.Hit List: Best Music, Art & Culture Mar 29-Apr 4

From the twangy, country-boy prosperity gospel of Chris Janson—whose “Buy Me A Boat” has more than 50 million views on YouTube—to the reserved and sobering Americana of Vikesh Kapoor, this week’s Metroactive newsletter is packed to the brim with promising young musicians. If hip-hop and soul are your thing, you’ll definitely want to check out Fool’s Day Function at Aura Lounge—hosted by Thatfool Al of Westacy Entertainment and E-40 collaborator DJ Sane, and featuring Nu Ethnic, a San Jose trio who blend modern rock sensibility with a neo-soul vibe, and the ascendant, BAMN-affiliated Andrew Bigs.
Chris Janson
Wed, 7pm, $15+
Club Rodeo, San Jose
Hip-hop isn’t the only genre that’s figured out just how fun a clever prosperity-gospel tune full of choice product placements can be. Chris Janson’s “Buy Me A Boat”—featuring a rip-roaring chorus about the power of cold hard cash—has racked up more than 50 million views on YouTube. “I ain’t rich, but I damn sure wanna be,” the Missouri-born songwriter sings on the track. The conclusion is clear: money might not be able to buy happiness, but it can sure as hell buy a boat, a truck to pull it, and a brand-name ice chest full of “silver bullets.” (NV)

The Naked Magicians
Wed, 7:30pm, $55+
California Theatre, San Jose
They say illusions are accomplished by distracting the audience. Some performers deploy misdirection, others rely on a stunning assistant. The Naked Magicians have a different approach. With the wave of a wand and an “abracadabra”—poof!—their clothes are gone. Australian performers Christopher Wayne and Mike Tyler conjure up cackles all over the globe with their revealing and decidedly R-rated routine, which mixes comedy, magic and plenty of skin. Already big Down Under (heh…) and in the U.K., Wayne and Tyler are bringing their bare-assed act to the States. (VS)

Whiskies of the World
Thu, 6pm, $80
Forager, San Jose
In this benefit for Casa Círculo Cultural—a nonprofit focused on fostering cultural spaces in the local Latin American community—participants will drink some of the world’s finest whiskeys for a good good cause. Whiskey makers and their brand ambassadors will be on hand to walk tipplers through the tasting process, explaining how their products are made and how to identify all the intricacies of world-class bourbon, scotch and whiskey. The event, originally slated to take place at GlassHouse, has been moved to the SoFA District’s newest sipping spot—Forager Tasting Room and Eatery. (NV)
Harry Potter + Symphony SV
Fri, 8pm, $111+
San Jose Center for Performing Arts
Featuring soaring cars, invisible cloaks, mysterious house elves and talking snakes, this is no place for muggles. Relive the mystical and wondrous tale of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets backed by a live orchestra. Watch as Harry, Ron and Hermione return for their second year at Hogwarts while the Symphony Silicon Valley recreates John Williams’ score below the big screen. Watch the symphony move through gentle themes into the climactic finale—the battle between Harry and the dreaded Basilisk, summoned by he who must not be named. (VS)
Fool’s Day Function
Fri, 8:30pm, $10
Aura Nightclub, San Jose
On the eve of the trickster’s holiday, a Fool’s Day Function brings together a diverse assortment of local artists—including a North Bay rapper and a South Bay alt-R&B group. In all, eight performers will take the stage, while hosts Thatfool Al of Westacy Entertainment and E-40 collaborator DJ Sane work to keep the crowd going dumb. Topping the bill is Nu Ethnic, a San Jose trio who blend modern rock sensibility with a neo-soul vibe. Also rocking the mic is the BAMN-affiliated Andrew Bigs, an East Side emcee who sneaks heft into his humorous flows, which he spits over jazzy beats. (DSJ)

An Office Space Odyssey
Fri, 8pm, $10
American Improv Theatre, San Jose
Enjoy the best night of the week—Friday—by laughing at yourself and all the rest of the poor cubicle jockeys who punch the clock at a soul-sucking job. The American Improv Theatre’s sketch group, Black Cat Comedy, presents “An Office Space Odyssey.” This comedic sojourn through the absurdity and banality of the modern white-collar wasteland, focuses on the young professionals’ perpetual struggle to gain a foothold on the lower rungs of the corporate ladder. Founded by performer and instructor Alan Kaatz in 2015, the Black Cat Comedy sketch group has made a name for itself producing original works by Bay Area. (NV)
Vikesh Kapoor
Sat, 10pm, $20
Bing Concert Hall Studio, Stanford
His decidedly Eastern name might not conjure images of the stereotypical American blue collar worker. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that folk balladeer Vikesh Kapoor is drawn to the stories of despair now rising like a black pall from the ruins of company towns all over the Rust Belt and throughout Appalachia. And though the very inhabitants of those dwindling industrial outposts—long undercut by outsourcing and automation—might blame someone like Kapoor for their plight, his acclaimed 2013 debut LP, The Ballad of Willy Robbins seems prescient in 2017. With haunting harmonica and a Dylan-esque cadence, Kapoor weaves spectral tales of love and loss in small-town America. (NV)
The Ballad Of Willy Robbins by VIKESH KAPOOR
The Browning
Sun, 6:30pm, $12+
The District Theatre, Gilroy
Even before Skrillex began collaborating with the likes of Korn, music critics have observed the crossover appeal between his brand of maximalist EDM and heavy metal. The grinding, fax-machine-death and wuba-wub-wubs of his bass-heavy drops recall the alternating chuga-chuga-to-screeching-harmonic breakdowns of metalcore. Viewed from this vantage the pummeling “electronicore” of Kansas City-based The Browning makes perfect sense. It’s perfect for fueling the pit and raising a riotous chorus of fist pumps from the crowd. Like the industrial metal heavyweights Fear Factory before them, The Browning merge glitchy drum machines and haunting synth patches with punishing riffs and aggro blast beats. (NV)

Tue, 8pm, Free
The Caravan Lounge, San Jose
He’s big in Russia—like, opening up for Twenty One Pilots big. Nikolay Stravinsky was born in a small town by the Volga River, Ulyanovsk, the birthplace of Vladimir Lenin. After moving to Moscow and studying music, he played in Tarakany!, one of the first Russian punk bands to emerge from the newly formed Russian Federation in the early ’90s. These days he writes, records and performs as Selfieman. Literally a one-man band, Stravinsky is practiced at building songs live with the help of a looping station and a bevy of instruments, from keyboards to guitars to drums. He is now working to break out in the States with his new English-language album Relative Time. (NV)


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