Live music highlights for the week of January 3, 2018.
Do Americana artists make better heavy metal than metal artists? I don’t have the answer to that, but you will certainly be considering this question if you check out local quartet Dreaming Ghosts, an all-star psych-metal group featuring members of bluegrass band Brothers Comatose and Americana rockers Coffis Brothers and the Mountain Men. Their side project takes elements of ’70s classic rock, sci-fi imagery, and tripped-out ’60s psychedelia and packages them into an undeniably raging rock sound. Don’t worry, metalheads, there’s no sign of country or roots rock in the mix whatsoever. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.
Indie rocker Henry Chadwick is poised to be a Santa Cruz music scene success story. In 2016, he popped onto the national radar seemingly overnight when Rolling Stone and Time ranked “Guest at Home,” the title track from his solo debut album, one of the best pop songs of the year. The recognition surprised Chadwick as much as anyone. Last year, the one-time member of local punk outfit My Stupid Brother told GT the nod was “very surprising” and “bizarre,” and that he “didn’t really know what to think.” This Friday, the local sensation, who continues to impress, joins local country rocker Jesse Daniel and singer-songwriter Lauren June. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.
Carlos Santana gets a lot of credit for his work in fusing Latin music and rock, but let’s discuss the sometimes underappreciated force that is Los Lobos. They’ve not only created brilliant Latin-fused rock music since 1973, they have a sound that is much more eclectic, and consistently creative, than Santana’s. Los Lobos singer/guitarist David Hidalgo is joined on this tour by his sons David Hidalgo Jr. (Social Distortion) and Vincent Hidalgo. Thus the name. AC
INFO: 8 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.
NEF THE PHARAOH
Nef the Pharaoh may only have hit the big time three years ago, but at 22 years old he has already made quite the name for himself. Hailing from Vallejo, Nef’s “internet freestyle” rapping has earned him collaborations with Bay Area heavy hitters like E-40, whose Sick Wid It Records signed him in 2015. That same year, his “Big Tymin’” single became a major hip hop hit, with critics from Pitchfork and Noisey praising the homage to New Orleans’ bounce. Earlier this year, he dropped the guest-star infused The Chang Project, what he calls a prelude to his long-awaited full-length album Big Chang Theory. MAT WEIR
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 429-4135.
LOST BOYS WITH JAMES DURBIN
It’s been an amazing year for local hero James Durbin. For one thing, he’s officially become the singer for Quiet Riot. The band was so stoked on him, they had him re-record vocals for their new album Road Rage, which was set for an April release, but pushed back to August to make room for Durbin. And he is the best thing to happen to Quiet Riot in a long time. He rips! Those high notes will make your brain explode! Even though Durbin is a big hotshot rockstar now, you can still catch him in Santa Cruz with his group the Lost Boys. AC
INFO: 9:30 p.m. Crow’s Nest, 2218 E. Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. $7. 476-4560.
Hometown favorites the Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men—or simply the Coffis Brothers for us lokes—return to Moe’s Alley for a night of country-folk-infused rock. Only this time, the five-piece group will be rocking out to a brand new repertoire of songs, fresh off the release of their third LP, Roll With It. Unlike their previous albums, Roll With It steers away from rock’s gritty blues roots and travels the dusty paths of musicians like Townes Van Zandt and Justin Townes Earle. MW
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 479-1854.
In the late 1970s, rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose tagged Scottish vocalist Davey Pattison to front his new band GAMMA. The two co-wrote numerous hits, including
“Thunder & Lightning,” “No Tears” and “Voyager.” An album-oriented band, GAMMA grew into an arena sensation and released three albums, cleverly titled GAMMA 1, GAMMA 2 and GAMMA 3. After numerous lineup changes, the band broke up in the early ’80s, only to reunite in 2000, release GAMMA 4, and disband again. After Montrose’s tragic death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 2012, the band reunited again, and, led by Pattison, is still rocking. CJ
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 479-1854.
A decade after the release of her last album, Joni Mitchell casts a more imposing shadow over the musical landscape than ever. No singer on the West Coast is paying more scrupulous attention to Mitchell’s wondrous book than Santa Barbara’s Kimberly Ford. Possessing a bright and flexible soprano that effortlessly rises into Mitchell’s upper range, Ford has spent the past four years honing a vast array of Mitchell material, from the hits to the misses (as Joni once called her favorite songs that didn’t connect at the time). Her five-piece band makes its Kuumbwa debut, a few months after a triumphant performance at JoniFest in New Orleans. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25/gen, $40/gold. 427-2227.
The music of the Grateful Dead lends itself nicely to group jams. The band set a tone of experimentation, improvisation and anything-goes instrumentation early on that remains a defining feature of its tunes, culture, countless tributes and post-Jerry iterations. The Grateful Sunday concert series at Michael’s on Main showcases Dead tribute bands and appreciative artists jamming and reworking the music of the legendary band. This Sunday sees John Hanrahan’s Another Ones—featuring Jerry Brown, Steve Sofranko, Noah Flint, and Skippy Sherred—hitting the stage. CJ
INFO: 5:30 p.m. Michaels on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. Free. 479-9777.
IN THE QUEUE
PAPIBA & FRIENDS
Afro-Brazilian grooves. Thursday at Crow’s Nest
PACIFIC MAMBO ORCHESTRA
Latin big band. Saturday at Coconut Grove
DAVID BOWIE TRIBUTE
Tribute to the rock ’n’ roll legend. Saturday at Crepe Place
Funk, acid jazz and R&B. Saturday at Michael’s on Main
7 COME 11
Organ-driven local funk outfit. Tuesday at Crepe Place