Pop; THE FIVE BEST GIGS

Megadog Beach Festival, Sat, Sun

Goodness gracious me! Heard the one about the funny Asian?

Sanjeev Bhaskar is one of a new breed of Asian comics to spice up the scene. He talks to Randeep Ramesh

POP: Doing it their way

There always seems to be a band who are massive in the US charts but mean zilch over here.

GIG HIGHLIGHTS

CARLEEN ANDERSON

Music: Let the music speak for itself

They're the hottest act in the United States, with fans as obsessively loyal as the Dead Heads - but groovers and shakers don't want to know about the Dave Matthews Band.

Comedy: Irrera today, gone tomorrow

Dom Irrera (right), the top American stand-up, is talking to me while in the middle of his world-tour. He's in Auckland, 13 hours ahead of us. "Let me tell you something about the future. I'm there."

Places: Cinema Fumee

NEXT THURSDAY sees Cinema Fumee, in conjunction with XFM, launch their latest offensive against the scourge of the sterile multiplex, as they host the UK premiere of Liar, at the Shepherd's Bush Empire. The directorial debut of Joshua and Jonas Pate is a psychological thriller starring Tim Roth, and will be shown on a huge 35ft screen with a rock gig sound system. The live music intermission is provided by High Fidelity, but once again the main attraction for Fumee's following of movie mavericks is the freedom to smoke tabs, drink pints and masticate in a darkened corner without fear of ejection.

Pop: Sweet and loving man

Apart from that delicious smile, there is one characteristic Finley Quaye has carried with himself - probably since he was a nipper and that's a sense of restlessness. As a child he grew used to shifting from one relation to another, and as a musician his funkadelic-Marley-pop-hippy cocktail in album Maverick a Strike showed riotous dissatisfaction with the conforms of any stylistic genre.

Good Venue Guide 24: SHEPHERD'S BUSH EMPIRE, W12

Date of birth: 1902.

Pop: Hick-hop pioneer

Jim White (not his real name) has transmuted his bizarre and unsettling life experiences into a hip, postmodern style of country music. Tim Perry talks to him

Pop: Mutton to write home about

Affecting, intelligent rock with a twist - that's the mark of New Zealand's Mutton Birds. They're just about to embark on a British tour before returning to NZ to record their fourth album

Having a spliffing time

Howard Marks was a man most wanted. He still is. But not for his drug-running activities. He's the biggest draw in town, as James Rampton discovered, with the launch of his one-man show, in which he reads extracts from his book and talks about his notorious lifestyle.

Pop: Live - Too hip for berks

Stereolab Shepherd's Bush Empire, London
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