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Picks for the week of February 7-March 4, 2008

Saturday March 1
1011 Pacific Ave.
Santa Cruz

Dead Prez

WHEN Dead Prez erupted onto the hip-hop scene in 2000 with Let's Get Free, many rap fans were taken completely by surprise. Here were two previously undiscovered MCs who had almost perfectly woven together the gangsta rap tradition popularized by NWA, Tupac and Notorious BIG, with the "fuck whitey" revolutionary aesthetic of Lost Poets, Public Enemy and the Coup. Since that flawless debut album, Dead Prez has put out a string of inferior releases, but the members' desire to funnel the anger of disenfranchised urban blacks into violent political action has never let up. Their live shows are cathartic, high-energy events, so bring along that repressed spite for the white-supremacist oligarchy.

Steel Pulse
Friday Feb. 29
420 S. First St
San Jose

My Monster

MONSTER ownership is rarely a successful endeavor, mostly on account of monsters being mean and murderous. But San Jose's My Monster embody the kind you'd like to own—a bit edgy and dangerous, but altogether more agreeable than their rampaging screamo contemporaries. With an emphasis on male/female vocal harmonies and melodic, hard-rocking arrangements, My Monster can go wherever you go, but this Friday they'll be at South First Billiards alongside Europa and the Atomic Love Bombs.

Steel Pulse
hursday Feb. 28
Little Fox
500 Castro St
Redwood City

3 Leg Torso

THE TERM "chamber music" often brings to mind stuffy concert halls, starched collars and bores who consider themselves paragons of refinement and restraint. This is not quite an accurate association for 3 Leg Torso, a self-declared chamber music outfit that indulges in the type of stylistic polyamory that would scandalize the chamber recital crowd. The quintet effortlessly blends chamber music with tango, klezmer, Latin jazz and African folk forms, aiming for a vision of classical music that ignores the Western restraints of the genre and is worldwide in its scope. Maybe it's the players' street performer backgrounds that give 3 Leg Torso's music a certain scrappiness, but no matter what informs the band's unprejudiced musical vision, it undoubtedly turns conventions on their ear in thrilling manner.

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