KANYE WEST may have one of the biggest egos on the planet, but he's also one of the planet's best hip-hop artists (though it should be noted that his newest album, Graduation, is not his best). Ironically, one of his biggest strengths as a rapper is his good humor and willingness to point out his own flaws, all of which he does in a weirdly conversational (as opposed to confrontational) style. But he's also a uniquely talented producer, which is probably why he's so high on himself, being the total package and all. And there we go again talking about Kanye's package again even though we swore we wouldn't. Curse you, Mr. West!
Saturday April 19
The Blank Club
44 S. Almaden Ave.
BUILDING utterly colossal walls of amplification, two-piece metal outfit Jucifer practically beg audiences to demolish their shows with wrecking balls of headbanging. Debuting as a duo in 1994, southeast natives Amber Valentine and Edger Livengood are on an international tour promoting their intense double album, L'autrichienne, released March of 2008. Onstage they are a relentlessly loud onslaught of metallic goth crunk, sans bass player and unallegiant to any specific scene. The Atomic Love Bombs and Bloomfield Underground open.
Sunday April 20
Hot Jazz Extravaganza
WALKING DRUM MACHINE Wally Schnalle joins forces with guitarist Jeff Masannari and vocalist Wendy Waller for the Hot Jazz Extravaganza, an event that not only features names with lots of W's (wonder what Masannari's middle name is?), but also promises to be an exciting exhibition of local jazz-mastery. Masannari, who plays in the Wally Schnalle Quartet when he's not off cutting solo records, is recognized as one of the Bay Area's preeminent jazz guitarists, garnering praise from legends Mike Stern and Eric Johnson. Waller's crossover vocal style incorporates everyone from Aretha Franklin to Bonnie Raitt, and Schnalle, well, he's a human drumstick, playing in his band, teaching lessons and even working as the editor of DRUM! magazine.