Live music highlights for the week of June 6, 2018.
Danish post-punkers Iceage got their start a decade ago when the members were still in high school. In the past decade, the group has managed to insert something subtle into their mix of Birthday Party-meets-Bauhaus punk: gentleness. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the Danish rockers pound out guitar-driven songs with the delicacy of a flower falling slowly onto a bed of leaves. Without all of the aggression that normally comes from all-male bands baring their soul, the music catches you off guard in a spectacular way. AC
INFO: 8 p.m. Flynn’s Cabaret & Steakhouse, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $15/adv, $20/door. 335-2800.
L.A.’s Yeek has a video for his tune “I’m Not Ready” that’s jam-packed with a lot of culturally potent imagery—everything from aged video footage of kids skateboarding inside of an empty pool to him on stage flying solo with just a mic and working the crowd into a frenzy.You also see shots of him rocking a guitar punk-rock style. What the hell is this Yeek guy even doing? Let’s just say this video actually downplays the scatterbrain mass-attack of conflicting influences that is in his music. It’s lo-fi indie-pop, kind of rap, sort of R&B, a little bit of punk. Whatever he’s doing, it’s catchy, and is catching on. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $14/door. 429-6994.
WILLY TEA TAYLOR
Willy Tea Taylor comes through Santa Cruz a lot. He’s not exactly local, but comes from semi-nearby Oakdale—and Santa Cruz loves the kind of Americana-roots-heart-on-the-sleeve music he makes. Two things he’s known for are his epic beard, and his work as the frontman of Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit, which also rolls through town quite a bit. But to catch Willy Tea Taylor as a solo act is to see the singer in a much more intimate setting, and to get a more personal expression via his tender acoustic side. There are some intensely emotional songs here that will move you to tears if you happen to be a human with a heartbeat. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 429-4135.
For years, singer-songwriter Nicki Bluhm and her husband Tim Bluhm were partners in music and in life. In 2015, however, the couple split up. The pain, loneliness and grief of that experience are all over Bluhm’s new album, To Rise You Gotta Fall. Bluhm turned to music to get through her own hard times, and, in turn, she shares her experiences on the album, which was recorded at the legendary Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis. As she says in a trailer video for the record, “I’ve captured all those really intense emotions and put them into songs. If I can help someone else get through their pain, that’s my goal … Music makes you feel less alone.” CJ
INFO: 8 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $22/door. 479-1854.
Born and raised in Harlem, Smoke DZA is a product of ’80s and ’90s hip-hop living in the time of mumble rappers, and still delivering the solid beats and rhymes we deserve. Staying true to the classics of hip-hop that created the genre, he expands on new lyrical horizons and artists—collaborating with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and Joey Bada$$ to create a sound that pushes towards the future while solidifying his roots in what made the music great. MAT WEIR
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $18/door. 429-4135.
ROOTS / COUNTRY
PETUNIA AND THE VIPERS
Petunia and the Vipers are no strangers to poetic description. The five-piece outfit has been dubbed “creative generators and innovators … defining the cutting edge,” “a total one-off,” “left-field genius,” and, my personal favorite from the Blasters’ Phil Alvin, “Petunia and the mutherfucking Vipers!” Rooted in American roots traditions, the band branches out into avant-garde, steampunk, jazz and rock to reimagine the boundaries of Americana and breathe new life into styles popularized by American music icons like the Carter Family, Hank Williams and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Also on the bill: local outlaw country favorite Miss Lonely Hearts. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10/adv, $13/door. 429-6994.
CASH AND KING
In 2018, musicians are back to releasing singles online just as previous generations did through seven-inch vinyl records. But to truly grasp what it was like during the fledgling days of rock ’n’ roll, look no further than Cash and King. For one exclusive night, Steven Kent and his band will rage through hit singles from two kings of pop music, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. For those of us who couldn’t be there from the beginning, this is an affordable time machine to capture the moments we wish we had witnessed. MW
INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $28/gen, $40/gold. 423-8209.
When Brian Blade released his first album with the Fellowship Band in 1998, the protean drummer occupied a singular space in American music—a swirling, grooving vortex that inexorably attracted artists like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell as well as powerhouse jazz improvisers like Joshua Redman, Kenny Garrett and Mark Turner. But it was joining saxophone legend Wayne Shorter’s all-star quartet in 2000 that lifted Blade into the jazz pantheon as one of the era’s definitive drummers. All the while he’s kept his love of folk and gospel music as the guiding force in the Fellowship, a passionately lyrical ensemble that released its fifth album last year, Body and Shadow (Blue Note). Blade performs the album’s cast, featuring newcomer Dave Devine on guitar, and founding members Jon Cowherd (piano and harmonium), Chris Thomas (bass), Myron Waldon (alto sax and clarinet) and Melvin Butler (tenor sax). ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $31.50/adv, $36.75/door. 427-2227.
DEEP DARK WOODS
An alt-country outfit from Saskatoon, the largest city in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, Deep Dark Woods is one of the best kept secrets in roots music. Led by frontman Ryan Boldt, the band gracefully merges gothic folk, Appalachian music traditions and rock. The resulting songs are spooky, sad and lovely tales of plagues, murder, prison, loss, death—you know, all the stuff that makes good roots music so compelling. Bridging traditional sounds from across North America with a style that appeals to contemporary music lovers, Deep Dark Woods is an under-appreciated gem of the roots scene. CJ
INFO: 8 p.m. Michael’s on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $15. 479-9777.
IN THE QUEUE
Latin Grammy winning gypsy jazz outfit. Thursday at Kuumbwa
Singer-songwriter out of Boston. Friday at Flynn’s Cabaret
Rising star of reggae. Friday at Moe’s Alley
World-renowned guitarist. Sunday at Michael’s on Main
ULI JON ROTH
Metal pioneer and former Scorpions lead guitarist. Tuesday at Catalyst