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Loud Live Local

July 1st to July 15th

Sometimes, at a concert, when a crowd is uniquely diverse, the music fresh and worldly, it astounds my most wary eyes and ears. Rachid Taha's (who was born in Algeria and lives in Paris) performance last week at the Great American was one of those times. The crowd -- a sold out amalgam of teens jumping on stage to pose for photos, forty somethings waiting for Bono and clubbers in the know -- all grooved to Rachid's blistering blend of Arab pop and western rock that collides on a European dance floor. The band was top of the world. The night was revolutionary as well as alienating as I spoke not a word of French or Arabic. I was a bit lost and glad so.

Next up -- bands from Japan, Sweden, Mali and a French Chanteuse to help us celebrate Bastille Day.

Diamond Nights with Midnight Serenade and HiJack the Disco
Cafe Du Nord
July 3rd, 9pm (also on the 13th)
$8 ~ 21 and over

If Diamond Nights shined many moons ago, tracks from their self-titled EP certainly would have made it to your Awesome Mix Tape #6. Diamond Nights hail from New York City, not San Fernando, and the buzz is different. Their sound is firmly rooted in the AOR rock of Rick Springfield, Night Ranger and the Cars. Diamond Nights also perform July 13th, opening for Night after Night also at the Cafe Du Nord.

The Bootcuts
Thee Parkside
July 4th, 9pm
Price ? ~21 and over

City's fogged in? Head to Thee Parkside for a red, white and blue toe tapping Fourth of July. The Bootcuts play fun lovin' country music. They held old time legend, Hazel Dickens rapt at last year's Strictly Bluegrass festival. The band is the real McCoy, a trip to the country fair, so grab your Stetson, come on down and support your local music you'all.

POP Crush Festival
Rickshaw Stop
July 7th to 9th
$10 ~ $12 ~ all ages

A three night feast to work off the holiday excess, Pop Crush, an every other year festival, will brighten your Brian Wilson, REM, Belle and Sebastian smile. Headliners include Philadelphia's Human Television, Brooklyn's Baskervilles and San Francisco's own Orange Peels. It's all ages, so bring the kids. More info, mp3s and a schedule of events at:

Afrirampo with King Cobra
Hemlock Tavern
July 8th, 9:30pm
$7 ~ 21 and over

Kitsch factor definitely plays a role in Japan, especially in music and this female duo from Osaka caught my attention. They are friends with Acid Mother Temple, and if this name means nothing to you, maybe it's best to peek at their website first. But, the Hemlock Tavern, a hopping watering hole for the alterna crowd that brings back memories of the Rent era East Village, is worth the price of admission alone. Check it:

Dungen with Faun Fables and The Lonelyhearts
Bottom of the Hill
July 8th ~ 2 shows ~ 4pm and 10pm
$12 ~ all ages

Dungen fly south from Sweden as Pitchfork Media has piled heaps of compliments on the band. Like the Arcade Fire or Sigur Rós, Dungen's psyche rock lives up to the hype, and the chance to catch them at The Bottom of the Hill is worthy -- very worthy. Faun Fables is Dawn "the faun" McCarthy and Nils Frykdahl of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. The New Yorker called Faun's past music, "Eerie, Appalachian-tinged confessionals marked by spellbinding honesty." San Francisco's own Lonelyhearts open before heading out on an East Coast tour. Tickets are selling fast, so buy in advance.

Les San Culottes with My Life Is On The Line
Cafe Du Nord
July 12th, 9pm
$12 ~ 21 and over

As my friend Fred from France would say, "Sure why Not, Let's Go!" Les San Culottes live in New York City, but have a French connection in Celine Dijon, the chanteuse from Paris. In celebration of Bastille Day, the band graces the boudoir Cafe Du Nord. The bands bio states it all, "The Love Boat, making stops in Ibiza, Rio De Janeiro and Cannes; picking up partygoers at each port." San Francisco, too, sure why not.

Peace, Love and Understanding -- have a sunny, diverse Fourth: [email protected]