It used to be that if you were a psychedelic rock band, you created music that was eerie, or even downright scary. Ever heard early Pink Floyd with all the lights off in your house? A lot of revival psych-rock bands play music thatâ€™s layered and nuanced, but lack the fear-inducing melodies that ruined so many acid trips back in the good â€™ol days. Fortunately, local four-piece Redlight District gets dark. It might not instill total panic in you (thatâ€™s Trumpâ€™s job!), but itâ€™s certainly unsettling. These guys riff pretty hard, too, so even you stoner rock types should be able to get your vibe on. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.
One of Santa Cruzâ€™s grooviest acts, the Inciters play a blend of â€™50s and â€™60s Northern soul classics and original tunes that are guaranteed dance floor fillers. Throw in an attention-grabbing stage showâ€”complete with an 11-piece band and three powerhouse female vocalistsâ€”that transports you to an earlier time, and you have one of the finest soul acts around. Donâ€™t be fooled by the retro stylings of the band; itâ€™s no simple throwback act. CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Don Quixoteâ€™s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $8. 335-2800.
The Expendables is a local four-piece that plays reggae, surf and rock with an overall chill vibe. In other words, this band has so much Santa Cruz in them, you might accidentally leave the show with the paperwork for starting a medical marijuana dispensary. Seriously, is there a band more Santa Cruz than the Expendables? Iâ€™ll wait. Thatâ€™s right, you got nothing. The group formed all the way back in 1997, when Cali-reggae-rock was mostly the territory of Sublime. The members of the Expendables have their own take on the genre, and have maintained a successful career for a solid couple of decades. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $22/adv, $27/door, 429-4135.
As frontman for standout contemporary reggae act Groundation, Harrison Stafford helps bridge the distance between classic roots reggae, pop, hip-hop and rock. But thereâ€™s another side to him. Due to Staffordâ€™s academic interest in reggae cultureâ€”he taught a History of Reggae Music class at Sonoma State University and produced a documentary film, Holding On to Jah, on the history of the Rastafarian movement)â€”he picked up the nickname â€œthe Professor,â€ which he not only embraced, but even performs under as a solo artist. On Friday, Stafford comes to town as Harrison Stafford and the Professor Crew, a group rooted in the struggle for equal rights and justice. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Moeâ€™s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.
Imagine your dad onstage, shaking a tambourine. Now imagine him in tight bell-bottom blue jeans and a flowery, paisley button-up shirt that reveals way too much chest hair. Add a blonde, wavy mermaid wig and your dad is starting to look a lot like Robert Plantâ€”or at the very least, like Jefrey Larsonâ€™s Robert Plant. Thereâ€™s more to pulling off a Led Zeppelin cover band than simply nailing the look, but Zeppelin Live have that part in the bag. Imitating Plantâ€™s sexual demon howl may be harder to duplicate, but maybe thatâ€™s a good thing. KATIE SMALL
INFO: 8 p.m., Don Quixoteâ€™s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $17/adv, $20/door. 335-2800.
KYLE GASS BAND
When I saw the Kyle Gass Band a few years back, the funniest moment was seeing his bandâ€”all young, proficient rockersâ€”rocking out hard as Gass strolled up to the stage in his sweatpants, looking like he just rolled off the couch. Once they started playing together, the talent of his band only further emphasized the silly tongue-in-cheek nature of his music. Folks know Gass as the non-Jack-Black member of Tenacious D. This project isnâ€™t as outright hilarious as the D, and itâ€™s a lot more rock. So a love for chops is a must. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Moeâ€™s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $10/adv, $15/door, 479-1854.
Daniel Friedberg, aka Freebo, is a world-renowned bassist, longtime studio musician, and producer whoâ€™s worked with Bonnie Raitt, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Ringo Starr, Neil Young, Dr. John and many more top-tier artists. Known for his funky and soulful playing style, heâ€™s also a singer-songwriter whose human observations and heart-centered perspective have established him as a celebrated solo artist in his own right. Freebo is joined by roots outfit Damdave & the Hot Damn Band and local group Eric Burmanâ€™s Brookdale Bluegrass Band, whose members have been jamming together for years. CJ
INFO: 7 p.m. Don Quixoteâ€™s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $15/adv, $18/door. 335-2800.
MARC E. BASSY
After graduating from Mill Valleyâ€™s Tamalpais High School, Marc Griffin attended UCSC for two years before he moved to L.A. to found the chart-topping pop group 2AM Club. The singer has composed hits for CeeLo Green, Sean Kingston, Wiz Khalifa, 2 Chainz, and Chris Brown. His looks, as well as his poppy R&B, beg an obvious comparison to Justin Timberlake. In his website bio, Bassy claims to draw inspiration from his favorite writers, Charles Bukowski and Henry Miller, and confesses that he â€œloves having his heart broken,â€ for the lyrical fodder such an occasion might produce.Â KS
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $18/adv, $20/door. 429-4135.
CHARLES LLOYD & THE MARVELS
Like catching Willie Nelson in Texas, Gilberto Gil in Salvador da Bahia, or Los Lobos in East L.A., thereâ€™s something revelatory about a Charles Lloyd concert in the Monterey Bay. The legendary tenor saxophonist and flutist has lost none of the bluesy grit instilled by his upbringing in Memphis, but his search for transcendence runs right through this region, where he catapulted to superstardom with an epochal performance at the 1966 Monterey Jazz Festival (documented on the hit album Forest Flower). He spent years in Big Sur, mostly avoiding the jazz scene (though collaborating widely with the Beach Boys), but since the early 1980s has enjoyed one of jazzâ€™s most productive second acts. His latest band the Marvels builds on the superlative rhythm section tandem of bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer extraordinaire Eric Harland by adding pedal steel wizard Greg Liesz and guitar master Bill Frisell. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $35-$60. 427-2227.
IN THE QUEUE
Thanksgiving Eve Grateful Dead tribute. Wednesday at Moeâ€™s Alley
Classic rock covers. Friday at Don Quixoteâ€™s
Hip-hop out of Compton. Sunday at Catalyst
ONE FAMILY REGGAE BENEFIT
Joseph Israel, Michael Annotti and more. Sunday at Moeâ€™s Alley
Psychedelic rock and blues. Tuesday at Blue Lagoon