Blues, Folk, & Country, All Ages

Gil Scott-Heron & Friends

Gil Scott-Heron

When: Tue., March 16, 8 & 10 p.m. and Wed., March 17, 8 & 10 p.m. 2010

Perhaps the most sampled poet in history, Gil Scott-Heron has managed to stay one step ahead of the times for four decades. His "Revolution Will Not Be Televised" is still the Everest of the spoken-word canon, but his new material is equally exciting -- if only because it brings all kinds of new possibilities to hip-hop and R&B. Heron's current single, "Me and the Devil," features him singing about morality in a raspy, Delta-bluesman voice. Heron sings over a static drone punctuated by handclaps -- which, in this case, serve as a signifier for hip-hop. The video -- with its black-and-white urban landscapes, transit lines, skateboarders, and Day of the Dead imagery -- is really a form of performance art. Heron's new work mixes spoken-word philosophy with modern technology and a deep-seated sense of history. It's extremely current, but it also has the primeval crackle of an old blues record. No wonder Heron called his 2010 comeback album I'm New Here. Gil Scott-Heron performs at Yoshi's (1330 Fillmore St., San Francisco) on Tuesday, Mar. 16 and Wednesday, Mar. 17. 8 & 10 p.m., $16-$26.

Rachel Swan

Price: $16-$26

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