Live music highlights for the week of Dec. 12, 2018
If you were to describe the filmography of Wes Anderson in a single song, a good pick would be the impossible twee of “A Summer Song” by British Invasion duo Chad & Jeremy. Everything about it radiates with the corduroy warmth of ’60s AM pop, from the quiet vocals and dampened drums to the mellow strings and soft trumpets. Chad & Jeremy broke up in 1968. Now, 50 years after the release of “A Summer Song,” Clyde returns to music with his first solo album, The Bottom Drawer Sessions No. 1. The vocals are as hushed as ever. MIKE HUGUENOR
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Flynn’s Cabaret, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $12/adv, $15 door. 335-2800.
CASEY NEILL AND THE NORWAY RATS
One of Casey Neill’s talents as an indie-rocker is the way he takes the better elements of offbeat rock icons of yore (think R.E.M. without the college radio pretension, the Flaming Lips without their carefully curated obnoxiousness) and repurposes them in a simple, genuine manner. Having Portland indie all-stars the Norway Rats as a backup band doesn’t hurt. There’s an ease to Neill’s songwriting, even if he accurately describes the genre of his latest album Subterrene as “dystopian romance.” AMY BEE
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8/adv, $10/door. 429-6994.
If you’re curious about trap and mumble rap, I suggest you start with up-and-coming Atlanta rapper Yung Bans. He takes everything about the whole Soundcloud rap subgenre—bouncy beats, sing-songy flow, strong pop hooks—and creates music that’s a little bit avant-garde, surprisingly emotional and unbelievably catchy. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20-$25. 423-1338.
BERNHOFT AND THE FASHION BRUISES
The multi-talented Norwegian singer Bernhoft has a new band, the Fashion Bruises, and a new album, Humanoid, to show them off on. Together, band and auteur leave behind computer-based sounds for the more organic landscapes of guitars, drums and bass. Bernhoft’s already impressive R&B flavor and catchy pop hooks thrive in this live-band atmosphere. And his soulful vocals are at their peak—just listen to his funky R&B song “Lookalike,” on which Bernhoft channels the charming, whimsical vocal stylings of Macy Gray. They really could have named that one “Soundalike.” AB
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $17/adv, $20/door. 479-1854.
MAC POWELL & FAMILY REUNION
For the past few decades, Mac Powell has been huge with Christian audiences and hardcore lovers of country music (which have a huge overlap). His band Third Day was more in the category of “Southern rock,” meaning country was a prominent element, but not the only one. Now as a solo artist, he’s getting even more country. And we’re talking roots country, not this modern country-pop stuff. He’s bringing his music to the Rio via a Christmas party, where you’ll get to hear new original tunes as well as sing along to classic Yuletide songs. AC
INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $35. 423-8209.
NIGHT OF THE BLUE SWAN IV
Formed in 2013 by Dance Gavin Dance guitarist Will Swan, Blue Swan Records specializes in post-rock, math rock and hardcore. This Christmas, they’re taking their bands on the road for three select shows, and Santa Cruz is lucky enough to be on their “nice” list. So start practicing those windmill kicks and karate chops as Icarus the Owl, Fall of Troy, Hail the Sun, Royal Coda, Wolf & Bear, Adventurer, and Ghost Spirit rain screamo and hardcore through a mix of time changes, melodies and intense headbanging. MAT WEIR
INFO: 5:30 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 423-1338.
This fantastic four-piece blends rock, blues and bluegrass behind band leader Rebecca Roudman’s cello. Along with an arsenal of originals, Dirty Cello is also known for their unlike-the-original cover versions of songs like “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin and “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” by Charlie Daniels. Just make sure you watch the clock as this toe-tapping quartet goes on at 2 p.m. MW
INFO: 2 p.m. Michael’s on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $20. 479-9777.
Bridal Party are not here to kick ass. They’re not here to take names. Plus, they have plenty of bubblegum, so don’t even ask. The Canadian West Coasters might rock the same chorus-pedal cool as Frankie Cosmos and Dogbreth, but on 2017 EP Negative Space, they lean further into pop territory than most of their contemporaries dare. There’s still a good amount of slacker in the rock (plus no small amount of bossa nova), but on songs like “Fruitless” and “Man of One of My Dreams,” they show just how close indie rock can come to Steely Dan. MH
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $7. 429-6994.
CHARLIE HUNTER TRIO WITH LUCY WOODWARD
Guitarist Charlie Hunter decamped from the East Bay to the East Coast two decades ago, but the seven-string guitar wizard has never neglected his local homies. He’s performing around the region with Oakland-reared drummer Derek Phillips and Los Angeles vocalist Lucy Woodward. A capriciously talented artist with extensive credits in jazz, pop, rock and soul, Woodward made a memorable appearance on Snarky Puppy’s Grammy Award-winning Family Dinner – Volume 1. She’s also toured with Pink Martini, and released four albums under her own name. Fierce and fun-loving, she sounds utterly at home in this stripped-down setting. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 and 9 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $28.35-$44.10. 427-2227.