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Picks for the week of May 14-20, 2008

Thursday May 15
Sobrato High School
401 Burnett Ave
Morgan Hill

Smash Mouth

SMASH MOUTH is one of those peppy "ska" party bands that was everywhere in the late '90s. Bursting out of San Jose with the smash retro-tinged bubblegum-rock hit "Walking on the Sun," lead singer Steve Harwell, guitarist Greg Camp and bassist Paul De Lisle made some of the most ubiquitously beachy summer songs of the '90s. With the TRL-friendly tune "All Star" and the Shrek-ed out Monkees cover "I'm a Believer," Smash Mouth will play their bouncy, hook-filled songs alongside "smooth criminals" Alien Ant Farm to help raise funds for Morgan Hill's ARTTEC Academy.

Steel Pulse
Sunday May 18
Little Fox
2209 Broadway
Redwood City

The Waybacks

AS THE NAME suggests, the Waybacks have no trouble borrowing from the past, and the San Francisco foursome is comfortably at home with the latest in American roots music. Mixing and matching elements of folk, country and good ol' quick-pickin' bluegrass, the Waybacks have cut out a solid fan base of jam-band festival goers and revivalist buffs, crooning their way into the hearts of amateurs and purists alike. Praise for the band's fiery performances has come from a variety of sources, including the Chicago Tribune, which called the group a "near-ideal balance of irreverence, chops, discipline and originality." No surprise, then, that the Waybacks have already racked up an impressive gig resume that includes stage appearances alongside the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir.

Steel Pulse
Saturday May 17
JJ's Blues
3439 Stevens Creek
San Jose

Rene Solis With Lucky 13

CELEBRATED blues guitarist Rene Solis taps the Bay Area blues wellspring again with the sixth Blues Guitar Extravaganza at JJ's Blues. As creator of the show, Solis will jam with his powerhouse band Lucky 13, showing off the prodigious guitar skill that made him last year's official San Jose Blues Week honoree. "My stuff is funky R&B blues with New Orleans grooves," said Solis, describing his music. "It's not on-your-back-porch blues, it's more contemporary, horn driven, back-beat driven. We have a lot of vocal harmonies with a little bit of a twist, a West Coast sound with more of an urban feel. We try to make it as original as it can be. Basically, it's urban funky blues backed with R&B." Also featured will be master player and "King of North Beach" Johnny Nitro, delivering the signature rough vocals and clear-cut oomphy blues guitar that has gained him a significant following in San Francisco. Having backed some of the biggest names on the blues scene, Bay Area blues fixture Mighty Mike Schermer will also bring his contemporary guitar stylings, touting his latest release, Next Set. As usual, the evening will conclude with a rollicking all-star jam session with everybody packing the JJ's stage to jam the place to the ground.

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