The Roots have been such a mainstay on late-night TV that it's easy to forget they were once stars of the touring circuit as the world's greatest live hip-hop band. If you're among the many who sigh when they see the group's fiery, erudite MC Black Thought relegated to the sidelines on Jimmy Kimmel, then get thee to the Fox, where the Roots' legendary live show lands this week. Whether running through one of their legendary "Hip-Hop 101" medleys or picking hits from a career of solid studio albums, there's no mistaking the band's skill in a genre dominated by DJs. Details and ticket information here.
Loose in Some Real Tropics
In 1969, in a historic intersection of space travel and modern art, NASA invited American artist Robert Rauchenberg to visit the launch of Apollo 11, the first manned space flight to the moon. At Cape Canaveral, Rauchenberg was given free reign to visit NASA's facilities, with only one directive: to interpret the moment in his work. Having collected over 20 lithographs, collages and drawings, the Cantor presents this rare work together for the first time in an American museum. Photos of Rauchenberg at the Kennedy Space Center and other accounts of the time round out the exhibition. Details here.
Christian McBride Trio
At 41, jazz bassist Christian McBride has done it all. He's played with Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall, Chick Corea and many, many others. He's led a big band in award-winning albums and performances. He's even strapped on the electric bass for his fusion quintet, Inside Straight. Now, as the year winds down, McBride returns to the basics of a classic piano trio. At the keys is Christian Sands, an inventive player who can swing from standards to blues and back, while Ulysses Owens holds down the drums. Details and ticket information here.
Camper Van Beethoven & Cracker
In what's now an annual tradition, the UC Santa Cruz alumni David Lowery brings his two bands, Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, back to the Bay Area for an end-of-the-year residency. Cracker's new double album Berkeley to Bakersfield drops plenty of Bay Area references, from Rasputin’s to People’s Park, and Camper Van Beethoven always bring back memorable hits like "Take the Skinheads Bowling" and "Pictures of Matchstick Men." Expect a fun-loving, retro crowd—and maybe even a little bit of Spotify criticism.
Details and ticket information here.
A large man with an endearing lisp, Ron Funches is a one-of-a-kind comedian: he takes the manic style of the greats and flips it and reverses it, until the long silences between his surreal stories eventually turn into their own jokes. At the Punchline, Funches appears with Nick Youssef, another Southern California comedian who can take a simple thing like Marcy Playground’s innocuous 1990s hit song “Sex and Candy” and weave it into a spiel on the perils of aging. Together, they guide the crowd through the post-Holiday hangover. Details and ticket information here.