Live music highlights for the week of Nov. 7, 2018.
Enzo the turtle must burn down the sun in order to save his planet. That’s the storyline of Tnertle’s new album, Burning Down the Sun, released this week. Full of cosmic vibes and aural exploration, the band’s blend of electro-funk and hip-hop is stronger than ever. They believe in the redemptive power of a live show, and it’s the riveting horn section that absorbs the dynamic energy of electronic music and transforms it into a living thing, giving it a buoyancy and vitality often missing in purely digital sounds. Which is exactly what Enzo will need to save his world. AMY BEE
INFO: 9 p.m., Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8/adv, $10/door. 429-6994.
Todd Rundgren’s resume reads something like a Jackson Pollock painting. He was in the influential psychedelic band Nazz in the ’60s, then went on to make an “interactive” album of hundreds of one-second clips (including Rundgren rapping). His ’70s hits “Hello It’s Me” and “We Gotta Get You a Woman” are classics of a cozy sort of piano-and-organ rock subgenre, while in the ’80s he composed for Pee Wee’s Playhouse. His appearance at the Rio Theatre is billed as “An Unpredictable Evening,” so he may even pull a few songs from his 1985 album composed entirely of vocal samples. MIKE HUGUENOR
INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $39. 423-8209.
Any Santa Cruzan with even a slight finger on the pulse of the scene knows the power of local psych supergroup Supernaut. For the rest of you living in your caves, this trio burst onto the scene in 2014, and throughout the years has bewitched audiences with tales of madness, magic and mayhem—culminating in their debut self-titled album, released last year. They’ll be joined at Flynn’s Cabaret by Los Gatos funk and blues ensemble the Summit Boys. MAT WEIR
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Flynn’s Cabaret, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10/adv, $12/door. 335-2800.
Forget about Pusha T’s public beef with Drake for a moment. His latest album Daytona is his best to date, and definitely a contender for hip-hop album of the year. It’s a tightly wound Kanye-produced record that shirks Pusha’s recent flirtation with pop hooks and goes back to hip-hop fundamentals. Pusha has a knack for conversational bite, which fits comfortably on top of Kanye’s oddball avant-rap beats. The seven songs are a direct, emotive expression of his world: hustling, selling drugs and buying expensive things. It’s a short cutting-edge record that exists on its own island. AARON CARNES
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $35/adv, $38/door. 423-1338.
MELVIN SEALS AND JGB
You may know Melvin Seals as the Hammond-organ-player extraordinaire, or maybe as the heir to the Jerry Garcia Band. Either way, he’s an onstage force for lovers of groove-heavy jam band tunes. He started playing with Garcia in 1980 and stayed in the band until the guitarist’s death in 1995. Seals immediately started up JGB as a way to keep the fire lit. Nowadays, he plays under the moniker Melvin Seals and JGB—and he’s earned it. AC
INFO: 9 p.m., Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.
Caitlin Jemma has had plenty of time to consider the expanse of night sky, its panoply of stars and hazy configurations of cosmic dust. In a live video, she describes a youth of celebrating solstices and holding family talent shows on the days most visibly affected by the Earth’s place in the universe. The folk-by-way-of-soul singer’s voice has mountainous twang, and winds its way around some heartbreaking melodies in her songs of wanderers, drifters and migrants. MH
INFO: 8 p.m. The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.
When local technical death rockers Decrepit Birth played the Glass House in Pomona in mid-October, lead singer Bill Robinson broke his leg in a stage dive gone wrong. But it came as no surprise to their fans when they announced that they’d continue “even if we have to wheel Bill out in a wheelchair.” Decrepit Birth showed the world how tough Santa Cruz really is, and at this show they’ll play with eight other heavy-hitting bands for a full day of headbanging fun. MW
INFO: 4 p.m. Appleton Grill Event Lounge, 410 Rodriguez St., Watsonville. $25adv/$30door. 724-5555.
Slide guitar master and eight-time Grammy-nominated producer Roy Rogers is no stranger to unusual collaborations. He brought out the best in elemental bluesman John Lee Hooker and spent almost a decade touring and recording with ex-Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek on the Translucent Blues project. But Rogers has never tackled anything quite like StringShot, an ensemble that melds three singular voices into a protean pan-American supergroup. Featuring Paraguayan-born violinist/harpist Carlos Reyes, and Brazilian guitar goddess and vocalist Badi Assad, StringShot is in the process of translating tunes created in the studio for StringShot—Blues & Latin into vehicles for live exploration. They’ll be joined by Steve Campitelli, the percussionist best known for his work with Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $36.75/adv, $42/door. 427-2227.
Indie-pop sweethearts Sure Sure have no tricks up their sleeves. Instead, they play straightforward, sometimes breezy, but always catchy tunes which rely on good songwriting rather than dramatics. Sure Sure is willing to occasionally throw in a tiny jam or two to emphasize the mood or enhance their underdog sexiness, but ultimately it’s the bright, addictive hooks and fetching lyrics which propels them into the indie-star stratosphere. Basically, if this were the early ’90’s everyone’s check-this-shit-out mixtape would have one of their songs on it. AB
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $14/door. 423-1338.