John_Mayer_in_Cleveland pick.jpg
John Mayer - good guitar player, still a huge douchebag.
John Mayer, with Michael Franti & Spearhead. Key Arena, 305 Harrison St., 684-7200. 8 p.m.

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Tonight: John Mayer, RA Scion, The Fall of Troy's Last Show, The Paper Chase

John_Mayer_in_Cleveland pick.jpg
John Mayer - good guitar player, still a huge douchebag.
John Mayer, with Michael Franti & Spearhead. Key Arena, 305 Harrison St., 684-7200. 8 p.m. $33-$73. All ages. John Mayer recently gave a salacious interview with Playboy wherein he asserted, among other things, "My dick is sort of like a white supremacist," and casually dropped the n-bomb when asked whether he had a "hood pass." The public fallout from the interview thoroughly ridiculed Mayer and his eager, awkward grappling with his own celebrity. Because as much as he may fancy himself a rock star, Mayer's strength lies in acknowledging and indulging his delicate insecurity and soft-pop appeal. His latest album, Battle Studies, full of emotive ditties about regrets and heartaches, is exactly what fans adore about him and showcases the vulnerability it seems he's attempting to escape. Mayer is an exceptional guitar player, and his live show promises to deliver all that an adult contemporary arena affair should. The peanut gallery suggests, however, that Mayer take a cue from a man with a comparable style, Dave Matthews, and trade the L.A. arm candy and hubris for Birkenstocks and a stroll down Wallingford Ave. HOLLIS WONG-WEAR

RA Scion, with Graves 33, Jewels Hunter, Xperience, AudioPoet, Nathan Wolfe, DJ 100Proof. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $10. "I recognize the diminishing possibility of breaking into an industry driven and dominated by fresh, young talent," writes RA Scion, one of the city's most talented wordsmiths, on his website. It's the kind of admission/recognition that only comes with age, and though it has a melancholic flavor, there's a certain freedom involved in facing up to facts. And RA is about nothing but telling hard truths. He's best known for spitting complex, tangled lyrics over Sabzi's beats under the Common Market banner, of course. But tonight, one suspects he'll perform songs from Victor Shade, his side project with producer MTK. The two cuts that leaked online--"Soothsayer" and "Sway"--prior to the March 27 release date of the disc have a much more aggressive vibe than RA's work with Sabzi, proving that while RA may be getting older, he still has plenty of energy. KEVIN CAPP

The Fall of Troy, with Envy On The Coast, Twin Atlantic. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 7:30 p.m. $15. All ages. After nine years and four full-length albums - not to mention a level of commercial success that saw their songs featured in Guitar Hero and the soundtracks of other video games - the Mukilteo-based mathcore trio is calling it quits. Though there's no big explosion and no plan to stop making music, their "Marked Men of 2010" tour is also a celebratory farewell for the still-young bandmates. And while they're touring on their most-recent release In the Unlikely Event, it's really a catalogue stretching back to their debut material recorded at age 17. The band's technical rhythms and exhilarating guitar riffs layer with front man Thomas Erak's powerful vocals and penetrating shrieks for a hardcore experience enjoyable even to those who run from any genre with the suffix -core. NICK FELDMAN

The Paper Chase, with Kiss Kiss, At The Spine. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. 8 p.m. $12. Kill Rock Stars' The Paper Chase is not for the faint of heart. If John Congleton's strangled, slightly manic vocals don't turn you away; if you manage to listen through the nearly antagonistic bent of the fractured instrumental intrusions and dissonant structure; if you don't wince at Congleton's deeply troubled lyrical sensibility; if you've come this far, you've learned the secret of Congleton's genius - all chaos has some structure. Buried within Congleton's hammering pianos, sawing guitars, and cut-and-paste samples, layers of melody weave between and among the chaos, creating a tidal pull between the cacophonous and the downright catchy. NICHOLAS HALL

 
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