MUSIC FOR PEOPLE & THINGAMAJIGS FESTIVAL
Dennis Aman's re-tuned Fisher-Price instruments, Fred Firth's homemade string instruments, the premiere of David Samas' new opera incorporating found objects from the sea. The People & Thingamajigs festival — now in its 16th year — explores unexpected ways to make sound, incredibly far from the normalcy of your standard music fest. This year's event takes place Friday through Oct. 14 at the Meridian Gallery and the Center for New Music in San Francisco and at the Berkeley Arts Festival. It includes mind-expanding performances by Aman, Firth, Samas, "professional bricoleur, junkyard maven and young audio-gadgeteer" Sudhu Tewari, cellist-composer Doug Carroll, and multi-instrumentalist Bob Marsh, who also is the leader of String Theory. Come for the thingamajigs, stay for the music.
Oct. 4-14, $10–$15. Various venues, SF and Berkeley. www.thingamajigs.org.
True, you can see Allah-Las for free at HSB this weekend, but this band is so worth going out at night for. The sunny LA surf rock group blew me away at Noise Pop a few years back, opening for Budos Band. The group's riffs seem to dance along and ripple like waves, as any good surf band's guitar work should, creating a sugary blend of beachy So Cal cool and trippier psych that would fit right in somewhere along the Haight a few decades back. Even better, the group plays the Chapel tonight with twinkly baroque pop multi-instrumentalist Jacco Gardner. With Light Fantastic.
Sat/5, 9pm, $20. Chapel, 777 Valencia, SF. www.thechapelsf.com.
PUBLIC WORKS BIRTHDAY
The many-roomed experimental Mission music venue that is Public Works celebrates three years of club nights and live shows with an eclectic lineup befitting of its history. The main draw is legendary Austrian DJ Peter Kruder of Kruder & Dorfmeister, but there's also Christian Martin, J Boogie, an Afrolicious DJ set, John Vincent, Vitamin Devo, and Honey Soundsystem's Jackie House. Along with the DJ sets, there's a Radio Silence curated happy hour show with live bands Yalls and Churches in the loft.
Sat/5, 9pm (happy hour at 8:30), $10–$20. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF. www.publicsf.com