Cat Power

Music Picks June 21—27

Live music highlights for the week of June 21, 2017.

Cat Power plays Monday, June 26 at the Rio Theatre.


Live music highlights for the week of June 21, 2017.




An outlaw country outfit from San Francisco, the Bitter Diamonds play “old school country for modern times.” Comprising Charles Verlin on vocals and guitar, Ian Michell on bass, Jody Clarke on pedal steel, Mike Saliani on lead guitar and Mark Grupe on drums, the band got its start—as legend goes—when Verlin finished a thermos of day-old coffee in the parking lot of the Say When Casino in McDermitt, Nevada. Although it’s not clear what that has to do with the band, it’s their story and they’re sticking to it. Also on the bill: the Western Wednesday Allstar Band, featuring standouts from our local country and honky-tonk bands. This month’s featured player is the one and only Jim Lewin. CJ

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




Twenty years ago, ’90s electronic duo the Crystal Method released their classic album Vegas to much acclaim and remarkable sales. It’s important to remember that during this time electronic music was primarily a niche genre. The Crystal Method was one of a handful of bands in this era (Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers) that took the sound to a mainstream alt-rock audience. Their aggressive, punk-charged dance music sound felt oh-so-cozy in the ’90s, and carries on today. AC

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $25. 429-4135.




With its unusual instrumentation, fearless approach to improvisation, and four-decade track record of extraordinary music, BassDrumBone should be a left-field jazz institution. But the collective trio is still something of an underground phenomenon, due to a long hiatus or two and a confusing discography. What’s crystal clear is the interactive brio of bass master Mark Helias, exploratory drummer Gerry Hemingway, and muscular trombonist Ray Anderson, a player with a startling vivid vocabulary of bluesy smears, burry blasts and singing phrases. Following up on the double album The Long Road, one of last year’s most consistently inspired recordings, the trio hits Santa Cruz on a tour marking the band’s 40th anniversary. ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 427-2227.




If you think it’s strange that a band from L.A. is playing Americana, don’t worry. Walcotts, the band in question, injects a bit of theatrics into the sound, and bends the rules of the genre in unexpected ways. The nine-piece band play elements of old-timey jazz, heartland anthems and good old-fashioned American folk. It’s an authentic tribute to the roots music of this great country, but a song like “Coalinga” is something only a Californian would ever think to write. AC

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




Ahhh, the Band. So many hits, so many memories. “The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Up on Cripple Creek,” “The Weight.” The hits just keep coming. The Weight is a band of musicians who were either in the Band or “are deeply connected to [its] legacy.” Comprising Jim Weider from the Band, Brian Mitchell from the Levon Helm Band, Marty Grebb, who wrote for the Band, and more, the Weight pays loving tribute to the pioneering country-rock act whose legacy and influence is alive and well. CJ

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.




Singer-songwriter Alice Smith experienced both rural and urban life growing up in both Washington, D.C. and on a farm in Georgia. She masterfully blends these two cultures in her music, which spans folk, blues, rock, soul and R&B. From her 2006 debut album, For Lovers, Dreamers & Me, which showcases Smith’s easy handle on country, classic funk and everything in-between, to her 2015 cover of Nina Simone’s song, “I Put a Spell on You” on Nina Revisited, Smith has carved a unique space for herself on the contemporary vocals landscape. CJ

INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $27/adv, $37/door. 427-2227.




Witty, bawdy, and with a deceptively innocent voice, San Francisco musician Rachel Lark is unlike most singer songwriters. Her sexually positive songs like “Warm, Bloody and Tender” and “It’s Hard to Be a Feminist and Still Want Dick” have earned her major props from critics, and she’s a regular guest on Dan Savage’s podcast, Lovecast. Admittedly, her music might not be for everyone, but for those who want gender equality and keep their sense of humor during the fight, Lark will quickly become a favorite. Sunday night she rocks Don Quixote’s with her multimedia rock opera Studies Have Shown. MAT WEIR

INFO: 7 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10/adv, $12/door. 335-2800.




It’s been five years since the last album of original material from Cat Power aka Chan Marshall. Sun relied heavily on synths and autotune, a departure for her that left open the question of what exactly Cat Power sounds like now. But it doesn’t really matter, because Cat Power has evolved into a musical force unto herself. When she started in the ’90s, her lo-fi indie-folk sound fit within a larger context of the era’s alternative scene, but by the end of the century, her hypnotic songs had taken on a character of their own, and every expansion of her sonic palette seems natural. AC

INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $35/gen, $50/gold. 423-8209.




For those who like to give big thanks and praise in the form of booty-shaking dance moves, look no further than Gappy Ranks. The London born Jamaican Dancehall artist first hit the major music scene with the dancehall collective Suncycle. After two albums, Gappy left the group in 2004, cutting his own path in the reggae scene. Thirteen years and seven releases later, Ranks also owns the label Hot Coffee Music, and has made a name for himself producing other reggae and dancehall artists like JBoog, Busy Signal and many more. Opening acts for Gappy Ranks include the 7th Street Band, and Rocker T, turning those Monday blues into the red, green, and gold of rasta. MW

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $13/adv, $15/door. 429-4135.



Monterey Bay ska, new wave and rock. Friday at Don Quixote’s


Renowned acoustic guitar fusion band. Friday at Kuumbwa


Grateful Dead tribute. Saturday at Don Quixote’s


DJ power-couple and friends benefit local mural project. Sunday at Moe’s Alley


Funk and jazz out of New Orleans. Tuesday at Catalyst

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