The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley, weekend of Jan. 19-21

Jamaican reggae MC Prezident Brown, who performs at Ashkenaz on Saturday. Photo: Jérôme Bandin

PREZIDENT BROWN Prezident Brown, who is performing at Ashkenaz on Saturday, is the reigning Jamaican reggae M.C., a champion of the new roots and reality consciousness, with a message that is pure Rasta conscious vibes, from the spiritual “To Jah Only” through his more recent “Do Thy Work.” He is an artist driven by a sense of mission and purpose that, he likes to say, “edutains” (heightens the consciousness of listeners) as much as entertains. According to JamBase, “A distinct and powerful stage presence, a Prezident Brown show is a transcendent spiritual movement that leaves audiences satiated, sweaty and smiling.” Saturday, Jan. 20, 9:30 p.m., Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave.

PROTEST VIDEO Berkeley High grad Ron Deuce is now an artist in Los Angeles. On Friday night at San Pablo Park, he will be staging a protest and music video highlighting the injustice of black men, racial profiling, and inequality. Here’s Da’Ron’s message: “We will have picket signs, shirts made, and overall, a positive impact on the community and what is going on in the world. Let your voice be heard.” If you want to participate, the instruction is to wear all black. Friday, Jan. 19, 6 p.m., San Pablo Park.

HOT RIZE Legendary modern bluegrass band Hot Rize is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. Featuring Tim O’Brien on fiddle and mandolin, Pete Wernick on banjo, Nick Forster on bass, and Bryan Sutton on guitar, the Grammy-nominated, IBMA award-winning group continues to trailblaze new paths for the genre. It will be performing on Saturday night at the Freight, with Scroggins and Rose as a support act. Doors open extra early at 6 p.m. to accommodate a pre-show reception with light refreshments to kick off the 50th anniversary year of the Freight. Saturday, Jan. 20, 8 p.m., Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison St.

CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND Here’s the pitch: “For those unfamiliar – close your eyes and imagine the Rolling Stones… now picture a runaway freight train ramming the Stones through a mushroom-clouded prism of psychedelia. That sound is the Chocolate Watchband.” Bay Area psych-garage outfit The Chocolate Watchband present a unique, one-off performance for aficionados and fans at the Art House in Berkeley on Friday night. The Watchband will perform two sets of specially selected material spanning their vintage catalogue, with an intermission during which members will share career anecdotes and take questions from the audience. Visuals provided by Mad Alchemy Lights for a “truly memorable psychedelic soiree.” Friday, Jan. 19, 8 p.m., Art House Gallery & Cultural Center, 2905 Shattuck Ave.

BIG WIDE GRIN The bi-coastal duo of Elaine Dempsey and Karl Werne – who combine to form Big Wide Grin – bring diverse backgrounds, an array of instruments, award-winning songwriting, and a positive message together to form a rich blend of character and harmony. Big Wide Grin performs at The Back Room on Saturday. The duo have shared the stage with artists such as Bruce Hornsby, Tim Reynolds, Janis Ian, Harriett Schock, Lowen & Navarro, Richie Havens, and toured with legendary blues man Keb’ Mo’. Saturday, Jan. 20, 8 p.m., The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave.

Don’t miss these other events covered on Berkeleyside:

Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Memories of Underdevelopment’
Jenny Holland brings her Secret World to The Back Room in Berkeley