Crit Picks

G. Love and Special Sauce -- You find funk in the damnedest places. Like in the guts of 21-year-old former Philadelphia street musician Garrett Dutton III, a.k.a. G. Love. Love lets his funk spill into the light with his own scat-rap vocals and vintage dobro pluck, backed by rudimentary drums and bass fiddle, making for a blues-rap hybrid that's got more soul and grit in its raspy improv flow than its stylistic cousin jazz-rap can touch with a ten-foot riff. G. Love and Special Sauce is out on Epic, but if this cat's got the style on stage that bleeds through the CD, the live show's the way to drop the cash. At the Satellite Lounge, Thursday, August 4. 869-COOL.

311 -- Not quite as inventive as the Beastie Boys, and not nearly so annoying as the Chili Peppers, but both influences get shots here. A good dose of the rock-style rap that the Peppers made famous on the West Coast must have seeped into the water table, making its way to the Midwest, where it resurfaced in this five-piece band, now from L.A. but originally from scene backwater Omaha. Guitars drive the music on the new Grassroots (Capricorn), but hip-hop and reggae are given musicianly nods. All swirled together with an upbeat (but not squishy) lyric attitude, it makes for an energized melting-pot romp. At the Abyss, Sunday, August 7. 629-3700.

Basia -- She's a Polish woman (formerly with Euro-pop trio Matt Bianco) with a musical sense imported whole from Brazil; her new album, The Sweetest Illusion, runs from finger-popping pep tunes to lovestruck mourning. Basia's got a bit of Sade's sultry class and enough confidence with her could-be-gimmicky profile to have turned an oddball coupling of heritage and appropriation into an international following worthy of a first-rate diva. At Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, Sunday, August 7. 629-3700.

Metallica -- Openers Suicidal Tendencies ought to generate some thrash-funk heat, second-slotters Candlebox are a bad joke, and Alice in Chains, which would have been the best band on the bill, has bailed the tour. That leaves headliners Metallica, who are, according to all advance reports, ripping the shit up on stage. Howler James Hetfield and company are touring, self-referentially enough, on the strength of Live Shit: Binge & Purge, a $90 chunk of collector's overkill consisting of a triple CD, two full-length concert videos and assorted groupie doo-dads. Buy a ticket instead, and spend whatever's left over on earplugs. At Houston Raceway Park, Sunday, August 7. 629-3700.

-- Brad Tyer

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