It'd be easy to dismiss Pomplamoose as a YouTube sensation, but there's more to this duo than meets the eye. While they're known for their covers of hit songs ("Single Ladies," "Beat It," "All About That Bass"), their appeal is based on fresh visual ideas and consistently unique musical arrangements, usually altering entire chord structures and other key elements from the original recordings. Live, the two perform with a full band, alternating between stoic calm (Nataly Dawn) and unleashed excitement (Jack Conte) in a mix of covers and originals. Both alumni of Stanford, the couple return for a special concert on campus. Details and ticket information here.
Radio Ambulante Live
Founded by novelist Daniel Alarcón, who hails from Peru but lives and works in the Bay Area, the podcast Radio Ambulante focuses on stories from "wherever Spanish is spoken." This weekend, you can enjoy a live taping of this always-lively show at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, with subtitles to support monolingual speakers of both English and Spanish. Details and ticket information here.
Performing at Great American Music Hall on Nov. 5, JD McPherson offers a fusion of '50s boogie, R&B and rockabilly. Call it "vintage" if you must, but don't mistake it for being dated. The singer's 2012 album Signs & Signifiers is rich with retro soul, but the power in McPherson's silky voice bursts with modern energy. Details and ticket information here.
From playwright Colm Tóibín comes this portrait of the Virgin Mary, originally staged on Broadway as The Testament of Mary. The story of a mother whose son, as the description notes, "has been taken from her by men she regards as fanatics," the play has faced criticism from Catholic groups for its so-called blasphemous portrayal. The indefatigable Carey Perloff directs and Seana McKenna stars in this production by A.C.T.. Details and ticket information here.
Total Trash Halloween Bash
It's not uncommon for local bands to "dress up" on Halloween as other, more famous bands, but this year's Total Trash Halloween Bash promises a very large tongue in the proverbial cheek. Shannon and the Clams appear as "Metallica"; Yogurt Brain as "Smashing Pumpkins"; Pookie and the Poodles as "The Donnas" and more. Hosted by Hunx (pictured) as "Gayracula," the two-night shindig takes place in two venues in the East Bay: Leo's Music Club (Oct. 31) and Eli's Mile High Club (Nov. 1, with headliners the Phantom Surfers). Tickets available separately, or as a weekend pass. Details and ticket information here.