Live music highlights for the week of Oct. 3, 2018.
“Dark comes down like a bird in flight.” So begins Secularia, the 23rd studio album by Austin-based folk musician Eliza Gilkyson. In her nearly 50 years of work, Gilkyson has twice been nominated for a Grammy Award, been covered by Joan Baez, and been inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. And yet Secularia (which just came out this July) still sounds fresh—marked by soft tendrils of reverb, subtle orchestration and her effortlessly clarion voice. When dark comes down, Gilkyson is here to say she’s with you. MIKE HUGUENOR
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Michael’s On Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $30 adv/$33 door. 479-9777
When Chick Corea released his breakthrough 1968 album Now He Sings, Now He Sobs, he was joined by Czech bass virtuoso Miroslav Vitous and Roy Haynes. Almost exactly 50 years later, Corea, 77, is the ageless master presenting one of his recent ensembles, Vigilette. Corea has always thrived in a trio setting, and this one ranks among his best. Distilled from the Latin Grammy Award-winning 2013 project The Vigil, the extraordinary combo features Cuban bassist Carlitos Del Puerto and drummer Marcus Gilmore, a standout talent on a scene overflowing with insuperable drummers. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $57.75/adv, $65/door. 423-8209.
REEL BIG FISH
Orange County ska band Reel Big Fish has been around so long that even its origin story seems dated. The group got heavy rotation on MTV with an ironic song about “selling out” to the evil major record labels. Does that sentence even make sense to someone currently under 30? Regardless, the band’s high-energy, goofy-meets-depressing ska-punk sound has served it well for the past 20+ years. Reel Big Fish has stayed on the road full-time since their initial “Sell Out” moment and have packed clubs every year, no matter what the experts say about the state of ska in this beautiful nation. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $22. 423-1338.
CONOR OBERST AND THE MYSTIC VALLEY BAND
Like a modern reincarnation of the Band, the Mystic Valley Band are a group of Americana mining tunesmiths whose playing feels near-symbiotically connected. They formed in 2008 to backup Conor Oberst on his solo debut album. On 2009’s Outer South, the members even managed to wrest the spotlight away from Oberst, who by then had already been drawing comparisons to Bob Dylan. Shows with the Mystic Valley Band have been rare this decade, so this is a don’t miss show. MH
INFO: 8:00 p.m. Cocoanut Grove Historic Ballroom, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. $33. 423-5590
THELMA AND THE SLEAZE
After a night with hell-raising southern rock sludge-trio Thelma and the Sleaze, you’re gonna feel a little scared, and a little excited. You’re also gonna wanna be just like them. Frontwoman LG feels like that’s what a great live band should do to a person. They definitely deliver with rowdy biker-dude-gone-feminist tunes that sometimes sound like Janis Joplin joined Le Tigre. So go ahead and dust off those daisy dukes, faux mustaches and pearl necklaces, because you ’bout to have a night. AMY BEE
INFO: 9 p.m., Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10/adv, $12/door. 429-6994.
IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY
It’s a Beautiful Day has been performing since the infamous 1967 Summer of Love, and are most famous for their hippie anthem “White Bird.” Amazingly, four of the six current members have been playing since the original days and show no signs of slowing down. Last year they joined other Summer of Love alumni at Golden Gate Park for the 50th anniversary show, alongside contemporary legends like Big Brother and the Holding Company. MAT WEIR
INFO: 9 p.m. Flynn’s Cabaret, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $15/adv, $18/door. 335-2800.
South Central Los Angelino Duckwrth hit the music scene with such savagery he became an instant success virtually overnight. His debut album, 2016’s I’m Uugly, earned him love from critics and audiences with a style stuck in between the mainstream and underground worlds. He spits over traditional boom-bap beats, whacked-out funk and even rock music. MW
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $14/adv, $16/door. 423-1338.
THE RED ELVISES
Everyone’s favorite Russian surf band is heading to Santa Cruz to invite one and all to get on the dance floor and “Smell the bacon/smell the bacon/ I’m on fire.” Somehow surf, funk rock, disco and all forms of party music resonate way better imbued with a healthy dose of Soviet sensibility. A giant red triangle bass and a sequined horn section help, too. It’s kitschy, but not corny; fun, but not sloppy. AB
INFO: 8:30 p.m., Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 479-1854.
Back in 1998, underrated brit-pop band Pulp released one of the bleakest rock albums ever. On This is Hardcore, lead singer Jarvis Cocker pondered the meaningless of life, the inevitability of death, and the inner lives of porno stars. In other words, it’s a dark masterpiece. Since going solo in 2006, his outlook hasn’t grown any brighter, but there is a certain whimsy to his solo career. You could almost call it a “fun” quality that to his fans might seem a few steps removed from the musically dense days of Pulp. Somehow it just makes the darkness all the more glaring. AC
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $26/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.