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Picks for the week of October 31-November 6, 2007

Saturday Nov. 3
Rio Theatre
1205 Soquel Ave
Santa Cruz

Architecture in Helsinki

IT'S NO WONDER: David Byrne is such a big fan of Architecture in Helsinki. The Talking Heads' influence is more than apparent when listening to AiH's ridiculous-yet-intelligent songs. AiH draws from a wide range of instruments, including glockenspiels and recorders. Adding analog synthesizers to the mix creates a unique sound as quirky as it is danceable. The band started out as a musical collective in Melbourne, Australia, but AiH's Cameron Bird felt the need to go somewhere new and landed in Brooklyn, NY, while the rest of the band stayed down under. This made recording their most recent album, Places Like This, a very unusual experience. When they come together to play live, the energy rises to a level of zaniness that leaves audiences mentally and physically exhausted upon exit, but happy-yes, very happy.

Friday Nov. 2
SJSU Event Center
290 S. Seventh St
San Jose

Same old alt rock

Brand New: THEY'RE CALLED Brand New, but if there's anything particularly novel about the Long Island quartet, it's not inherently evident in their music. Not unlike many of their rock & roll brethren signed to the Interscope label, including +44, AFI and Jimmy Eat World, Brand New emits an emo-tinged alt-rock sound mixed with an appealing waft of pop-punk energy. Their latest album, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, shows a more sophisticated side of the band, delving into a wider and often darker range of artistic nuances. Now on the West Coast leg of their sold-out tour in support of the 2006 release, Brand New are justifying Interscope's conservative tendency to stick with artists that sell (see also: 50 Cent).

Steel Pulse
Sunday Nov. 4
HP Pavilion
525 W. Santa Clara St.

Miley Cyrus

LOOK OUT: Britney, there's a new star in town. Queen of the super-teeny-bops Miley Cyrus brings her Hannah Montana act to the HP Pavilion Sunday night, as 14-year-olds everywhere are at this moment begging their parents to "take me, pleeeeeaase." Assuming that all the little princesses have long known about the show (AIM, duh), here's a message for the parents: just let her go. Think of it as an early Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa present if you must, but the months of whining you'll be subjected to if you say no will surely wear through your skull, compromising both your sanity and your marriage. So fork out the outrageous ticket fees, gas-up the minivan, bring some earplugs, and just remember that you're doing this for the whole family.

Steel Pulse
Sunday Nov. 4
Santa Cruz Civic
307 Church St., Santa Cruz

Ravi Shankar

Festival of India: "I have come to think that sound is god," Ravi Shankar wrote in the liner notes of Ravi Shankar at the Monterey International Pop Festival. Indeed if sound is god, then Shankar has long been a high priest. Phillip Glass, Menuhin and John Coltrane (who called his son Ravi) considered him a teacher. George Harrison had met him and soon became his student, bringing the Beatles to India, triggering a decade-long embrace of all things Indian by the hippies of that generation. Now 87 years old, in a tour that took him earlier this month to a sold-out concert in Carnegie Hall, Ravi Shankar performs at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium with his daughter, Anoushka Shankar. Ravi has taught Anoushka within the exacting guru-shishya relationship. Like her father, she has fearlessly taken classical Indian music to a new generation of audiences, fusing Indian and electronic music for her Grammy-nominated CD, Rise, and her 2007 release, Breathing Under Water, on which her half-sister, Ravi's daughter Norah Jones, is a guest artist.this for the whole family.

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