Live music highlights for the week of April 11, 2018.
COFFEE ZOMBIE COLLECTIVE
Have you ever wondered what Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” would sound like as a bluegrass song? How about Wham’s “Careless Whisper,” or Guns ’n’ Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine?” Well, just go check out local favorites Coffee Zombie Collective. They play high energy, sing-along bluegrass versions of all your favorite guilty pleasure karaoke songs, as well as obscure indie tunes. (“In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel, anyone?). The thing is, the group isn’t really technically bluegrass. With the standard string instruments and a ukulele, a trumpet, a kick bass drum, and a lot of unhinged fun, it’s just a blast in a very Santa Cruz, rule-breaking kind of way. AARON CARNES
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Michael’s on Main, 2591 S. Main, Soquel. $12/adv, $15/door. 479-9777.
For anyone rifling through the names of nerd rappers and looking for a good starting point, you can’t do much better than MC Chris, whose weird high-pitched voice, geek culture references, and DIY beats will have you basking in nerdiness in pure ecstasy. I mean, the multiple Star Wars-themed songs alone earn him a seat at the throne. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $17/door. 429-4135.
THURSDAY & FRIDAY 4/12 & 4/13
SOB X RBE
SOB x RBE (which stands for “Strictly Only Brothers Real Boi Entertainment”) hail from Vallejo, and have blown up into international stars in just a few short years, starting with the release of last year’s self-titled mixtape. This year looks even more promising as the hip hop quartet released their debut full-length, Gangin, in February to critical acclaim and were featured on the Black Panther soundtrack, produced by the current king of hip-hop, Kendrick Lamar. MAT WEIR
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $30/adv, $35/door. 429-4135.
Friday the 13th is your lucky day. Lucky, that is, if you procure tickets to see newly minted NEA Jazz Master Dianne Reeves, a vocalist with a sound so sumptuously beautiful she banishes all thoughts of ill fortune. Usually heard in concert halls and theaters, Reeves rarely plays intimate spaces like Kuumbwa, a venue with which she shares decades of history. She’s joined by her incomparable band, including longtime pianist and music director Peter Martin and Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo, a jazz giant in his own right. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 and 9 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $45-$60. 427-2227.
The Sun Kings pay tribute to the Beatles as authentically as possible by recreating the legendary band’s music, note for note, exactly as it was recorded. Rather than relying on costumes and caricatures, the Sun Kings rely on the members’ technical and melodic expertise and commitment to getting the songs just right. Considered one of the premier Beatles tribute bands in the country, the Sun Kings boast a repertoire of over 150 songs. The Kings are currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of The White Album with performances up and down the West Coast. CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 8 p.m. Flynn’s Cabaret, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $22/adv, $25/door. 335-2800.
Drummer Robert “Sput” Searight and percussionist Nate Werth are the driving heart of the Grammy winning jazz and funk collective Snarky Puppy. They’re also the masterminds behind Ghost-Note, a “conscious funk” outfit that spotlights their tremendous skills and chemistry, and also gives the rotating cast of all-star band members plenty of space to do what they do best. With a combined resumé that includes work with Norah Jones, Snoop Dogg, Justin Timberlake, David Crosby, Q-Tip and more, these two are quiet powerhouses of the music world. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 479-1854.
REBIRTH BRASS BAND
The Rebirth Brass Band is steeped in the tradition of New Orleans jazz, and over the last 35 years has infused funk and hip-hop, among other genres, into its sound. The band’s unique swing has earned them special acclaim in pop culture, leading to an appearance on HBO’s Treme, and a 2012 Grammy Award. The members’ infectious playing commands even the grumpiest of people to shake their hips and swing their feet. MW
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.
This Nashville duo plays twangy satirical songs, which isn’t necessarily anything new, but the brazen crudeness with which they do it is either unsettling or hilarious, depending on your personality. With songs like “Warshin’ My Big Ol’ Pussy,” “Saving Myself For Jesus,” “Indianer” and “Black Guys,” the twosome crosses the line of good taste a thousand times over, and lets the listener deal with their songs’ implicit irony without any wink-winks to ease the comic tension. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 429-6994.
Formed in Augusta, Georgia in the 1970s, the Dixie Dregs helped shape a generation of boundary-pushing rock with a mostly-instrumental blend of hard rock, Southern rock, progressive metal, and classical music. Led by guitarist/composer Steve Morse of Deep Purple, and bass guitarist and composer Andy West, the Dregs remain a “loose collection” of former members who join forces for performances, studio projects and tours. CJ
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $50. 423-8209.
IN THE QUEUE
STELLA BY BARLIGHT
Standout local jazz vocalist and her band. Wednesday at Crow’s Nest
All-star jam band led by Melvin Seals. Friday at Moe’s Alley
SCOTT BRADLEE’S POSTMODERN JUKEBOX
Contemporary pop hits reimagined as doo-wop, ragtime and Motown sounds. Saturday at Rio Theatre
ANDRE THIERRY & ZYDECO MAGIC
Acclaimed Zydeco act. Saturday at Michael’s on Main
Italian reggae artist. Saturday at Catalyst