Santa Cruz County live music picks for the week of July 3
Paul Thorn has been releasing exceptional American roots records for two decades, sampling elements of the blues, southern rock and R&B. Within all his music, there always permeated a deep spirituality and affinity for classic gospel music. This was the music of his childhood, after all; a preacher’s son, he would frequent black churches in Tupelo, Mississippi, and felt the power of gospel. On his most recent record, Don’t Let The Devil Ride, he goes all in on his gospel roots. A highlight on the record is the slowed-down cover of the O’Jays’ “Love Train.” AARON CARNES
8 p.m. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $25. 704-7113.
The grimy, visceral sound of this two-piece death metal band from San Jose has been giving listeners brain melts since 2014, with the duo releasing their Senses Decay EP last December. Before you celebrate America, make sure to raise hell the night before at the Blue Lagoon for the Summer of Suffering Tour, as they’re joined by local favorite heshers Zombie Ritual, along with Depraver, Sacred Origin, Disciples of Death, and Eskupe. MAT WEIR
8 p.m. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117.
“Folksy” and “worldly” are usually used in opposition, as though “folk” somehow exceeds the category of Earth. But for Leah and Chloe Smith, this is a false distinction. Incorporating ragas, Celtic drums and West African strings, the sisters in Rising Appalachia aim for a kind of world bluegrass, Appalachian in spirit and harmony rather than in location or dogma. The Smith sisters seek out the subterranean roots connecting folk music of all cultures, voicing them in plucked strings and two-part harmony. MIKE HUGUENOR
8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $37. 423-8209.
Hand Habits has a preoccupation with spaces: both those between other people, and the ones within. Not only do the band’s lusciously languid and gently alt musical arrangements confer a sense of movement, but the lyrics also explore every nook and cranny of relational perspectives, as if relationships are magnetic and atmospheric. Band leader Meg Duffy plays a sweet guitar and croons generously heartfelt melodies, making what would be heady, abstract ruminations more emotive, tender and anchored to real life. AMY BEE
9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $15 adv/$17 door. 429-6994.
The members of Diego’s Umbrella are shameless rock ‘n’ rollers who love to utilize the meatiest power chords to beef up their high-energy punk songs. They also mix elements of Eastern European dance music, Flamenco, klezmer, and ska. What do you call this jumble of influences? Who knows! It’s probably best to refer to it as “sweaty dance music,” the kind you line up for holding hands and kicking up your feet in joy, only to break out into a full-fledged mosh pit once the punk-rock guitars kick in. AC
9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $12 adv/$15 door. 479-1854.
Self-described “weak little nerd” Mekki Leeper made his late-night stand-up debut on the Late Late Show this January. Despite his milquetoast appearance, Leeper made a strong impression, riffing on his parent’s late divorce (“I’m sorry I wasn’t able to ruin my parents’ marriage as fast as you were able to”), and his interfaith upbringing in Morocco. And while you might not know him yet, you’ve likely heard his jokes—he wrote for the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner with Hasan Minhaj. MH
7 and 9:30 p.m. DNA’s Comedy Lab, 155 S River St., Santa Cruz. $20 adv/$25 door. (530) 592-5250.
OLD BLIND DOGS
Scottish quartet Old Blind Dogs has been keeping Celtic folk traditions alive and well since 1990, but still blends in its signature twist of blues, jazz and funk, and has remained one of Scotland’s favorite groups. MW
7:30 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $22 adv/$25 door. 427-2227.
The Ha! plays Americana suffused with beach-bum surf hues and shades of coastal funk. It’s like a traveling seaside bonfire gathering—armed with upbeat tempos and bluesy harmonicas, looking for any excuse to make merry. In fact, The Ha! has found the perfect occasion to carouse via “Party with Purpose” tours, which raise funds for local nonprofit charities and encourage community get-togethers with live music. The mixture of good-time party music and good ol’ fashioned grassroots philanthropy makes for one hell of a jubilee. AB
9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.
The origins of the Turbans can be traced back to Kathmandu, where guitarist Oshan Mahony’s chance encounter with fellow Anglo-Iranian violinist Darius Luke Thompson led to a fast friendship and extended busking sojourn around India. Back in the U.K., the band gradually honed a global sound reflecting an international cast of players. With an eponymous debut album on San Francisco’s Six Degrees Records, The Turbans tour as a septet featuring vocalist and guitarist Miroslav Morski, Greek vocalist Pavlos Mavromatakis, Israeli guitarist Moshe Zehavi, Belarus-born oud player Maxim Shchedrovitzki, and classical guitarist Pablo Dominguez. Building grooves rather than walls, the Turbans create dance music for the human race. ANDREW GILBERT