It’s a testament to the power of music that when the word “war” is typed into Google, two Wikipedia entrees lead the results: one about the ages-long conflicts between states “generally characterized by extreme violence”; and one describing “an American funk band from California known for the hit songs ‘Low Rider,’ ‘Spill the Wine,’ ‘Summer,’ ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends’ ... .”
There is little doubt that the latter definition has brought more joy to people than the first ever since producer Jerry Goldstein saw some guys playing at a bar in the San Fernando Valley in the late ’60s. Goldstein knew Eric Burdon of the Animals and also knew Burdon was about to leave the states and return to his native Newcastle. He called Burdon and persuaded him to check out the band the next night. Burdon loved the music so much he jumped onstage and joined them. It didn’t seem to matter that the players were so new and non-mainstream that they had never heard of Burdon.
The sentence “Let’s go to War” took on a whole new meaning after the group named itself, and people will have the opportunity to do just that Friday at Thunder Valley. (8 p.m.; $39.75, $49.75; thundervalleyresort.com)
▪ More classic rock is available at Harrah’s Tahoe on Saturday. The Unauthorized Rolling Stones may be just a cover band but their sound is spot on and their ticket prices are certainly more reasonable. (7:30 p.m.; $22; Ticketmaster)
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▪ Can dance and high-tech surveillance combine to make art? A newly formed Lake Tahoe Dance Collective intends to explore that subject Saturday in “The Other Sight” at the Tahoe Art Haus and Cinema in Tahoe City. The event will also feature a short film and a Q&A session with artists and technologists. (7 p.m.; $23; laketahoedancecollective.org)
▪ Lewis Black has never been one to take the world, or its follies, lightly. His rage on stage is often so strong that it seems as if he might cause himself to seizure. It is probably all an act, but one can never be entirely sure. He has new material to chew on and spit out with a new election cycle beginning, but he’ll be OK if he follows his own advice and takes a daily nap “to store up energy for the evening.” He’s at the MontBleu on Friday. (9 p.m.; $45.50, $55.50; Ticketmaster)
▪ Cache Creek describes Saturday’s headliner as “400 pounds of sexiness.” That can only be comedian Ralphie May who doesn’t spend a whole lot of his show talking about his weight. He has other, more interesting topics to discuss, such as his recent trip to Colorado, which sparked some headlines about marijuana and his performance. (8 p.m. $39, $49; cachecreek.com)
▪ Two more rock shows worth checking out: English Beat at Lake Tahoe Hard Rock’s new venue, Vinyl, Saturday (9 p.m.; $25, $35; hardrockcasinolaketahoe.com); and John Popper and gang, Blues Traveler, at Jackson Rancheria tonight (7 p.m.; $30, $40, $50; jacksoncasino.com).