By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Mar 08, 2010 at 5:18 AM

Trying to put your finger on exactly what Philly-based RJD2 is doing on his latest disc, "The Colossus," is darn near impossible. And that's what makes it so engaging.

Starting out in Columbus, Ohio, as part of a rap group 10 years ago, RJD2 has spent a decade absorbing and parsing influences from far and wide. And the results are splattered all over "The Colossus," a cut and paste pastiche to rival mixed media art of every stripe.

RJD2 comes to The Rave on Sunday, March 14 at 8 p.m. Happy Chichester and King Hell Bastard are also on the bill.

"The Colossus" (RJ's Electrical Connections) opens with the instrumental "Let There Be Horns," which is an ode to the disco, soul and cop show themes of the '70s with great string hits, punchy horns and a high tension feel. But four minutes later, "Games You Can Win" uses vocalist Kenna on a quirky downtempo dance track with toy piano and buzzy bass.

"Giant Squid" has blends a sinister bass figure with a sustained electric guitar wail and what can only be described as a Fender Rhodes on Mars. The brief "Salud 2" riffs like a found footage, sound collage. Later, singers Phonte Coleman, Aaron Livingston and Heather Fortune help return RJD2 to the world of dance and r&b.

"A Son's Cycle" keeps RJD2 steeped in his hip-hop roots, drawing on rappers The Catalyst, Illogic and NP.

RJD2 calls this record "an album that is as collaborative as possible, an 'overview' of all the different types of working approaches I've used over the years. Some songs are strictly sample-based, some are live, some songs are completely instrumental while others are vocal songs, some have guest vocalists, a few songs I sing myself, and I brought a few rappers on board."

It's the perfect way to celebrate a decade making records.

"Some things have changed," he says. "I own the studio, I own the independent label, and instead of driving 10 blocks to a gig in my hometown I fly 10 hours to a gig in another country. But when it all comes down to its most basic level, my goal is still the same -- to make a piece of music that is going to hopefully rearrange your brain, or at least provide some relief from real life for a moment or two."

Tickets for The Rave gig are $16 at the box office or via Ticketmaster.  -- Bobby Tanzilo

Less than a week after the Cleveland Cavaliers entered the Bradley Center with the best record in the NBA, the Black Eyed Peas hit the same building with the No. 1 song in the country. "Imma Be" is the third hit single from the blockbuster album that has kept the Peas in the top slot for much of the past year. The show is Thursday night at the Bradley Center.
Ludacris and LMFAO open the evening. Tickets cost $47.50, $59.50 and $79.50, plus applicable fees. --Drew Olson

The Bel Airs, whose music is described as "a danceable mix with an authentic but eclectic bluesy-country-soul-and-rock-n-roll sound influenced by the likes of Wilson Pickett, Slim Harpo, Howlin' Wolf and Johnny Cash, play a free show Friday night at Piano Blu, 179 W. Wisconsin Ave., in Pewaukee. --D.O.

St. Patrick's Day is always a big deal here in Milwaukee. Perhaps it's our rich Irish heritage? Or maybe it's our love of the suds -- especially when dyed a festive green. Whatever the case may be, St. Patrick's Day gets rowdy in these parts, so you might want to do yourself a favor and get warmed up a bit early. Flogging Molly, a barrage of Celtic punk rockers from California, are still going strong and plan to be in our fair city this Friday, March 12 at The Rave. The Architects and Frank Turner open the 8 p.m. show. -- Julie Lawrence 

FM 102.1's Kramp and Adler know a thing or two about comedy as they wake Milwaukeeans with laughs all week long. Swapping early morning laughs for evening entertainment, this on-air duo hosts the "Kramp & Adler Comedy Festival" Saturday night at Turner Hall Ballroom. The fest features comedians Nick Thune (Jay Leno Show), Nick Kroll (The League) and Wyatt Cenac (The Daily Show). Tickets are $20 and the show is general admission.-- Maureen Post