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Picks for the week of February March 19-26, 2008

Saturday March 22
Branham High School
1570 Branham Lane
San Jose

The Slants

PORTLAND-based Asian dance-punk outfit the Slants bring their quirky electropop to Seito ChibiCon, a high school anime convention. The quintet is led by ex-Stivs frontman Simon Young, who formed the Slants based on a love for synth-driven rock & roll and all things Asian. Though they've only been together for less than a year, the Slants have amassed quite a following and sparked rave reviews from a handful of local and national publications. Immediate reactions to the band weren't all positive, however, as some circles took offense to the band's potentially derogatory name and lyrical content. But the Slants maintain there's nothing offensive about their name or their lyrics; in fact, they take great pride in defying stereotypes and creating positive messages for Asian Americans. Says Young, "We're saying to the world, 'We're proud of who we are, and we aren't going to hide it.'"

Steel Pulse
Wednesday March 19
The Fillmore
1805 Geary,
San Francisco

The Black Crowes

TO BE perfectly honest, I haven't noticed the Black Crowes since the release of Amorica, which was notable for its cover: a crotch shot of a woman wearing American flag underwear that didn't fully conceal her pubic hair. Amorica was their third album, a flop compared to 1990's Shake Your Money Maker and their strong second showing in '92, The Southern Harmony and Music Companion. It was on those two albums that the Black Crowes proved that blues rock was much more than a quaint and trashy relic. Lead vocalist and outspoken marijuana advocate Chris Robinson is still an inimitable vocal stylist and performer, shaming most rock singers and lots of R&B and gospel ones to boot. Combine his voice with the band's Southern-fried, roadhouse-friendly rock and you've got yourself a recipe to charm the panties off the ladies, e.g. Kate Hudson. The band tours in support of its latest, Warpaint.

Steel Pulse
Saturday March 22
San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
255 Almaden Blvd
San Jose

Night of the Champions 2

THE BIGGEST NAMES in Filipino pop music will converge for the second installment of Night of the Champions. Last year's sold-out event was quite a hit with San Jose fans, so the demand was huge for this year's show. Performers will include Sarah Geronimo, who won the coveted Pinoy Idol competition at the age of 16. Her aptly titled debut album, Pop Star, went quintuple platinum, which few could have known was even possible. Joining Geronimo is singer/actor Mark Bautista, Rachel Ann Go and Christian Bautista.

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