Our Weekly Picks: August 15-21



Family of the Year

The most compelling aspect of Family of the Year's live show is the transparency of the band members' genuine affection for each other. The Los Angeles-based indie group weaves together folk influences and male/female vocal harmonies to create a fun, lighthearted brand of nostalgic rock. If this sounds familiar, look no further than West Hollywood, where Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes have been doing their own multi-gendered feel-good folk melodies for years. Apparently the Magnetic Zeroes also noticed these similarities, because they asked Family of the Year to tour with them in 2011, shortly after Ben Folds chose them out of 700 bands as his opener at Symphony Hall. (Haley Zaremba)

With the Colourist

9pm, $10

Brick and Mortar Music Hall

1710 Mission, SF

(415) 800-8782



Squeeze This! A Cultural History of the Accordion

Was there anything more unexpected in season three of Mad Men than the scene in which Joan brought out her cherry-red squeezebox, and serenaded a dinner party with "C'est Magnifique?" And yet, accordions were once a bastion of adult gatherings; there were bona fide accordion stars — Dick Contino, who played San Francisco's Barbary Coast in the 1940s, made it on the pop charts — but in this century, they've left the mainstream, resurging underground in pockets of klezmer, pirate polka, Tejano music, and gypsy jazz. In her new biography, Squeeze This, writer-musician Marion Jacobson delves deep into the history of the instrument and contemplates its place as a cultural technology. At an event this week, Jacobson will likely discuss some of her findings with the Accordion Apocalypse crew (and sign copies of her book), followed by squeezebox-filled performances by Luz Gaxiola, the Mad Maggies, and Sheri Mignano. (Emily Savage)

7pm, free

Accordion Apocalypse

255 10th St., SF

(415) 596-5952




The cover of Whiskerman's self-titled 2011 album features a sharp dressed man in a a forest clearing, his untamed hair brimming out from behind an animal mask, while he holds up a violin. The intriguing cover art introduces us to a sound no less whimsical and complex: led by Graham Patzner, Whiskerman boasts an inventive alternative rock meets folk sound. The Bay Area band demands attention with softly building songs such as "Brother Jim", while their rock'n'roll songs like "Blind Saint" are undeniably catchy hits. Patzner comes from a musical family — his brother Lewis (Judgment Day) plays cello in the band, and their eldest brother Anton Patzner plays violin in JD. The work of the Patnzer brothers can be characterized by their attention to musical craft, but also, a certain magical quality. Whiskerman takes each magic moment and stretches it out — until you, and everyone else privy, becomes immersed in the wild sounds that are their nature. (Shauna C. Keddy)

With Con Brio $10, 9pm


1317 San Pablo, Berk.

(510) 525- 5054



Dr. John and the Lower 911

Locked Down — the latest from the inimitable Dr. John — opens with a Afro-strutting, funky rhythm that's swamped with confidence. And it's for good reason, because at this point in his career, the New Orleans based bayou blues rocker has little to prove. An influential session player and solo artist — without whom Beck's "Loser", Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused, Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz, and that band from the Muppets would not be the same — Dr. John has laid his hands on so many genres and has a lengthy list of collaborators that it's simply exhausting to think about. The Black Keys's Dan Auerbach lends some playing and production to the new album, which will likely win Grammys in all the relevant categories. (Ryan Prendiville)

With John Cleary

hu/16-Fri/17 9pm, $39.50


628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421



Alejandro Escovedo and the Sensitive Boys

Alejandro Escovedo's illustrious career spans four decades, beginning with his role as a founding member of San Francisco punk band the Nuns in the 1970s. From there, he moved to Austin, Tex. to play alternative country and roots rock, first with Rank and File, and later as True Believers with brother Javier. Escovedo released his first solo album in 1992, Gravity, a heartfelt record that explores themes of love and loss while showcasing a variety of his musical influences. Escovedo has performed with his band the Sensitive Boys as of late, and their most recent album, Big Station, sees Escovedo turn up the amps and embrace his heartier, rollicking rock'n'roll side. (Kevin Lee)

With Jesse Malin

8pm, $25

Bimbo's 365 Club

1025 Columbus

(415) 474-0365



Blue Note Rendezvous Cabaret

One of the great things about America is that people are free to blend ideas and concepts to their hearts' content. (Personal favorite example: Korean tacos.) In this grand tradition, the folks at 50 Mason mix and match Blue Note-flavored music with belly dancing at the quarterly Blue Note Rendezvous Cabaret. Professional gyrators shake and slither to live bands hammering out jazz, swing, and whatever happens to be the music of the night. This installment's headliners, MWE, call themselves a Middle Eastern marching band, and bring festive sounds that also evoke the Balkans, Greece, and Turkey. Opening five-piece local ensemble Horns a Plenty ditched drums, strings, and piano, instead opting for an all-brass jazz approach. (Lee)

With MWE, Horns a Plenty

9pm, $10

50 Mason Social House, SF

(415) 433-5050



Nosaj Thing

Nosaj Thing (pronounced "no such thing") cemented his position in the post-dubstep community in 2009, no small feat considering the number of already-established Los Angeles-based beatmakers. He gained an international following in 2009 with the release of his haunting, spacey debut LP Drift, along with well-received remixes of Flying Lotus, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Radiohead. Live performances at Spain's Sonar festival, at California's own Coachella — and seemingly everywhere in between — solidified Nosaj's reputation for dreamy, woozy, electronic hip-hop. Fans are pining for a new full-length but will have to settle for bits and pieces Nosaj will likely drop during his set. Opener Mux Mool has just released Planet High School, a playful mix of '80s-rooted beats and video game synths. (Lee)

With Mux Mool, Manitous ft. Swoonz, Drewmin

9:30pm, $15

Public Works

161 Erie, SF

(415) 932-0955




Babes, your bikes put up with a lot. Literally, think of how supportive they are of your behind, through denim and spandex, skirts and shorts. Why don't you take it somewhere nice? This weekend provides the ultimate opportunity for two-wheeled QT: the East Bay Bike Coalition's second annual Pedalfest, where bikey will encounter new and interesting peers like the WhymCycle art bike collection, BMX stunt rides, even a bike that, owner attached, swings on a rope through the air in looping aerial acrobatics. Ambition! One of the largest cycle events in the Bay, last year Pedalfest attracted 18,000 happy riders. Kids activities, snacks galore, relay races, and live tunes — JLS is going to be the place to show love for the bike that gets you to where you need to go. (Caitlin Donohue)

11am-8pm, free

Jack London Square

Broadway and 1st St., Oakl.



Midnight Magic

It's become apparent that the PR agents have discovered the trick to getting my attention: listing the name of a band next to the words "ex-mems of LCD Soundsystem," thereby exploiting the hole left in one of my bodily organs by that now defunct group. The connection here is a bit tenuous, referring to former members of Hercules and Love Affair (quite a good name drop on its own) enlisted to play backup at LCD's last shows. Moving beyond the past, the nine piece disco outfit's releases so far — "Drop Me a Line" and "Beam Me Up" — have a promising, lively romanticism that's doing all the influences justice. (Prendiville)

With Tron Jeremy, Brother Sister, hosted by Ava Berlin and Andy Vague

10pm, $10-$15

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011



Lee Fields & the Expressions

Lee Fields is a soul singer's soul singer. Between innumerable session gigs, years of touring with bands like Kool and the Gang, and a string of early-'70s singles that have become legendary among crate-diggers, Fields has paid his dues since 1969. So, it seems deliciously redemptive that in 2012, Fields has found himself in the most prolific stage of his career, churning out records for the bona-fide Truth & Soul label as the bandleader of the Expressions. Faithful Man, released earlier this year, has drawn comparisons to soul heavyweights, from Stax/Volt to James Brown, and as far as throwbacks go, it's the real deal. Which poses the question: can Fields channel the vitality of his recent recordings when he graces the Independent on Saturday night? One way to find out. (Taylor Kaplan)

With Hard French, Top Cat & Miles Ahead

9pm, $25


628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421



Mrs. Doubtfire

Dolores Park gets all the hipster love, but li'l sis Duboce Park is not to be overlooked — especially when it hosts an outdoor screening of San Francisco-set 1993 comedy Mrs. Doubtfire, a movie that's earned a cult following despite its gentle, family-friendly content. A father (Robin Williams) goes undercover as an elderly nanny so he can spend more time with his kids, thus circumventing the court-ordered wishes of his estranged wife (Sally Field). Plus: Harvey Fierstein as the make-up whiz behind Doubtfire's drag; immortal lines "Hellooo!" and "It was a run-by fruiting!"; and enough camp cachet to inspire at least one portrait tattoo (Google it). Just be sure you bring a low chair or a waterproof cloth to sit on at the screening; Duboce Park's rep as a doggie paradise is irrefutable. (Cheryl Eddy)

8:15pm, free

Duboce Park

Duboce and Steiner, SF



Calvin Johnson

Having founded Olympia, Wash.'s influential K Records and Dub Narcotic Studio, Calvin Johnson has signed, recorded, and collaborated with countless Northwest music icons, from Modest Mouse to the Microphones. Since 2002, he's issued a handful of solo, (mostly) acoustic efforts, built around his unmistakably drawling baritone. Walk into a thrift store in Olympia, though, and odds are you'll find a stack of mixtapes for sale, compiled by you-know-who; this Saturday, Johnson will headline the release party for the Believer's music issue cassette along with a roster of tape-centric outsider-artists handpicked by the king of Oly, himself. (Kaplan)

With Katie & the Lichen, Laura Leif & A.P.B., the Shivas, the Memories, Tomorrow's Tulips, Mom, Happy Noose

8:30pm, $8

Cafe Du Nord

2170 Market, SF

(415) 861-5016




The year 1993 saw the conception of what was soon to be one of the decade's most influential and controversial genres: emo. Braid was one of the frontrunners of the scene, lamenting lost loves and expressing the melancholy nature of youth over minor chords years before My Chemical Romance would don its first guyliner. The group disbanded through most of the Aughts, but reunited in 2011, for the band's 600th show. Now that emo has turned into a cabaret of red eyeshadow and comically impractical hairstyles, Braid bears little resemblance to the current wave of emotional rockers, but it can still get down with the sadness. (Zaremba)

With Owen, TS & the Past Haunts

9pm, $20


333 11th St, SF

(415) 255-0333


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