Our Weekly Picks: April 18-24



Wild Flag

Though it could be called an all-star band based on previous groups and collaborations, which include Sleater-Kinney, Helium, Quasi, and the Minders, the members of Wild Flag have made sure their new project stands firmly on its own solid ground. Last September saw the release of the band's excellent self-titled debut album on Merge Records, highlighted by the singles "Future Crime" and "Romance," proving that Carrie Brownstein, Rebecca Cole, Mary Timony, and Janet Weiss have a special chemistry and searing musical bond that comes across on both tape and stage. (Sean McCourt)

8pm, $20


1805 Geary, SF

(415) 346-6000



Anoushka Shankar

"The daughter of legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar." It must be a daunting label to perform under, but after training and performing extensively with her father beginning at age nine, Anoushka has carved out her own following. The younger Shankhar recorded a live album in New York's Carnegie Hall at 19 and has received two nominations for Grammy Awards. She uses classical Indian instruments and techniques to delve into other genres, including jazz and electronica. Her sixth studio release, Traveler, recently released stateside, is an exploration into the relationship between sitar and flamenco that features a variety of Spanish artists and vocalists. (Kevin Lee)

7:30pm, $25-$60

Herbst Theatre

401 Van Ness

(415) 392-4400




In a celebration of all things sultry, seductive, sexy and saucy, "Tease-O-Rama 2012" promises four days and nights of the best in burlesque, showcasing the brightest modern talents awhile also honoring several legends of the scene. Boasting live shows, workshops, meet and greets, and more, the festival features standouts of today such as Catherine D'Lish and performers from Cirque Du Soleil's Zumanity, and appearances by icons such as Satan's Angel, who started her career back in 1961 here in San Francisco. (McCourt)

$12–$45 per event; $150 for a festival pass

Multiple venues, SF




British two-tone ska act Madness has enjoyed considerable commercial success in its native UK, charting numerous hit songs over a more than 35 year career, but it seems to be best known here in the states for one hit single, 1982 release "Our House," which exposed the band to American audiences via radio and MTV's heavy rotation of the tune's cheeky video. Local fans will want to make sure to catch the group when it comes to the city tonight between its two slots at Coachella, and hear the full breadth of the band's varied ace catalog. (McCourt)

With DJ Harry Duncan.

8pm, $35–$42.50


982 Market, SF

(415) 567-2060



Cuba Caribe Festival

Perhaps we are a little too smug about living in the "second largest" dance community in the country. But then arrives — for the eighth year — another Cuba Caribe Festival. Where else would you see, in one program, companies such as Las Que Son's jubilant women dancers; storyteller Muriel Johnson; Cunamacué's Afro-Peruvian music and dance, and Grupo Experimental Nagó's East-Cuban traditions? On weekend two, at Laney College Theater in Oakland, Ramón Ramos Alayo, who synthesizes tradition with modernism, is premiering "Oil and Water," his perspective on the despoiling of the oceans. Also workshops, lectures, and film presentations. (Rita Felciano)

Fri/20-Sat/21, 8pm; Sun/22, 3 and 7pm, $10–$24

Dance Mission Theater

3316 24th St., SF

(415) 826-4441



School of Seven Bells

The rejiggered School of Seven Bells marches on with vocalists Alejandra Deheza and producer Benjamin Curtis after Alejandra's twin Claudia left the band a couple of years back for "personal reasons." Ghostory, the first SVIIB LP since the lineup shift, has more of a free flow and electronic feel than previous releases; think of a Ladytron-like sound rather than the melodious pop heard in the band's first release, Alpinisms. Alejandra's ethereal voice takes on a plaintive tone that melds especially well with Curtis' low-slung shoegaze atmospherics on highlight track "Love Story." (Lee)

With Exitmusic

9pm, $15

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011




I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that there may be a general correlation between interest in 2012 phenomena and smoking a righteous amount of pot. If getting supremely baked and attributing significance to arbitrary dates is your thing, then truly the stars align this 4/20 with Sound Tribe Sector 9 performing at the Fox. As if the popular electronic jam band wasn't reason enough for stoners to organically celebrate, STS9 will be bringing its Great Cycle Spectacles — featuring a glowing LED Mayan pyramid — to the already dazzling venue. End of the world or beginning of the next stage? Either way, smoke up. (Ryan Prendiville)

With Nosaj Thing (4/20), Mimosa (4/21)

8pm, $29.50

Fox Theater

1807 Telegraph, Oakl.

(510) 548-3010



Cesar Chavez Festival

For too many of us, Cesar Chavez Day passes by in a blur of I'm-not-at-work (or dammit-I'm-at-work) chaos. We don't really stop to celebrate the man, and that's a shame because as you can tell from the way Rainbow Grocery shuts its door to celebrate him, he was a seminal figure in California history, Chicano history, and labor movement history. Luckily, we all get a hall pass this and every year if we didn't observe the man on his state-sanctioned holiday. Today, the Mission will be marked by a parade in his honor, leading to a street fair on 24th Street with live music by Carlos Santana's son Salvador, local hip-hop phenom Bang Data, and the Cuicacalli Youth Ballet Folklorico, among many other acts. (Caitlin Donohue)

11am parade; noon-6pm fair, free

Street fair: 24th St. between Bryant and Treat, SF

(415) 621-2665



All Tiny Creatures

There are a lot of voices on Harbor, the debut album from Wisconsin's All Tiny Creatures, some from the quartet itself — featuring musicians from Collections of Colonies of Bees and Volcano Choir — and then a number of guest collaborators, most notably Bon Iver's Justin Vernon (who All Tiny Creatures also open for at the Bill Graham) and members of Megafaun. Given the number of vocalists, it's surprising how restrained they are in the mix, lightly drawing on their instrumental quality instead of normal lyrical structuring. The result — from the driving opener "Holography" to the scattered march of "Aviation Class" — is an immediately catchy album of prog pop that moves along weightlessly. (Prendiville)

With Minor Kingdom, Kill Moi

9pm, $10

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St., SF

(415) 621-4455



Real Estate

While listening to the dazed, sun-baked surf rock of Real Estate, the pulse of Southern California comes to mind. But, wait. These guys are describing New Jersey? Yes. Childhood buddies Martin Courtney, Matt Mondanile, and Alex Bleeker started making music a few summers back in their hometown of Ridgewood, N.J. and have cited the state itself as a major influence. Now the band is based in Brooklyn (phew!), but the bliss and nostalgia attached to carefree, suburban teenage summers of partying discretely in parents' basements and spending long days with a first love permeates its freshman and sophomore albums. Congratulations, New Jersey! You were due for this type of artistic beautification. (Mia Sullivan)

With the Twerps, Melted Toys

8 p.m., $17

Great American Music Hall

859 O'Farrell St.

(415) 885-0750



Neon Indian

When your debut album features ADHD-affected sampling, retro arpeggios, and tracks like "Should Have Taken Acid With You", "(AM)", and "Mind, Drips" it can be hard to sustain that level of weirdness. Despite its title, Era Extraña — the sophomore release from Denton, Texas's Neon Indian — is a comparatively straightforward record, with Italo influenced, electro dance tracks more attuned to a club performance as a band than the product of fiddling around in a bedroom. But rather than running out of or exhausting its oddball energy, Neon Indian seems to have just redistributed it to the fringe, releasing a freak EP with the Flaming Lips as well as recording a future-vintage VHS manual for its limited release toy synth, the PAL198X. (Prendiville)

With Lemonade

8pm, $25


1850 Geary, SF

(415) 346-6000




Leeds native Christopher Mercer chose to go the retrospective route with new release Songs, bringing dubstep back to its, well, roots. The artist popularly known as Rusko pays homage to the UK two-step garage popular in the '90s with tracks "Pressure" and "Whistle Crew." Mercer fills out the album with dub-like tracks that feature a healthy serving of Jamaican vocals and a moderate indulgence in full-on wobbliness. As a whole, Songs is more likely to invoke respectful head-nodding, rather than the injury-inducing cranium-banging that has become the dubstep norm these days. (Lee)

With Sigma

8pm, $33


982 Market, SF

(415) 567-2060


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