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Picks for the week of August 6-12, 2008

Thursday Aug. 7
Oracle Arena
7000 Coliseum Way

106 KMEL Block Party

THE KMEL Block Party is basically an all-star lineup of R&B A-listers, from headliner Ashanti to openers Lloyd, Ne-Yo and Trey Songz. Oh, and for the rap lovers in the audience, the show also boasts a performance by Miami big man Rick Ross, whose hit single "Hustlin'" has become a veritable theme song to Bay Area audiences. As for Ashanti, little needs to be said of the diva who blasted her way to the top of the charts in 2002 after previous stints singing backup for rappers Ja Rule, Fat Joe and even Notorious B.I.G. Her first solo hit was "Foolish," a song that caught fire on radio waves across the world, eventually landing her on magazine covers and in iPods everywhere.

Steel Pulse
Sunday Aug. 10
Nickel City Arcade
1711 Branham Ave
San Jose

The Phenomenauts

THE PHENOMENAUTS claim the title of "world's bravest space band," and with David Bowie well past his prime, who are we to argue? They drive around in the Phenomebomber, which looks like a cross between the Death Star and a van, and they dazzle audiences with sophisticated gadgets like the Streamerator 2000, which fires ribbons of toilet paper into the crowd, and the Therematic Helmerator, which is essentially a theremin mounted on the bassist's head. But their primary activity is playing a combination of rockabilly and '70s punk. Vic Ruggiero from the Slackers, Kepi Ghoulie: the Band and others also perform.

Saturday Aug. 9
The Blank Club
44 S. Almaden Ave
San Jose

Wayne 'The Train' Hancock

WAYNE "The Train" Hancock sometimes draws comparisons to Hank Williams III, and it's no wonder; H3 has recorded more than one of Hancock's songs. The 43-year-old country swinger hails from Austin, Texas, and has perfecting his old juke joint shtick since 1995. Give him a chance in the saddle—you won't regret it. Local alt-country rockers Careless Hearts also perform.

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