1 GUITAR FEST LIVE: Larry Carlton might be one of the best guitarists you've never heard of, having garnered enormous cred in the music business working as a session musician for artists ranging from Steely Dan (check out his solo on "Kid Charlemagne") to Joni Mitchell to Quincy Jones. He has amassed an impressive résumé despite losing considerable time after being shot in the throat at his Los Angeles studio in 1988. His perseverance is our gain. Carlton brings his trio to the Bankhead Theater in Livermore at 8 p.m. Sept. 15 as part of the annual Guitar Fest Live.
Details: $32-$55; 925-373-6800, www.mylvpac.com. Go to the website for more details on Guitar Fest, which also includes guitar legend Dave Mason on Sept. 22.
2 KENNY WASHINGTON: The jazz, soul and blues singer, who's known as a skillful and versatile interpreter as well as a world-class scatter, teams with saxophonist Michael O'Neill and his quintet for a concert at Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland. Proceeds benefit Berkeley's Jazzschool.
Details: 2 p.m. Sept. 16; $25; 510-845-5373; www.jazzschool.org.
3 "LUCKY STIFF": Walnut Creek's Center Repertory Company is proving it has a deft touch with wild comedies, and it's got a good one going now with "Lucky Stiff," an early and utterly wacky effort by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, the team that created "Ragtime."
4 HARMONICA BLUES BLOWOUT: East Bay bluesman Mark Hummel and his annual harpfest is a feast of Chicago-style blues of the highest order. The latest talent-rich lineup includes Hummel, Lee Oskar (of War), James Harman, Kenny Neal and many more.
5 CLOSE TO YOU -- A TRIBUTE TO THE CARPENTERS: It can't be easy fronting a Carpenters tribute band, given the late Karen Carpenter's iconic voice and crystalline delivery. West Coast singer Michelle Whited takes on the challenge in this act, and she's said to be stunningly close to the original.
Details: 8 p.m. Sept. 15; El Campanil Theatre, Antioch; $15-$27; 925-757-9500, www.elcampaniltheatre.com.
6 "THE PLAY ABOUT THE BABY": It's an Edward Albee piece, so you know "Baby" will be meaty, dark, shocking and viciously funny. The Pulitzer Prize-nominated work focuses on two couples fighting over -- you guessed it -- a baby and, of course, there's even more at stake in this war.
Details: Presented by Custom Made Theatre Company; through Oct. 7 at Gough Playhouse, San Francisco; $25-$32; www.custommade.org.
7 HOWIE DAY: The singer-songwriter-musician who broke out of the Boston coffeehouse folk-pop scene in the 1990s is known for his well-crafted alt-rock catalog and an intriguing live solo show in which he employs samplers, loop pedals and other devices to add layer after layer to his sound.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19; Firehouse Arts Center, Pleasanton; $12-$25; 925-931-4848, www.firehousearts.org.
8 ROXETTE: Few 1980s Europop bands, it seems, were more divisive than this Swedish act fronted by singer Marie Fredriksson and songwriter/instrumentalist Per Gessle. People either loved the duo's heavily wrought ballads such as "Listen to Your Heart" and "It Must Have Been Love" or cited them as proof that too much exposure to snow and cold causes shrill, pop music insanity. For fans, the good news is the band is about to play its first San Francisco show in 20 years.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14; Nob Hill Masonic Center; $45-$85; www.livenation.com.
9 IN THE TRADITION TRIO: The veteran Bay Area jazz-pop outfit consisting of pianist Bill Jackman, bassist Terry Hilliard and drummer Johnny Apperson presents a concert of classic tunes tied to the themes of autumn and Mexican Independence Day (which is Sept. 16). Proceeds benefit the nearly 40-year-old nonprofit Self-Help for the Elderly.
Details: 3 p.m. Sept. 16; Lincoln Court apartments, 2400 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland; $10; 510-336-0100.
10 "PLACAS -- THE MOST DANGEROUS TATTOO": San Francisco writer and performer Paul S. Flores penned this new play about a middle-aged gang leader, fresh out of prison, trying to piece his life together and prevent his mistakes from being carried forward by his son. The drama is a result of a joint artistic venture by San Francisco International Arts Festival, the Central American Resource Center and Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.
Details: 8 p.m. Sept. 13-15, 3 p.m. Sept. 16; Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, San Francisco; $13-$30; www.sfiaf.org.
Contact Randy McMullen at email@example.com.