FUNNY (?) MAN
Conan said it best: “You can do anything you want in life – unless Jay Leno wants to do it, too.” Right now, all Jay Leno wants to do is stand-up (hope that wasn’t your career choice, kids). After becoming increasingly unfunny on his show over the past decade, suffering an embarrassing 2010 late-night TV fiasco with Conan O’Brien, and finally handing over Late Night to Jimmy Fallon, Leno’s back on stage, performing a brand of comedy your mom thinks is hilarious. 8 p.m. March 27 at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.
EAST COAST RAP
The grimmest, most spine-shivering strain of East Coast rap history still belongs solely to Mobb Deep. On 1995’s The Infamous, Queensbridge MCs Prodigy and Havoc combined gritty, hyper-realistic tales of treacherous street life with stark and bleak yet subtly elegant beats – a hip-hop blueprint often imitated but never matched. After a Twitter-fueled 2012 beef, the two made up in 2013, announced a new double album (out April 1) and embarked on a national tour that’ll thrill those who grew up on black-hearted street anthems like “Shook Ones, Pt. II.” 8 p.m. April 2 at Underbelly, Downtown, $20-$22.
Save the fairground big tickets for the tourists; Nobby’s – that puny St. Augustine dive bar that doesn’t even have a stage – hosts 47 bands (!) over four nights during Nobfest 3. While previous editions of Nobfest were organized by genre each day, bands this go-’round follow no discernable order – there’s nearly every conceivable rock-and-roll variation. Wet Nurse – a lewd, Orlando garage pop trio whose set sounds like (and may induce) one big sugar-high – plays before Permanent Makeup, the trippy, psychedelic act from Tampa. And so on. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. March 27, 5 p.m.-1 a.m. March 28, 2 p.m. -1 a.m. March 29 and noon-1 a.m. March 30 at Shanghai Nobby’s, St. Augustine, $5-$35.
PROTEST THE HERO
Amid waves of sketchy Canadian musicians who migrate here (have we deported Beebs yet?), we also keep the borders open for bands like Protest the Hero. The prog metal act’s most recent (and first crowdfunded) release, Volition, is an intricately layered album that demands to be heard in one sitting. Vocalist Rody Walker has taken over lyric-writing from bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi, and the set-to-song prose is drastically more direct – though less ambitious – than earlier efforts. 6 p.m. March 28 at Jack Rabbits, San Marco, $18.
A RAISIN IN THE SUN
The 1950s African-American experience was a struggle to overcome oppressive elements in a segregated society masked by its own self-righteous justifications. A Raisin in the Sun captures this struggle through the perspective of the Youngers, a black family in Chicago striving to escape a deteriorating life. When the idea of moving to a suburb meets resistance from the white neighbors, the Youngers’ personal values and loyalty are tested. Presented by Stage Aurora Theatrical Company, the actors’ powerful performances illustrate the characters’ moral compromises made trying to establish their own identities. The compelling writing of Lorraine Hansberry (pictured), Broadway’s first black female writer, offers a glimpse into a faded but not forgotten past. 7 p.m. March 28, 6 p.m. March 29 and April 6, 3 p.m. March 30 and April 6 at Stage Aurora Performance Hall, Northside, $15-$20.
SPIN THE BLACK CIRCLE
ST. AUGUSTINE RECORD FAIR
CDs are the coasters of the future. (And, well, the future is now.) Vinyl is forever, much more than a resurgent fad, more than just 20th-century nostalgia. What analogue lacks in audiological perfection, it more than makes up for in warmth – which is why records are still the favorite of audiophiles everywhere. At this Record Fair, dealers from all over hawk posters, collectibles, turntable supplies and plenty of new and used memorabilia. Noon March 30, St. Augustine Amphitheatre, free admission.