THE LIST: Dreamy Sounds from Iron & Wine 

First on the list: For many listeners, the haunting acoustic folk music of Sam Beam — he’s the man behind the dietary supplement-inspired moniker Iron & Wine — first came into play via the "Garden State" soundtrack, which featured his understated rendition of the Postal Service’s "Such Great Heights." 

While Beam’s cover didn’t earn any life-changing recommendations as the Shins’ song "New Slang" did from Natalie Portman’s character, the song focused both critical and public attention on the heavily bearded singer-songwriter. Later, it was featured in an M&M’s commercial. With such immediate notoriety, one-hit wonder status seemed imminent, but that wasn’t the case for Beam; his Sub Pop recordings "The Creek Drank the Cradle" and "Our Endless Numbered Days" found a considerable following and earned critical comparisons to Nick Drake and Elliott Smith.

Beam’s latest release, "The Shepherd’s Dog," showcases decidedly newer territory for Iron & Wine. The album is a larger-scale studio production, features contributions from jazz artists and members of Calexico, and takes politics as its topic of choice. On Friday, Iron & Wine and Califone perform at the Paramount Theatre.

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Info: (415) 421-8497 or www.ticketmaster.com

2 John Butler Trio

Warfield, 982 Market St., San Francisco

The Australian-based jam band has toured in support of the Dave Matthews Band.

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Info: (415) 775-7722 or www.ticketmaster.com

3 The Lemonheads

Slim’s, 333 11th St., S.F.

The band’s cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s "Mrs. Robinson" has been its most successful single to date.

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Info: www.slims-sf.com

4 The Tossers

The Independent, 628 Divisadero St., San Francisco

The seven-piece band is a staple in the Celtic punk and folk music scene.

When: 8 p.m. Monday

Info: (415) 771-1421

5 Spice Girls

HP Pavilion, 525 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose

The group famous for its girl power message has reunited for a world tour and is singing greatest hits.

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Info: (415)-421-8497

Best stage

1 42nd Street Moon: "Oh, Lady! Lady!!" centers on wedding plans derailed by a former flame.

Info: (415) 255-8207

2 Divas in December: Stage veteran Carole Cook performs her one-woman show.

Info: (415) 861-8972 Sam Shepard’s "True West" is a modern take on a Wild West showdown.

3 Boxcar Theatre:

Info: (415) 776-1747

4 Noh Space: "4.48 Psychosis’’ presents an intimate portrait of suicidal depression.

Info: www.theatreofyugen.org  

5 SF Playhouse: "Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge" is a new take on Dickens’ classic.

Info: (415) 677-9596

Best gatherings

1 Union Street: Meet Santa Claus and his friends at the "Fantasy of Lights Parade" Saturday.

Info: www.unionstreetsf.com  

2 S.F. Silent Film Festival: Features include "Vitaphone Vaudeville" and "Flesh and the Devil."

Info: (866) 468-3399

3 "Around the World in 80 Beers": Eighty varieties are offered for tasting Saturday.

Info: www.aroundtheworldin80beers.com 

4 Poets speak: Bay Area Scores presents the SF Poetry Slam 2007 at the Herbst.

Info: (415) 486-1310

5 Nutcracker Tea: The Fairmont’s lobby is transformed into a winter wonderland.

Info: (415) 772-5000

Slim’s, 333 11th St., San Francisco

The band’s cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s "Mrs. Robinson" has been its most successful single to date.

When: 9 p.m. Friday

 

 

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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