Tonight: MC Chris at El Corazon, Sage Francis at the Showbox at the Market

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MC Chris, with MC Lars, Math The Band. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 8 p.m. $15. All ages. High-pitched and hidden behind his ever-present low-slung black baseball cap, MC Chris is the comic-loving, videogame-playing antithesis to the common conception of rap music. From his beginnings in Cartoon Network's late-night programming, most notably as MC P Pants in stoner favorite Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Chris's natural comedic leanings and lightning-fast flow paved the way for the cult "nerdcore" following, with the Star Wars-centric "Fett's Vette"--a taste of what collaboration between Mickey Avalon and George Lucas might sound like-- and the "nerd girl" anthem titled, well, "Nrrrd Grrrl." Despite the lightweight subject matter, MC Chris is a legitimately sharp rapper--albeit one who is perfectly content goofing around over a Casio synth beat. NICK FELDMAN

Sage Francis, with Free Moral Agents, B. Dolan. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $22. Not content to simply be a longtime ambassador between hip-hop and indie rock, Sage Francis spends his new fourth album Li(f)e collaborating with a rogue gallery of indie heroes. There are co-writing credits from Chris Walla, Jason Lytle, the late Mark Linkous, and members of Calexico and DeVotchKa. The result is relaxed and naturalistic. Managing his usual balance between self-reflection and self-deprecation, Francis rails against the stifling, contradictory rule set of society and organized religion. If the album is fairly uneven - for every song as quietly great as "16 Years" or "The Best Of Times," there's an iffy wobble like "I Was Zero" - Francis's brave knack for exposing himself goes a long way. DOUG WALLEN

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