for stars on bamboo in Tanabata (Star Festival); and the contented whales cuddling a pink scuba-suited underwater heroine in Oshizukani (Quiet Please). Kayukawa makes such intimate relationships with the wild animal kingdom look effortless.

And seductive. Kayukawa’s humans are young and pouty-lipped, with bright eyes, suggestively bent backs, and painted nails that are never chipped — even when keeping a frothing bear at bay. Saturated hues and pastels — sea green, cantaloupe, camellia, pale yellow — heighten this playfulness, as do the requisite kanji, floating in space like manga dialogue and titling each curious scene. Kayukawa’s eroticized pop vision is imbued with a fearless openness, evident in her decisive lines but even more so in the intention embedded in these paintings. When was the last time you had a tiger by the tail, much like her protagonists, and got away with it?

JAPANESE WOLF Through Sept. 6. Tues.–Sat., noon–7 p.m. Shooting Gallery, 839 Larkin, SF. (415) 931-8035, www.shootinggallerysf.com



"There was this fateful moment where we were like, ‘Fuck this shit! Hippie commune? Black metal band? Let’s do this!’<0x2009>" Wolves in the Throne Room drummer Aaron Weaver says, describing the synergistic beginnings of his group’s music and their 10-acre working farm, Calliope.

WITTR is living every nature-loving hessian’s dream. Not content with the icy, masturbatory satanism of Scandinavian death-metal forebears like Mayhem, or with the politics of the dogmatic punk scene from which they spawned, or about to hold hands and coo "Kumbaya," the three-piece from Olympia, Wash., has united a scathing brand of metal with inspired ecological spirituality. Say what?

To enviro-heads concerned with planetary destruction and nuclear apocalypse, and metalists banging their heads to songs about violent destruction and nuclear apocalypse, the connection is obvious.

"If we had to boil our band down to one thing: we’re just so fucking miserable and pissed all the time about the stuff that is going on in the world, just this wholesale war against anything beautiful or good or whole or pure," explains Weaver by phone from his little house across the courtyard from WITTR’s practice space.

Running counter to the activist tendencies of its punk cousins, the traditional metal scene has generally recoiled from politically correct statements. WITTR blends the two, embracing eco-feminism and radical ecology on a spiritually intuitive level rather than an overbearingly didactic one. Their second, latest album, 2007’s Two Hunters (Southern Lord), creates a dynamic continuum — not unlike nature itself — by pointedly channeling the sorrow and deep rage of a planet in crisis. Bookended by buggy chirps of the witching hour and twittering birds, the four tracks slowly creep with a plodding, atmospheric tension, climaxing in speed-of-light picking, drums to move mountains, and the throat-raking terror screams of Weaver’s younger brother and guitarist, Nathan.

Is this how Mother Earth would sound if she could respond in minor chords and time signatures? WITTR’s lyrics too are one with nature. As Two Hunters‘ 18-minute closing saga, "I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots," goes, "The wood is filled with the sounds of wildness / The songs of birds fill the forest on this new morning / This will be my new home / Deep within the most sacred grove."

Production-wise, WITTR carries through a similar awareness and intricacy, intent on crafting meticulously layered recordings. "The black metal aesthetic is just what we happen to use, but the main goal is to create soundscapes," Weaver says, noting that a typical song has about 20 guitar tracks. Earth producer Randall Dunn gave Two Hunters a palpable warmth, working primarily in analog at Aleph Studios in Seattle, and the band is planning to collaborate with Dunn again on its third full-length, due in February 2009. On it, touring bassist Will Lindsay will take over as the vocalist and second guitarist from new dad Rick Dahlin.

In a sense, WITTR’s devotion to re-awakening an ancient spirit rooted in their home turf is nothing new. Black metal is steeped in bioregional qualities, whether exuding a chilly clime and calling on Nordic deities or reading tarot cards and summoning the melancholy, intense quiet of the Pacific Northwest’s mossy old-growth forests. "That’s always been the explicit goal, to really express the spirit of this place, which has a very specific feel to it," Weaver says. "It’s a really dreamy kind of energy."

So next time you put on WITTR, remember it’ll sound best if you’re snug within a sacred grove — and make sure you have a lunar calendar and a Jepson Manual on hand. As the outfit argues in its band bio — required reading for fans of Derrick Jensen and Burzum alike — "If you listen to black metal, but you don’t know what phase the moon is in, or what wildflowers are blooming, then you have failed."


With Ludicra and the Better to See You With

Tues/12, 8 p.m., $15


333 11th St., SF

(415) 255-0333


Opening the corridor


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San Francisco is a dangerous town for butterflies. Xerces blue, a species that once thrived in the city’s dunes, suffered a catastrophic demise in 1941, the first butterfly extinction in the United States caused by urban development.

In the years since, local butterflies haven’t fared much better. According to lepidopterist Liam O’Brien, 24 of 58 local species have been wiped out in regional extinctions caused mainly by habitat destruction. Another three or four, he said, will likely be gone within the next five years.

The green hairstreak is one of these on-the-brink butterflies. Boasting brilliantly verdant wings, the nickel-sized hairstreak lives only in the Inner Sunset’s Golden Gate Heights neighborhood and at Battery Crosby in the Presidio. Survival of the species depends on linking two populations on Rocky Outcrop (14th Ave. and Noriega) and Hawk Hill (14th Ave. and Rivera).

Separated by just five blocks — less than a mile but enough concrete to be the edge of the earth for smaller butterflies — the two hilltop populations are islands whose fluttery inhabitants have become genetically threatened by full sibling inbreeding.

Female hairstreaks rely on one of two native plants, coast buckwheat and deer weed — both of which once grew abundantly on natural dunes — as sites for their eggs. As O’Brien told the Guardian, "The females disperse, and they just disperse into oblivion if they don’t have the host plant to keep it going."

The Green Hairstreak Project is O’Brien’s plan to build a botanical bridge. "We could keep this butterfly alive in the city if we just totally bombard that area with these two plants," he said, adding that starters are being grown in preparation for October planting.

The project is a program of Nature in the City, an organization devoted to the ecological stewardship of San Francisco. Founding Director Peter Brastow said the city is full of "reservoirs of indigenous biodiversity," and believes that the whole urban landscape is a potential habitat. "The other piece of the puzzle," he said, "is connecting up wildlands via corridors."

O’Brien is considering various corridor-constructing strategies, from knocking on doors and giving buckwheat and deer weed plants to residents (he’s mapped potentially usable front yards) to professional dune restoration. During this past hairstreak season, between mid-March and the end of May, he led walks to introduce future stewards to the resident butterfly.

"Literally, can we please just put this plant in your front yard? It’s not complicated," O’Brien assured would-be-hosts, adding that he would like San Francisco to be celebrated for what it saved, not just for a species it destroyed. "Here’s a butterfly that flew at the same time Xerces did. Are we going to step up and do something?"

O’Brien’s hairstreak haven is not the only corridor being mapped out. A few neighborhoods east, artist Amber Hasselbring is building a series of native plant plots that zigzag along Mission District sidewalks. "Think about looking down from Dolores Park," she said, "and seeing this whole thing just unfolding in front of you so the park does not have a border anymore, [but] just flows into the next one."

At Mission Playground on 19th Street and Linda, Hasselbring explained her Mission Greenbelt Project, also a Nature in the City program. From her initial, mammoth vision to "daylight" the buried Mission Creek, she wondered instead about connecting the spaces, and people, that are already part of the community. "The Mission is such an incredible hotspot for culture," she said, "and then we have all these natural areas."

The urban wildlife corridor would meander from Dolores Park to Franklin Square at 17th Street and Bryant, a route based on both existing garden-able spaces — among them Alioto Mini Park (16th Street and Capp) and John O’Connell High School (18th Street and Harrison) — and potentially receptive businesses, such as Project Artaud Theater and KQED’s studios.

Hasselbring is eager to remove sections of unused sidewalk and transform them into sidewalk gardens. Mohammed Nuru, deputy director of operations for the Department of Public Works, told us that the city tries to make the permitting process as simple as possible to encourage citizen-built "green highways." He said it generally takes about six weeks, depending on the area’s status and the planting plan. In the two years it’s been available, more than 200 people have applied.

"We strongly support the greening of the city and the removal of asphalt," he said. "The city has a lot of vacant lots that at one time were planned to be streets, but because the city is so hilly, they never happened. Those are huge opportunities also for becoming green spaces."

In May, Hasselbring and 50 volunteers, organized by the Recreation and Park Department, established 200 individual plants in the three-foot-wide border around Mission Playground. Now, a habitat garden of 13 different species thrives where previously only Rugosa roses and ficus trees grew.

Dylan Hayes, a landscape ecologist and neighbor of this first site, selected the native plants for their ability to foster local fauna: creeping manzanita for wintering hummingbirds, pink flowering current for berry-loving thrushes, sticky monkey flower for bumblebees, and so on.

"It’s like the Field of Dreams: If you build it, they will come," Hayes said, mantra-like. "People are battling about what it means to be a ‘green city.’ But if you want a green city, you need to simply invite nature in."

Stoner rock


PREVIEW One morning futzing around on Craigslist trying to avoid the addictive looky-loo temptation of "casual encounters," I decided to waste time checking out what "musicians" were up to instead. I must’ve been directed there by a higher power, for I, curious, had clicked on a desperate request from a fan of seminal mid-1990s San Jose stoner-metal trio Sleep seeking any footage of their Sabbath-y riffage. Holy cannabis! I totally had some, buried amid S-M porn, scenes of teenage anarchy in Over the Edge (1979), and poignant Crass videos compiled into tripper montages my friend, who got kicked off Santa Cruz’s public access station, likes to craft.

We were back to the historic days of tape trading (though she and I both later remembered a little cheating trick called YouTube). But since crackly VHS renditions only satisfy so much, and since that quintessential band has moved on to debatably bigger and better musical mastery with zero hope of any reunion, it’s vital to find the real, live thing. Could fulfillment lie in this weekend’s Black Summer of Doom and Fuzz? Two days of 18 mostly East Bay bands, presented by Eric Hagan and Purple Astronaut Records, promises to at least acquaint you with the local scene’s offerings, and, at most, jumpstart devotion to yet another awesomely doomy, fuzzy ensemble. It’s high time I filled my summer stoner rock quota. Gorge on sustained power chords, languish in spacey amethyst tracers, float on a sea of Orange amplification. Ride the dragon!

Which reminds me, I have to get that tape back.

BLACK SUMMER OF DOOM AND FUZZ Sat/26 with Soul Broker, White Witch Canyon, House of Broken Promises, HDR, and Scorched Earth Policy. Sun/27 with Butcher, Sludgebucket, BRNR, Greenhouse Effect, and Automatic Animal. See Web site for complete lineup. 3 p.m., $10 per day. Stork Club, 2330 Telegraph, Oakl. (510) 444-6174, www.storkcluboakland.com

I’m here with lonesome


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Loneliness is invoked on three of four songs on the White Buffalo’s MySpace page: "Love Song 1" finds its narrator on an island for one, staring at the sun; "The Moon" visits the shadows and grays of solo days; and "10 ‘Til 2" revolves around hopes to screw a hooker in the morning. Yet the White Buffalo’s main man himself — a.k.a. Jake Smith — is far from some namby-pamby Elliott Smith or any number of whiny hand-me-a-tissue, I’m-not-long-for-this-tortured-life modern singer-songwriters. Though Smith admits some compositions are personal, most, he says on the phone from southern California, are "fantastic, darker, little evil journey songs that are just imagination things and aren’t inspired by anything — at least, not to my knowledge."

Venture along the White Buffalo’s dark little journeys, for they’re good ones to take — full of the character-building that comes from Greyhounding through the rolling West. You end up resigned yet hopeful, with no obligations other than dreams of your next stop. The real white buffalo is a rare creature, and the White Buffalo — at times a solo project, at others a trio — conjures a similar mythos: Smith’s bio trumpets his solid stature, heavy boozing, and ability, like that of bygone legends, to marry his lifestyle with his art. And though this sounds sort of cheesy, White Buffalo’s music is not. On the contrary, what I love about the White Buffalo is his evident sincerity. Smith’s voice plunges you into clear, deep pools: infinite, enveloping, fully resonant like Eddie Vedder at his best — by far the easiest comparison — but with hints of Cat Stevens’ whispery warble and Joe Cocker’s soulful rasp. The occasional twang is likely derived from Smith’s childhood musical diet of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Wielding an acoustic rock, alt-country folkiness that lacks pretension, Smith could’ve written the score accompanying the vast geographical and philosophical landscapes of Into the Wild (2007).

Though he now lives in Orange County, Smith’s music may ring a bell if you were lucky enough to catch one of his handful of shows during the few years he resided in San Francisco, where he "just raised hell and waited tables." Since then he’s toured the world, developed his guitar chops — which remain simple and "just a way to get the message and the vocal across" — and recorded a self-released, self-titled 2005 EP. "Let the suuunnn / Fill me up again," he croons on "Where Dirt and Water Collide." My response? Let this voiiiccce fill me up again — and again and again. Between the sun and the White Buffalo, there’s no loneliness here, really.


With the Blank Tapes and Agent Ribbons

July 17, 9 p.m., $10

Hotel Utah Saloon

500 Fourth St., SF

(415) 546-6300

Cream-colored slumbers


Thank you, Brian Martinez. Were it not for this mutual friend, guitarist-vocalist Laura Weinbach and violinist Sivan Sadeh may have never met, and Foxtails Brigade — perhaps best but weakly described as experimental folk — may never have formed. And the two 25-year-old, classically trained musicians would miss the synergy they possess playing à deux. As Weinbach raved over the phone while the pair drove around San Francisco: "What’s really cool about violin and Sivan in particular is it’s really like having two to three vocal lines. She totally harmonizes with me, melodically, through the violin. Every song she’s been a part of becomes 100 times better."

The duo met last September and immediately began performing: they’ve already logged about 35 shows, entertaining everyone from sweet old folks in Santa Barbara convalescent homes to Weinbach’s surrogate high school students (she’s a substitute teacher). Sadeh’s rocked the violin nearly her entire life, playing in ensembles as diverse as mariachi to garage, while Weinbach studied creative writing and music at the University of California, Santa Cruz, which is obvious in both her seemingly effortless classical fingerpicking and her lyrical storytelling.

"Porcelain" is how their friend Uni, the one with the ukulele, dubs their unmatched sound. She’s right: the pretty melodies and flower-strewn stories conjure memories of playing dress-up in vintage finery. Yet a sharp, almost violent edge is ever-present, saving the music from sugary-sweet, indie-folk doldrums. Foxtails’ consistent intensity and experimental theatrics — think Faun Fables, an oft-cited influence — are largely due to the tension created by Sadeh. Her violin melodies dance around Weinbach’s vocal ones, taunting and tiptoeing, until they collide at each song’s climax, an act that often is as beautifully dissonant as it is gracious. "I like to screech on my violin when I have a chance, and get that kind of whiny sound that people really don’t want to listen to but are attracted to for some reason," Sadeh said, adding that she’s learning to play the similarly eerie-sounding saw.

Weinbach’s lyrics never fail on the storytelling front, whether she’s channeling a scary doll that comes alive in the dark of night or writing about a psychotic student. In the latter song, "For Leo," she sings, "But I have known your kind before / You’re linked by paper cuts and sores / Rotten green banana eyes / With chocolate milk and hungry flies." Creepy yet compelling, Foxtails dare you to turn away.


July 20, 8 p.m., call for price


3223 Mission, SF

(415) 550-6994



PREVIEW Listening to Asunder is freaking me out. It’s the middle of the night, the moon is full, and I was barely paying attention to the plodding funereal doom. That is, until I glimpsed a foreign movement from the corner of my eye and, sensing a phantasmic force, my heart plummeted into my guts. If John Gossard’s eerie chants, likely effective at summoning Lucifer from the bowels of a very cold hell, didn’t raise ghosts previously unheard from in my creaky Victorian, what did?

It’s no secret if you’re even passingly attuned to local music happenings — or ever pick up this paper — that the doom-death community on both sides of the Bay is close-knit and as prolific as a war graveyard at the height of collateral damage. But Asunder just might be the darkest, dreariest, and most melodically melancholy of them all. But it’s too simple to relegate their metal dirges to the staid realm of the glacial and miserable; Asunder begs the question, "Can doom be dynamic?" and answers in the affirmative. Patience and subtlety, reverence and yes, the spiritual, are conjured in equal parts by down-tuned strings and minor keys. When their sophomore release, 2006’s Works Will Come Undone (Profound Lore Records) — produced by the East Bay’s esteemed Billy Anderson (High on Fire, Saros) — filled 72 minutes and 45 seconds with two epic tracks, it was risky but the foursome added enough slow complexity to make it work. Let their chilling arrangements and a newly upgraded sound system tempt your ghosts at the Oakland Metro Opera’s grand reopening.

ASUNDER With Trees, Necrite, Skin Horse, and DJ Bad Jew. Fri/27, 8 p.m., $8. Oakland Metro Opera House, 630 Third St., Oakl. (510) 763-1146, www.oaklandmetro.org

Asunder with Trouble and Mammatus. Wed/9, 8pm, $16-$18, Slim’s, www.slims-sf.com



PREVIEW The first time I saw Mike Patton I was 10. It was a sticky July afternoon and here’s this long-haired guy on MTV gesticuutf8g and rapping to distorted guitars. It freaked me out — not the lightning-shooting eyeball embedded in his hand or that flopping fish inciting the ire of PETA activists — but the man himself. He inspired a major uh-oh feeling, and my understanding of the universe was eternally compromised.

But that was 1989. Since those early, badly dressed years with forever-fighting Faith No More, Patton has spearheaded many beloved projects on the noisy melodic fringe, from the haunting Fantômas to his recent pop-wannabe project Peeping Tom. Now with Crudo, he’s teamed up with Dan the Automator, a.k.a. Daniel Nakamura, the Bay Area producer on the forefront of groundbreaking hip-hop, including Gorillaz’s eponymous putf8um-selling debut album (Virgin, 2001) and the Handsome Boy Modeling School with De la Soul’s Prince Paul.

"Crudo" may be Italian for raw, but this isn’t the dynamic duo’s freshest collaboration — in 2001 Patton and Nakumura worked together on Lovage: Songs to Make Love to Your Old Lady By (NicheMusic.com Inc), a fun if challenging listen. Crudo’s MySpace page gives a single one minute, fifty-six second glimpse called "Let’s Go," a poppy tease that makes me dance, but not much else. There’s no official word on a new album release date, but rumor in the blogosphere is 2009.

To bide time, Patton and DTA fans won’t want to miss Crudo’s debut appearance at Great American Music Hall, a practice run for Washington State’s Sasquatch Festival two days later. Fulfill your Crudosity. Personally, I need to see if Patton still creeps me out. I hope so.

CRUDO With San Quinn. Thurs/22, 8 p.m., $21. Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell, SF. (415) 885-0750, www.gamh.com