Santa Cruz County live entertainment picks for the week of Feb. 5
Get those dancing shoes ready because indie-poppers Spooky Mansion are coming back to Santa Cruz, and they’re bringing the funky help of local “breakfast music” creator Andy Pankakes and his pals in Monkeyhands. It might seem like a clash of the artists—Spooky Mansion’s feelgood disco beats versus the syrupy hilarity of Pankakes and Monkeyhands. However, with a low-fi, codeine-dripped song like “I Just Rage,” or a peppy dance tune like “Torture,” Spooky Mansion clearly know a thing or two about having a goofy good time. MAT WEIR
8:30pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $10/adv, $12/door. 479-1854.
JEFF DENSON, ROMAIN PILON & BRIAN BLADE
It’s easy to see why people describe bassist Jeff Denson, French guitarist Romain Pilon and drummer extraordinaire Brian Blade’s recently launched collective combo as a power trio. The band bristles with talent. But rather than displaying its bulging musical muscles, the triumvirate traffics in sublime restraint. The group’s debut album Between Two Worlds is marked by subtle, almost telepathic interplay and quietly lustrous melodies. Blade, an often uproarious bandstand presence who’s toured and recorded with everyone from Joni Mitchell to Bob Dylan, is at his most sensitive, shaping pieces with the caress of his brushes. It’s a power trio all right, speaking softly and carrying a bodacious sense of beauty. ANDREW GILBERT
7pm. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $26.25 /adv, $31.50/door. 427-2227.
WAKE THE DEAD
Local ensemble Wake The Dead has been playing Celtic renditions of Grateful Dead tunes for two decades. That may sound like a strange notion; people casually interested in the Dead probably view them as a crazy, psychedelic, acid-fueled jam band. That’s a part of their musical lexicon, but the Dead were massive fans of folk music of all shapes and variances, and it heavily informed their songwriting. So, big shocker, the Dead tunes sound amazing as Irish jigs. Even the members of the Dead were impressed, and have been big supporters of Wake the Dead. AC
8:30pm. Michaels on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $15/adv, $18/door. 479-9777.
THE MIGHTY DIAMONDS
Lots of legendary reggae bands are still playing today, but few feature their original lineups like the Mighty Diamonds. Since 1969, the Trenchtown trio of Tabby, Bunny, and Judge, have fused Motown harmonies with rocksteady rhythms and Rastafarian theology to create a uniquely soulful roots reggae style. Early singles “Hey Girl” and “Shame and Pride” are bona fide classics of that hip-hugging, tender reggae known as Lovers Rock. Before the Musical Youth had the world left-handedly passing dutchies around, it was the Mighty Diamonds who sang “Pass the Kutchie.” MIKE HUGUENOR
9pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Dr., Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.
TAY AND THE JANGLAHDAHS
Someone once gave Tay Gersbach bad advice about how to deal with the nagging pulse of guilt. “Shove it aside; bury it in the ground.” This misguided insight became the impetus for the group’s 2019 single “Wise Words.” Gersbach has a particular interest in plundering the realm of advice for lyrical inspiration. It creates an almost meditative backdrop as she sings in trance-like fashion over a clash of traditional European folk styles, meshed with hippie rock and soulful proto-punk. It could be the music of aliens as they try to enslave mankind by lulling us into a false safe space as they whisper bad advice into our ears. AC
9pm. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.
BENEFIT FOR FRED THOMPSON
In October 2019, Aptos native Fred Thompson lost everything in the Tick Fire as it ravaged the Canyon Country in Santa Clarita. Fortunately, he and his family are all safe, but they are still recovering from the tragedy. Thompson and his friends (in their group Pet Roxx) will be coming to Michaels to play hard rock tunage by groups like Zeppelin and Humble Pie, raise some money and lift everyone’s spirits. They’ll be joined by local rockers Monkey Boys, as well as special appearances by Bob von Elgg of Special Fun, Aurora Borealis and Brent Pierce. AC
8:30pm. Michaels on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $15. 479-9777.
If Geoff Tate looks like he might smoke weed, let me just say, he is friends with Doug Benson, so you do the math. A regular on both the Doug Loves Movies podcast and Getting Doug With High, the Cincinnati-based comedian is charmingly unpolished, smiling sheepishly at his own jokes about friending his dad on Facebook and being marginally employed. “I live in Cincinnati because there are parts of this country where I’m a catch,” he says, from within his ill-fitting sweater. He points out that you only need to be good-looking enough for the room you’re in, “and Ohio has a lot of rooms.” MH
7 & 9:30pm. DNA’s Comedy Lab, 155 S River St, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 900-5123.
Do you know what 2020 needs? New tunes performed in old-timey ’20s style! Everything old is new again, or is everything new old again? Who cares, as long as we join Postmodern Jukebox as they usher in the 2020s with plenty of 1920s flair, all-out jazzy numbers, flamboyant costumes, big band sets and ravishing divas singing their hearts out. It’s the best of modern-day music done so old-fashioned, it’s hip again, like your great grandma’s macramé flapper dress and your great grand-daddy’s straw boater. AMY BEE
6:30pm. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $40. 423-8209.
Chastity Belt harkens back to the moody guitar rock of the ’90s from dreary places like Seattle and Portland, where the rain was so pervasive, all the music seemed to be accompanied by perpetual drizzles. It was a good time for music, if not weather. Chastity Belt has all the same gleanings from that grungy era, but with extra emphasis on the dreamy, tranquil pitter-patter of never-ending rain, and the lush musings borne from a green world perpetually covered in gray. AB
9pm. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $18/door. 423-1338.
RIDERS IN THE SKY
For 43 years, the singing cowboy quartet Riders in the Sky have serenaded their way into the heart of America. Whether it’s their early years playing western swing at the Grand Ole Opry or their later work for Toy Story 2 and Monsters Inc., Americans of all ages have enjoyed their harmonious tunes about life on the trail, home on the range and cookin’ anything that fits in a frying pan. MW
7:30pm. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $30. 427-2227.