Music Picks Dec 13 – 19

Live music highlights for the week of December 13, 2017.

MarchFourth plays Friday, Dec. 15 at the Catalyst.

Live music highlights for the week of December 13, 2017.





Violinist Mark O’Connor has collaborated with acclaimed classical cellist YoYo Ma, French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, folk fiddler Benny Thomasson, guitar master Chet Atkins, newgrass mandolinist Chris Thile, and many more. He’s a creative and technical virtuoso on a level where genre gives way to musical mastery. On Wednesday, O’Connor brings his Christmas show to Santa Cruz with his Grammy-winning O’Connor Band, featuring family members Maggie O’Connor on fiddle, Forrest O’Connor on mandolin and vocals, Kate Lee on fiddle and vocals, national flatpick champion Joe Smart on guitar, and Geoff Saunders on bass and banjo. CJ

INFO: 7 & 9 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $30/adv, $35/door. 427-2227.




Santa’s not the only one putting the “Ho Ho Ho” in the holidays. For two decades, guitar virtuoso Gary Hoey has been recording rock renditions of everyone’s favorite holiday classics for his popular Ho Ho Hoey Complete Collection album. This year, Hoey counts down the 12 days of Christmas at the beach with a special performance at Moe’s Alley. Shred the halls, rock with Rudolph and scream with the herald angels as Hoey vamps up Santa’s sleigh with ripping solos and his too-cool-for-school rock ’n’ roll rebel style. You might even recognize a couple renditions from the not one but two songs picked up by Hallmark for their musical holiday cards. MAT WEIR

INFO: 8 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.




With mountain style and a flair for tradition, Caitlin Jemma brings a breath of fresh air to the roots scene. Raised in the high desert of Northern Nevada, Jemma has a timelessness to her sound that brings to mind Gillian Welch and Dolly Parton’s bluegrass albums. A sensational singer-songwriter, Jemma has an authenticity that makes her immediately credible, a talent that holds up to repeat listens, and a playfulness that disarms even the most cynical of roots purists. Keep your eyes on this rising star. CJ

INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.

FRIDAY 12/15



Haven’t you heard? Alt-marching bands are totally a thing now. Portland’s MarchForth isn’t a marching band in the sense that you probably won’t see the members in formation as halftime performance at the next football game. But the who-knows-how-many-member ensemble does use a lot of marching band instruments. Rather than cheerleaders and color guard, they have circus performers riling up the crowd. We’re talking acrobats, people on stilts, the whole works. AC

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $22/door. 429-4135.

FRIDAY & SATURDAY 12/15 & 12/16



Will there ever be a fourth wave of ska? People have been asking this question since 1999. But do we need another wave of ska bands when the English Beat is on a never-ending tour, hitting Santa Cruz several times a year? The group was not a pure ska band, and most people are more familiar with the group’s New Wave pop material, but the band was part of the influential 2Tone ska movement that swept England in the early ’80s and had a huge ripple effect on the USA’s delayed ska craze. AC

INFO: 9 p.m., Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $23/adv, $28/door (Fri.), $25/adv, $30/door (Sat.), 479-1854.




The Bay Area knows hip-hop. For decades we have been purveyors of hip-hop culture, and the innovation continues with Richmond rapper IAMSU. Along with fellow HBK Gang (Heartbreak Gang) members Sage the Gemini, P-Lo and others, IAMSU has been leading the way in a new wave of Bay Area hip hop and was named the “Hottest MC in the Game” by Spin in 2013. Last year he dropped his second solo album, Kilt II, with its single “Up All Night.” This weekend, IAMSU returns to the Catalyst for a night that might just put you on Santa’s naughty list, but will totally be worth it. MW

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $29/adv, $32/door. 429-4135.




British singer-songwriter Richard Thompson’s career parallels the evolution of folk-rock music over the last 50-plus years. A world-renowned guitarist, Thompson got his musical start while still in his teens with Fairport Convention, one of the seminal folk-rock bands of the 1960s. He then collaborated with his then-wife Linda Thompson on several albums, including I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, which is widely regarded as a musical masterpiece. For the next several decades, Thompson released a stream of critically acclaimed albums and collaborations, raking in awards in both the States and the U.K. His latest record, 2015’s Still, was produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and recorded in Tweedy’s Loft Studio. On Saturday, the legendary artist hits the Rio. CJ

INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $29/gen, $45/gold. 423-8209.




The Beatles stopped touring long before they broke up, and they never did a reunion tour. So even though they were the biggest band of all time, not a lot of people alive today got a chance to see them perform. Don’t worry, that’s what tribute bands are for! The Sun Kings are one of the best Beatles tribute bands on the circuit; they’ve got 150 songs by the mop top committed to memory and ready to go. The tunes run the gamut from the wholesome “Love Me Do” days to the acid-fueled “I Am The Walrus” years right up to the “We’re a crazy studio band that hates each other and is about to break up” era. Fun times! AC

INFO: 8 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $20/adv, $25/door. 335-2800.



’60s and ’70s-inspired folk, rock and R&B. Wednesday at Don Quixote’s


Award-winning trumpeter. Thursday at Michael’s on Main


Contemporary blues standout. Sunday at Moe’s Alley


Chicago-based rapper. Monday at Catalyst


Renowned jazz guitarist and improviser. Monday at Kuumbwa

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