Animo Cruz
A&E

Love Your Local Band: Animo Cruz

Animo Cruz’s personal reggae style evokes a wide-ranging set of emotions

A decade ago, reggae artist Mo—short for Animo—remembers playing three-hour bar gigs under the name Animo Jams. He’d play covers, extended jam versions of tunes, and just give it an overall feel-good vibe—“bar-reggae” as he likes to call it.

These days, Mo plays under the name Animo Cruz, which is still reggae, but features a lot more originals, and music that’s more personal and evokes a wide-ranging set of emotions.

“You’re not there catering to people drinking at the bar having a good time. It allows for darker, heavier tones; slower, or more intimate songs,” Mo says. “During the Animo Jams days, I could just be up there not even saying real words, cause people were drunk and having a good time, and all they need is to hear a voice and not necessarily what he’s saying.”

Initially, Mo went solo and played under the name Animo, dropping the “Jams” part of the name. After discovering a Colorado rock band that used the name, he added “Cruz” to the name.

Animo is his nickname; however, it’s also a moniker for his band, much in the way Santana is the name of Carlos Santana’s band. So far, he’s released two EPs, and has a full album slated for 2018. He still plays “bar reggae,” but now does so with the Santa Cruz Reggae All Stars, which plays the Crow’s Nest every Tuesday.

INFO: 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $29/door. 429-4135.

Contributor at Good Times |

Aaron is a hard-working freelance writer with a focus on music, art, food, culture and travel. In addition to Good Times, he's a regular contributor to Sacramento News & Review, VIA Magazine and Playboy. When he's not working, he's either backpacking, arguing about music or working on his book about ska. One thing's for sure—he knows more about ska than you.

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