The man even wrote a song for us city sickos, "San Francisco B.C.," on the new album, and no, it's not about a caveman retaking of the city. "It's supposed to be about parallel San Franciscos existing at once," said Berman. "I had the title, and I wanted to evoke different eras of San Francisco and American history and think about the Barbary Coast and the earthquake and the SDS and San Francisco State University, politics, new wave, punk rock, Huey Lewis and the News, and all the way to the present."
The songwriter evidently delights in SF as much as so many here dig him. Apparently he sells more recordings in the Bay Area than anywhere else outside of New York City. And I second that emotion and welcome an earful of Berman and his brilliant songs any time be it in SF or Big Sur, locales that nonetheless might not measure up to Israel, which Silver Jews toured in '06 (Silver Jew, the 2007 documentary of the journey, is now out on DVD). "People were waiting and thanking me for calling the band Silver Jews," he recounted happily, since the name "was a millstone around my neck for a long time. People react strangely because the word Jew is used as a pejorative historically, but also generically, and said with a 'pig' at the end of it and 'greedy' before it. So just like I would like to take the elephant back from the Republicans, I want to take the word 'Jew' back from anti-Semites."
Thurs/25, 8 p.m., $22.50
1805 Geary, SF
Also Festival in the Forest
Sun/27, 9:40 p.m., check Web site for price
Hwy. 1, Big Sur