.Hit List: Best Music, Art & Culture Dec 28-Jan 3

What a year. It’d be easy to wallow and drip tears into an IPA, wail a sad song into a shot of whiskey, lament those we’ve lost and wring our hands in dread of what’s to come. Or we could drink a warm glass of shut-the-hell-up and put on a happy face. We’re here to help. Check out our NYE 2017 guide for a list of parties and ball-drops all over Silicon Valley. And to get warmed up for the big night, here are a few more events to add to your calendar: WAR at the City National Civic, The Devil Makes Three at The Catalyst, and Gabriel Iglesias.
WAR & Con Brio
Thu, 8pm, $30+
City National Civic, San Jose
Like fine wine some bands just get better with age. The legendary band WAR rolls their hard funk artillery into town for the final leg of their national WAR is Music tour. Celebrating the international release of their entire catalogue with Sony and their top-selling compilation album Icon, WAR is determined to bring the house down. Along for the ride is special guest Con Brio. Formed in 2013, Con Brio is the talented offspring of seven local musicians who share a passion for the diverse funkadelic Bay Area scene. It promises to be an epic night for longtime fans and an opportunity to see the passing of the torch. (JT)

Snow Sessions
Thu, 8pm, $25
The Catalyst, Santa Cruz
Christmas is coming just a few days late for local hip-hop heads, as The Catalyst has one hell of a cypher planned this Thursday. Snow Sessions features a cadre of Bay Area underground hip-hop legends. Headliners include Del The Funky Homosapien—of Hieroglyphics and Deltron 3030—Yukmouth of The Luniz, and the inimitable Andre Nickatina. Also on the bill: Chali 2na A-Plus, Amp Live and San Jose’s very own Traxamillion, who had a very busy 2016—releasing his own full length, The Trapp Addict, and curating a mixtape of top San Jose talent, The Tech Boom. (NV)

El Guapo
Fri, 9pm, Free
Caravan Lounge, San Jose
Dealing out spastic bursts of heavy guitars and lively drums, the short bio on El Guapo’s Facebook page goes a long way toward explaining their aesthetic: “We were sent here by the gods of rock to destroy cities and melt faces.” Indeed. Formerly known as The Red Phantom, this San Jose experimental metal outfit bring the heat on their monstrous full-length Bandcamp release, Whips Chains Whistles Yo​-​yo’s, Dracula Riding Around on a Tricycle Giving me the Finger—which thrashes and bashes its way through nine Tera Melos-esque instrumental assaults, all punctuated by horror flick audio samples. (NV)
Whips Chains Whistles Yo-yo’s, Dracula Riding Around on a Tricycle Giving me the Finger by El Guapo
The Devil Makes Three
Fri, 8pm, $30
The Catalyst, Santa Cruz
Over the course of their nearly 15 years togethers, Santa Cruz alt-Americana trio The Devil Makes Three have developed a brooding, rootsy sound—reminiscent of the kind of music Lead Belly and Hank III might make while holed up in some dimly lit roadhouse in the middle of nowhere, drinking warm whiskey and reminiscing about their bad old days. The group released its eighth full-length album—Redemption & Ruin—in September. This two night homecoming show (Friday and Saturday) is already sold out, but Craigslist users and crafty locals can surely figure out a way to get in. (NV)

Verbal Abuse
Fri, 8pm, $10-$13
The Ritz, San Jose
They say that hardcore will never die. Judging from the 35-year career of Houston punks Verbal Abuse, that may be true. Verbal Abuse was born at the vanguard of the hardcore punk movement in 1981. Fifteen years later in 1996, the band was the beneficiary of an unexpected surge in interest after Slayer released a covers album featuring a handful of Verbal Abuse tracks, which the seminal SoCal thrash metal band identified as being highly influential in the development of their own sound. The group is in the process of tracking a new record, slated for release in 2017. (NV)

The Spazmatics
Fri, 9:30pm, Free
The Almaden Brit, San Jose
These Bay Area geeks proudly cling to the ’80s—sporting helmets and neck braces, Revenge of the Nerds-style, while playing new wave and hair metal hits. The Spazmatics make a point of knowing their favorite subject—rock & roll—backward and forward. In live fan videos posted on YouTube, the Spazmatics’ lead guitarist, Wayne, pulls off every Brian May lead during “Bohemian Rhapsody,” note for note. If you haven’t heard “Come on Eileen” in a while, or if you want to see someone dressed up like a tennis player nail Slash’s solos in “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” you won’t want to miss this show. (TC)
Spiller & The Frenzys
Fri, 7:30pm, $10
Art Boutiki, San Jose
The boys from Spiller draw from many disparate influences to craft their harmonically rich indie pop sound. On “I’m Sorry But Not That Much,” from their April 2016 release, the Tiny EP, the Oregon-based quartet sandwich bright ska upstrokes between noodly emo-math melodies, funky chicka-chickas and rapid, rolling, punk-rock drumming. Then, on “Happy Songs Sound Sad,” they slow things down with a stripped-down beat and a spiraling guitar line before launching into a jazzy, finger-tapped bridge. Opening the show is San Jose’s self-described “garage-funk” trio, The Frenzys. (NV)
Gabriel Iglesias
Sat-Sun, $100
The Improv, San Jose
It’s been a long year. Laugh 2016 off at one of three sets from veteran comedian Gabriel Iglesias. Easily one of the biggest Latino comedians on the scene today, Iglesias (a.k.a. Fluffy) has been performing since the mid-’90s, where he first made a name for himself on the Los Angeles stand-up scene. He is known for deploying silly voices and sound effects in his act—a talent which he’s spun into multiple voice acting roles in animated films, including Disney’s Planes and The Nut Job. He currently stars in his own reality TV show on Fuse, Fluffy Breaks Even. (NV)

Farewell, Johnny V’s
Tue, 9pm, Free
Caravan Lounge, San Jose
Many a teetotaler may have rejoiced when Johnny V’s abruptly shut its doors for good on Dec. 7. But far more lamented the bar’s closing. After all, the long-running San Jose dive was an institution on the local music scene. In addition to pouring cheap, stiff drinks, Johnny V’s hosted DJs, shows and karaoke most nights of the week. Johnny Van Wyk says bureaucratic red tape surrounding the renewal of his liquor license was to blame. Whatever the case, it’s the end of an era and the good folks over at The Caravan are throwing the bar a going away party. Cheers! (NV)


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