Live music highlights for the week of June 28, 2017
Although Phora might be a new name in mainstream hip-hop, he’s been a prominent figure in the underground since 2011, when he founded the record label Yours Truly. After several of his releases when to number one on iTunes, the 22-year-old signed to Warner Bros. Records in February of this year. He quickly got to work and dropped his latest single and video, “Rider,” last month. His melodic voice and passionate lyrics about life, love and music have earned him credibility in the hip-hop world often assigned to the likes of Hopsin, Slug, and J. Cole, among others. MAT WEIR
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $25-$110. 429-4135.
AUSTIN LOUNGE LIZARDS
You know how you’re not supposed to talk about politics and religion at the dinner table? Well you might want to avoid taking your family to an Austin Lounge Lizards concert while you’re at it. The Texas satirical folk-bluegrass group has been poking fun at right-wing politics and religion since 1980. Previous takedowns include “The Ballad of Ronald Reagan” and “Gingrich The Newt”—oh, what innocent times those were when they were the big scary Republican politicians we relentlessly made fun of. Who knows what silly songs the Lizards have planned for our current fearless leader. AARON CARNES
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $20. 335-2800.
Known as Uncle Willie on the islands, Willie K is one of the most treasured contemporary Hawaiian musicians. Able to play just about any style—including pop, traditional island music, jazz, blues, reggae, rock and even opera—multi-instrumentalist Willie K is especially attracted to the blues, the music he grew up listening to and playing. As he has put it, “Anyone who has been there since day one knows how much I love the blues … Playing the blues makes me happy, and everybody loves it when I do.” CJ
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.
QUINTRON + MISS PUSSYCAT
HBO’s Treme was an underrated show that highlighted the magnificent music culture of New Orleans. What was great was that they showcased some of the weirder bands that nonetheless help to define the town’s culture, like Quintron + Miss Pussycat. Watching the duo play their experimental music with crazy theatrical visuals in the context of the show makes perfect sense. Like the glorious roots music and jazz from the Big Easy, Quintron and Miss Pussycat are raw, authentic and entirely unique in their absolute strangeness. Also, they have puppets. You can’t argue with puppets. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $12. 429-69994.
KEITH GREENINGER & DAYAN KAI
Keith Greeninger is one of the quiet treasures of the Santa Cruz music scene—a standout musician with a consciousness that matches his impressive songwriting and guitar-playing chops. On Friday, he is joined on stage by one-time Santa Cruzan and beloved multi-instrumentalist Dayan Kai, who embodies the spirit of aloha wherever he goes. Longtime friends, Greeninger and Kai have a sound that encompasses folk, international, roots, island styles and more. On Friday, they hit the Kuumbwa on a tour that includes a main stage performance at the renowned Kate Wolf Festival. CJ
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25/gen, $45/gold. 427-2227.
Beginning as a MTV VJ in 1995, Simon Rex, aka Dirt Nasty, has had an incredibly successful career as a TV and film actor. It wasn’t until 2005 that Dirt Nasty was born, releasing his self-titled debut two years later. Today his comedy rap discography boasts six albums with a slew of collaborations with other risque and racy rappers like Mickey Avalon, Andy Milonakis and Smoov-E. The later just happens to be playing with Dirt Nasty at the Catalyst for a double dose of raunch, rap and good times. MW
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $17/adv, $20/door. 429-4135.
A nine-time Grammy-winning band, Grupo Fantasma is considered one of the most important and unique Latin outfits in the U.S. Blending traditional Latin styles and techniques with contemporary funk and rock sounds, the band has established itself as a player on the global music stage. Hailing from Austin, it’s known for its high-energy, genre-defying live shows that even caught the attention of the late legendary artist Prince, who tapped Grupo Fantasma to be his backing band on numerous occasions. On Saturday, the party comes to Moe’s Alley. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.
NRBQ is the kind of band that attracts other bands as fans, from obscure indie bands like Yo La Tengo to mainstream legends like Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney. And they’ve built a 50-plus year career on the fringes of rock ’n’ roll. Formed in 1966, the group has taken a mostly accessible rockabilly-meets-Beatles-pop sound and infused subtle odd elements, like clever weavings of country, jazz, and R&B into the music. Truly, NRBQ is one of the greatest underground rock bands that the United States has ever produced. After 50 years, they are still rocking out clubs with a ton of passion and energy. AC
INFO: 8 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $25. 335-2800.
There’s a wonderfully off-kilter symmetry to the creative journey of Mohammad Firoozi Dashtestani, the guiding spirit of celebrated Austin world music band Atash. After singing rock songs in phonetic English in his native Iran as a teenager, he came of age as a musician in Texas belting Farsi lyrics to a swirling mélange of Near Eastern cadences, rock ’n’ roll energy and jazz improvisation. His band Atash is an Austin institution, and the talent-laden incarnation of the band he brings to Northern California includes Lebanese-born accordion maestro Elias Lammam, Garaj Mahal guitarist Fareed Haque and Uzbeki percussion master Doyra Abbos Kosimov. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 8 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $10/adv, $15/door. 479-1854.
IN THE QUEUE
Dark and foreboding mix of Tex-Mex, rock and rockabilly. Thursday at Crepe Place
Electro synth-pop. Thursday at Catalyst
“Afro-galactic hip-hop.” Thursday at Moe’s Alley
World fusion rooted in Moroccan traditional music. Friday at Don Quixote’s
Bay Area-based chamber pop. Saturday at Crepe Place