PIMPS OF JOYTIME
Pimps of Joytime has been described as a “post-genre” band, and I can’t say I disagree with the sentiment. With a solid base of funk and groove, the Brooklyn-based band has a fuzzed-out, rock quality that sounds more like the Black Keys than anything in the booming neo-funk movement. With electronic sensibilities that add an additional layer to the sound, the band, led by singer and guitarist Brian J, is indeed a bit hard to pin down. One thing is certain though: they get audiences jumping and spirits soaring. CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 479-1854.
MOUTH OF BABES
The duo Mouth of Babes has been together for less than two years, but they’ve enraptured crowds wherever they go. In part, it’s their infectious, soulful folk songs. But it’s also the chemistry between the two ladies. They are both veterans of the modern folk scene, with Ty Greenstein coming from Girlyman and Ingrid Elizabeth coming from Coyote Grace. They harmonize beautifully together, and the in-between song banter is like watching two best friends sharing all of their inside jokes with the crowd. AARON CARNES
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $12/adv, $15/door. 335-2800.
Long before phrases like “jamgrass” and “progressive bluegrass” were regular phrases in any roots music lover’s vocabulary, Leftover Salmon was playing a rocking blend of bluegrass, country, rock and jam that they dubbed “slamgrass.” Hailing from Boulder, Colorado, which has become a hotbed for forward-thinking bluegrass fusion acts, the band helped further the bluegrass movement and bring acoustic roots styles to mainstream audiences. On Friday, Leftover Salmon hits the Rio in what promises to be one of the great jamgrass shows of the year. CJ
INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $28/gen, $42/gold. 423-8209.
With rolling rhythms, trance-inducing melodies and electric instruments, desert blues from West Africa is among the most exciting and engaging of contemporary musical styles. Songhoy Blues puts its own twist on the genre, with a garage rock-meets-desert-R&B sound, inspired by rock legends Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles. The band plays to honor and celebrate its displaced people and culture, who were once among the most prominent of Mali’s many ethnic groups but have now been pushed to the margins. The music is the story of hope, struggle and resilience. CJ
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 427-2227.
A long time ago—in the year 2004—in a city called Oakland, two kids not even old enough to get into a PG-13-rated movie watched Jack Black’s School of Rock and thought, “Hey, we should start a band!” Fast-forward to 2016, and the now foursome is rocking the charts with its own blend of pop melodies. Opening up for the Bay Area pop players are local acts Jackie Zealous and the Watergate Sandals to add a refined mix of surf and garage rock to keep your feet moving and your heart racing. MAT WEIR
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Catalyst Club, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $14/door. 429-4135.
CAR SEAT HEADREST
Depending on where you first heard of Car Seat Headrest, it’s either a brand new artist, or a grizzled veteran act. Both are true. Will Toledo, the sole consistent member of the group, is a young man, but he spit out a dozen records on Bandcamp between 2010 and 2015. Last year he signed to Matador and re-recorded some of his favorite tracks for them, and this year he has his first Matador record of new material coming out. The 23-year-old seems right at home at Matador, as echoes of Guided By Voices, Yo La Tengo and Pavement ring throughout his tunes. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.
For a three-piece garage band, Seattle’s Night Beats really draw from a hodgepodge of influences. At times they dig into the early tripped-out LSD psych-rock records of the ’60s, other times it’s ’70s sludge, and there are even dominant traits of old-school R&B. The group excels at these genres, and are at their best when they mix them all up into something of their own making. They started in 2009, and have three LPs under their name, including 2016’s Who Sold My Generation. AC
INFO: 8 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $12/adv, $15/door. 335-2800.
CHRISTIAN McBRIDE AND THE MACK AVENUE SUPERBAND
With the rise of online distribution, 1999 wasn’t an auspicious year to launch a new jazz label, but Detroit’s Mack Avenue Records has thrived by documenting established masters (Gerald Wilson and Gary Burton) and rising stars. The label is deep enough to field a revolving cast of luminaries on its Superband tours, and the lineup that lands in Santa Cruz is particularly strong on the crowd-pleasing front. Led by bassist extraordinaire Christian McBride, the rhythm section features his longtime collaborator Carl Allen on drums and 26-year-old pianist Christian Sands. Alto saxophonist/flutist Tia Fuller and tenor saxophonist Kirk Whalum, who’s better known for his work in R&B and pop, round out the quintet. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $30/adv, $35/door. 427-2227.
Swedish rapper and producer Yung Lean has been professionally dropping beats and mixtapes for the last three years, and he’s captivated the online world with hits like “Afghanistan,” “Hoover,” and “Miami Ultras.” For those not familiar with the current trends in Swedish hip-hop, Yung Lean has brought Thaiboy Digital, another country brethren, to warm up the audience with an intense mix of the country’s digital craze. MW
INFO: p.m. Catalyst Club, 1011 Pacific Ave. Santa Cruz. $18/adv, $20/door. 429-4135.
IN THE QUEUE
SCOTT COOPER & THE BARRELMAKERS
Local Americana jam band. Thursday at Moe’s Alley
Heavy metal meets Mariachi. Friday at Catalyst
REVEREND LOVE JONES & THE SINNERS
Bay Area rock and soul. Friday at Pocket
Santa Cruz-born progressive bluegrass outfit. Saturday at Crepe Place
Northern California rockers pay tribute to legendary band Heart. Saturday at Don Quixote’s