February 28-March 6, 2007

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Jade of Days

They'll be back: But probably not with bells on.


Jade of Days

Jade of Days is getting some well-deserved recognition at the upcoming Emergenza Music Festival—a sort of worldwide battle of the bands—hitting the Rockit Room in San Francisco on Saturday, March 3. After tearing up the local San Jose bar circuit for more than two years and putting out two extraordinary albums—Absence of Light and Gracas a Dues—Jade of Days just may be on the cusp of breaking into the big time, even though this sublime local four-piece seems to be playing that aspect down.

"I see Jade of Days as a little tiny local band in San Jose that, like, 50 people know about," explains vocalist Dana Kelley, who's delicate and lilting yet powerfully emotive vocals perfectly complement the intense play of her band mates. "Now we are somehow starting to be noticed, appreciated and talked about on a larger scale."

After what will be, no doubt, a killer performance at Emergenza and showing the City that San Jose has plenty of live music fight, Jade of Days will be taking a short hiatus. A full return to the stage for Jade of Days will be in late April at the Avalon Nightclub.

Ryan Osterbeck

Jade of Days performs on Saturday (Mar. 3) at 8pm at the Rockit Room, 406 Clement St, San Francisco. Admission is free. (415.387.6343)

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

3 countries: From left to right: Canada, China and India incarnate.

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

AS SPRING approaches, there is no better way to prepare than to soak up the endless pleasures of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. A measure of a work's intrinsic artistic essence is its ability to withstand overexposure. Vivaldi's famed Baroque concerto series has been played seemingly to death for nearly 300 years and yet can still sound fresh in the hands of skilled and sensitive players.

In addition to the full Vivaldi, the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra of Canada, an 18-member period-instrument ensemble, will also range far afield, offering pieces from the same century but very different countries: China, Canada and India. To help out, Tafelmusik has enlisted the aid of Inuit throat singers Sylvia Cloutier and June Shappa, as well as Chinese pipa player Wen Zhao. The concert is part of the Stanford Lively Arts series.

Al Roberts

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra performs Sunday (Mar. 4) at 2:30pm at Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford. Tickets are $19-$42. (650.725.ARTS)

Guy Clark, Joe Ely, John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett

Loving Lovett: The rest of the guys can hardly believe what a drunken Julia did next.

Guy Clark, Joe Ely, John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett

GUY CLARK IS a crazy motherfucker. If you've seen the recent Townes Van Zandt documentary Be Here To Love Me—and if you haven't, what's wrong with you?—you've seen Clark at his grumpy, codgerly, wit-as-dry-as-an-East-Texas-desert best, joking with his wife about how Townes always wanted to screw her, swearing up a blue streak and in general stealing the entire film. That's sort of what it's like seeing him at one of these songwriter-in-the-round events, only with slightly less swearing. I've seen him do this twice—once before with Lovett and company, and last year at "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass" with Steve Earle, Billy Bragg and Verlon Thompson. Both times, he kicked everyone's ass up and down the stage—not literally, although that honestly wouldn't have surprised me. (It was funny to see Steve Earle jump out of his seat and run across the stage flipping off the military jets flying overhead, but I'm talking hardly strictly musically here.)

If you haven't been to this type of event before, here's how it works: Four singer-songwriters sit up on stage; one of them plays a song, then the next one, then the next, then the last and then back to the first performer again. I have no idea why it's always four of them, maybe there's some union rule. I also have no idea why this type of event is often called a "Songwriter's Circle," 'cause they always sit in a straight line.

But anyway, the best thing these events do is create free-market competition. Unlike a solo performance, where the musician might as well suck—because, really, who's going to upstage him, the opening act?—these events push him to sing for his life. Not only does he want to one-up the guy who just performed and launch a pre-emptive strike on the guy who's coming after him, but the other three songwriters whose turn it isn't are all looking right at him, waiting to be impressed. The performer in question responds to this pressure in three ways: 1) he picks A-list material every time—if Lyle Lovett doesn't do "If I Had a Boat," I'll eat my hat (full disclosure: I do not have a hat); 2) he plays the hell out it; 3) he often throws in a little story you've never heard about how the song in question came to be written, just to add to the drama.

So sheer magnetism definitely factors into a songwriter-in-the-round performance, which is maybe why Clark always comes out on top. Every gruff noise from this guy is gripping. He doesn't have to sing "Dublin Blues" to create drama (though I hope he will); at one of these events, he sucked all the air out of the room just by lighting up a cigarette on stage. He acted like it was nothing, but he must have known the entire audience's attention shifted from whoever was singing to him in an instant. Brilliant! Watch out, little Lyle—Guy Clark knows every trick in the book.

Steve Palopoli

Guy Clark, Joe Ely, John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett perform on Friday (Mar. 2) at 8pm, Saturday (Mar. 3) at 8pm and Sunday (Mar.4) at 7:30pm at the Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City. Tickets are $55-$90. (650.369.4119)

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