Shows: Dec. 10 and 11 (The Weekend!)

It’s a busy weekend, in terms of Bay Area music. Hard to go wrong with any of these:

Old Friends Festival at Berkeley Arts Festival (2133 University Ave., Berkeley), Sat. Dec. 10, 8:00 p.m.
….. See here. Tonight’s show includes Pamela Z, Dan Plonsey’s New Monsters (an evolution of The Manufacturing of Humidifiers, a nifty early-’90s oddball-jazz band), and ROVA, playing tribute to the late Glenn Spearman.

Ensemble Épouser performs “Les Noches” at Viracocha (998 Valencia St., San Francisco), Sat. Dec. 10, 8:00 p.m.
….. The ambitious, Dominique Leone-led project to re-create the Igor Stravinsky piece, originally written for four pianos, percussion, four vocal soloists, and a chorus. They’ll be using fewer people than that: Leone’s Ensemble Épouser uses five voices and two pianos. Pitch-shifters and rewritten piano parts help flesh out the sound. On her Fenderhardt blog in July, Laura wrote up a terrific article about the project’s origins. This is also a nice opportunity to check out the music series she’s been running at Viracocha. Also on the bill are the Real Vocal String Quartet (nice to see them in action again), and Seldamuse, a duo of cellist/vocalist Theresa Wong, who’s got a new album out on Tzadik, and Dohee Lee, a vocalist some of us know through Larry Ochs’ group, Kihnoua.

Droneshift at The Lab (2948 16th St., San Francisco), Sat. Dec. 10, 8:00 p.m.
….. About once a year, some local musicians get together for Droneshift. The idea is to keep one long drone going, in this case for three hours. Musicians swap in and out with their different instruments, leading to changes in the overall sound — but the drone lives on. The session was organized by Matt Davignon and will feature more than 40 musicians. Here’s a list.

Charming Hostess at Subterranean Art House (2179 Bancroft Way, Berkeley), Sat. Dec. 10, 9:00 p.m.
….. It’s Eastern European night at the Art House, as a band called Zoyres will also be performing. Jewlia Eisenberg creates Charming Hostess’ music by fusing Klezmer, Eastern European folk, blues, and whatever else is lying around. It’s vocal-driven, with the group often appearing as a vocal trio, but the albums are backed by a variety of musicians and a very modern sound overall. Coincidentally, the six-person version of Charming Hostess (a full band including a couple of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum folks) would have fit in with the OFF festival mentioned above.

Noertker’s Moxie at Cafe Royale, Sun. Dec. 11, 6:00 p.m.
….. Bassist Bill Noertker has several years of performing and several albums to show for his modern jazz band. Featuring original compositions, Noertker’s Moxie doesn’t adhere to post-bop or modal jazz forms but has enough “jazz” in it to please fans of those subgenres. Noertker’s Moxie is a regular at the SIMM series on Sunday nights, but this time, the quintet gets an evening gig at a restaurant that favors “normal” jazz. Nice change of pace for them.

Efft Up/Joe Lasqo at Musicians Union Hall (111 9th St., San Francisco), Sun. Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m.
….. Latest show in the SIMM series mentioned above. Efft Up is the duo of Bob Marsh on piano and Rent Romus on sax; the name probably aptly describes what they’ll do to the music.  Joe Lasqo performs solo piano that’s influenced by the long-form drones of Indian ragas. His set celebrates the release of his CD, Turquoise Sessions.

Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola at The Independent (San Francisco), Sun. Dec. 11, 8:00 p.m.
….. This one’s more mainstream, with Hunter spinning his funky breed of jazz guitar with built-in bassline, backed by the snap of Amendola’s drums. Bhi Bhiman opens (think classic rock singer/songwriter stuff, done pretty well.) You can also see Hunter and Amendola on the 12th at Kuumbwa Jazz Center.

Phillip Greenlief & Jon Raskin’s 3+3 at Berkeley Arts Festival, Sun. Dec. 11, 8:00 p.m.
….. Raskin and Greenlief’s “2+2” presented varying improvising duos featuring the two of them with different guests. This time, they’ll work in trios with violin, koto, and electronics. Some of the pieces will be improvisations based on experimental notation systems.