Live music highlights for the week of October 11, 2017.
The first ever episode of Portlandia includes a skit where the entire joke was that Portland is a city where it’s still the ’90s. Portland four-piece alt-rock band the Breaking apparently saw this skit and thought it was documentary footage. The band bio talks about how the city has become a “cultural mecca” and “faddish,” but that they stick to the town’s roots, which is apparently ’90s brooding, introspective pop-rock. I can’t speak to whether this is an accurate depiction of the “authentic Portland sound,” but clearly the Breaking loves the ’90s, particularly the stuff with lots of minor keys and hearts firmly stapled to their sleeves. Aaron Carnes
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.
Usually when the topic of “Hawaiian slack guitar” is discussed, an old guy with traditional songs is at the center of the discussion. Makana is not only young and innovative in his approach to this traditional, laid-back Hawaiian style of music, he completely redefines it. For starters, his music isn’t exactly mellow. Makana writes call-to-action worthy political anthems. He appropriately refers to his genre as “slack rock.” He’s written about the Occupy movement, Bernie Sanders, and has been a Ted Talks presenter. Many people have heard his music as the soundtrack for the film The Descendants, but I like to think “We Are the Many,” his song about the Occupy movement, is a better representation of what he’s about. AC
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Kuumbwa, 320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25/gen, $40/gold. 427-2227.
When talking about surf music, two names come to mind: the Beach Boys and Dick Dale. For over half a century, the latter has kept his crown as the King of Surf Guitar through his relentless touring and distinct sound. He is credited as one of the first American musicians to not incorporate heavy fuzz into his tracks, but expanded on a number of intricate scales into pop music. His 1962 classic “Misirlou” stands as such a surf rock standard that Quentin Tarantino used it as the main theme in his legendary 1994 film, Pulp Fiction. MAT WEIR
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $35/adv, $40/door. 429-4135.
Fresh off a gig playing the mainstage at the Strawberry Music Festival, Risky Biscuits bring the show to Felton. A roots outfit from the Sierra Nevada foothills, the Biscuits—you’ve got to love a good play on words for a band name—traverse bluegrass, newgrass, folk and Americana with tight harmonies, driving instrumentation, and a whole lot of mountain soul. The six-piece springs from traditional bluegrass, but the members add a modern twist and relaxed, playful spirit that set them apart from the pack. Also on the bill: San Francisco newgrass band the Good Bad. CJ
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10. 335-2800.
LEFTOVERS, BRAIN FLUID, MONKEYHANDS, and NORTH COAST ROVERS
It was a dark and windy night when Vince D’Andrea was heading home to Felton with his bass in the bed of his pickup truck. Taking flight, the bass came to a tragic end, which is why a quadruple bill of bands he’s performed with is coming together at Don Quixote’s and donating half the proceeds to the D’Andrea Bass Memorial Fund (shh, don’t tell Vince, it’s a surprise). He’ll be playing saxophone with the rockin’ roots reggae combo the Leftovers, and drums with the roots reggae band Brain Food (unless another drummer shows up, in which case he’ll take over on bass). He’s played with the eclectic group Monkeyhands and Celtic rockers North Coast Rovers in the past, too, and they joined the roster to get him back in the groove. His comrades are hoping to raise enough to equip his truck bed with a restraint system to avoid future catastrophes. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 8 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10. 335-2800.
Fans of A Prairie Home Companion recognize Sarah Jarosz as a regular on the reinvented, Chris Thile-hosted radio show. The multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter from Wimberley, Texas makes frequent appearances and impresses the audience with her stunning voice, easy handle on guitar, mandolin and banjo, and natural lyrical abilities. Jarosz has been in the spotlight since she was in her teens and she’s now what the Austin Chronicle called “one of the most stirring musicians of her generation.” On Friday, Jarosz and company hit Santa Cruz in support of the band’s latest album, Undercurrent. CJ
INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $28/gen, $40/gold. 423-8209.
A Honolulu-born singer-songwriter who now calls Minneapolis home, Mason Jennings weaves intimate tales with acoustic guitarwork that calls to mind Jack Johnson, Ray Lamontagne and Iron & Wine. But his penchant for historical and literary themes gives him an added dimension and sets him apart from his contemporaries. He’s perhaps best described as an artist whose medium is music. In 1997, Mason recorded his first album on an analog four-track in the living room of a rented home. He’s since dropped 20-plus records and remains a constant presence on the folk-rock landscape. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 423-1338.
Singer/songwriter Shawn Mullins might not be a household name, but you definitely know his work. OK, so maybe only the coolest of cool know his college radio trio, Shawn Eric Mullins with Twice Removed, but anyone who was alive in 1998 will distinctly remember his radio hit, “Lullaby.” Mullins’ work continued to permeate the pop realm through soundtracks to hit TV shows like Dawson’s Creek and Scrubs, solidifying his place in American culture. The Grammy nominated artist is touring off his ninth studio album, My Stupid Heart. MW
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854
Josh Garrels’ roots are pretty odd and diverse. After rocking out in punk bands in his teens, he fell in love with hip-hop, and then he found Jesus and then discovered the joys of lo-fi bedroom folk recordings. So, to understand his music is to fully grasp all of these elements. He plays music that is at once orchestral folk music, but is also rooted in hip-hop, and yet clearly not only explores Christian themes lyrically, but has this uplifting vibe that brings to mind feel-good gospel music. Sound confusing? It’s not once you listen to it. Garrels brings it all together quite naturally. AC
INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $24/gen, $35/gold. 423-8209.
IN THE QUEUE
Horn-driven groove and soul. Wednesday at Moe’s Alley
Southern rock and soul. Thursday at Moe’s Alley
YOUTH ROCK CONCERT
10 local bands benefit Be Natural Music. Saturday at Don Quixote’s
Guitar virtuoso and five-time Grammy nominee. Tuesday at Kuumbwa
DAMIAN “JR. GONG” MARLEY
Reggae sensation and son of the late Bob Marley. Tuesday at Catalyst