BOB LOG III
It’s hard to know what to focus on: the fact that Bob Log III plays guitar and drums simultaneously, in the vein of an eccentric Pacific Avenue street performer, or the fact that he looks like a sci-fi Evil Knievel. Actually, both attributes work nicely with each other, and so does his music: a frantic, yet somehow robotic take on the classic American blues sound. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 429-6994.
BIG WILD & PHANTOMS
In a world filled with DJs and producers standing behind their laptops or mixers, pushing buttons, there are at least two acts that are trying to set the bar a little bit higher. Big Wild is a one-man musical experience who plays live instruments mixed and looped into dance beats, while maintaining his pop sensibility. Phantoms is a duo of actors who met and decided music might be their path. They play live instruments to create an electronic sound, and while that sounds odd, they think they’re onto something big. They must be, considering that their remix of Rihanna’s “Work” hit 7.8 million listens on soundcloud.com and was the only one blessed by Ri-Ri’s camp to be released before the official remixes dropped. MAT WEIR
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $18/door. 429-4135.
Long before Americana music had award shows and top 10 lists, the Blasters were making music that laid the foundations for the genre and inspired countless bands that would follow. With a driving sound that crisscrosses through country, rock, rockabilly and the blues, and an ethos that draws as much from punk rock as it does from classic roots music, the Blasters opened up new musical territory that remains part of our contemporary landscape. Led by vocalist-guitarist Phil Alvin and filled out with drummer Bill Bateman, bassist John Bazz, and guitarist Keith Wyatt, the band brings honest, rocking music to appreciators of American roots and rock. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $19/door. 423-1338.
A favorite of local folkies, roots fans and KPIG listeners, Keith Greeninger is a quiet standout of the Bay Area singer-songwriter scene. His songs cover a range of topics, but all start with Greeninger’s humble heart and expand out from there. The award-winning artist balances his humanity with tight guitar work, an engaging stage presence and impressive songwriting chops. On Friday, he joins forces with California jam band Achilles Wheel. CJ
INFO: 8 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $20/adv, $24/door. 335-2800.
What do you get with a group of musicians who loves everything from punk and ska to electronic hip-hop, and don’t practice? The one and only Gnarboots. Formed in 2009 by members of Link 80, Shinobu and other Bay Area bands, the band released its first full-length, A.L.B.U.M. on legendary indie label Asian Man Records in 2012. Two years later, Gnarboots dropped the Dark Moon EP, a five-track mix of electro-punk, quiet ballads and even a creepy acoustic track from the perspective of a rundown clown. Gnarboots doesn’t tour very often, so this Saturday will be a real treat for anyone who loves the absurd. Plus, Good Times freelance writer Aaron Carnes is in the band, and he is a maniac live, no joke. MW
INFO: 9 p.m. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117.
Stax Records co-owner Al Bell once said that the Monophonics were one of the best soul bands he’d ever seen perform. What’s most remarkable about that statement is that soul is only one facet of the San Francisco band’s sound—they also mix ’60s psychedelic elements from bands like the Zombies, the Beatles, and the Beach Boys into those funky grooves. The results are spectacular—this group knows how to create an infectious beat, while seeding it with trippy sonic layers. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 479-1854.
Greg Brown stands alone among folk singers. A lovably gruff songwriter with decades of stories to share, Brown would rather be fishing alone in his favorite streams than dealing with the endless promotional to-do’s of being an artist. As he told me last year, he writes songs all the time, but spends much of his time “just sitting around, looking at the sky.” This is the Greg Brown we love, a master of his trade and a man of the people. Fans who have followed him all these years take comfort in the fact that every once in a while, Brown loads up the guitar and a new batch of songs and hits the road. CJ
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $30/gen, $45/gold. 423-8209.
On one level, Still Dreaming—which features Joshua Redman, Ron Miles, Scott Colley and Brian Blade—is a tribute to a tribute band. It celebrates the music of Old and New Dreams, a beloved ensemble that recorded four albums between 1976-87, and featured saxophonist Dewey Redman, trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Eddie Blackwell. The four musicians, all sadly departed, were deeply connected to Ornette Coleman, and each of four masters in Still Dreaming is inextricably linked to their instrumental forefather (in Redman’s case the paternal line is literal). ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 and 9 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $40/adv, $45/door. 427-2227.
In late 2015, a video of New York punk-ska band Leftover Crack went viral. The band played a couple Operation Ivy songs in a small DIY space with the actual Op Ivy singer himself, Jesse Michaels. Part of the reason people went nuts for the video was that Michaels rarely gets on stage and belts out his classic tunes. But it was also because Leftover Crack did such an amazing job playing the songs. Of all the punk rock bands that still play ska, this is the perfect one to take on Op Ivy. Its music is aggressive, passionate, and deeply political. That’s why the band has been an underground smash for nearly two decades. AC
INFO: 7 p.m. Appleton Grill, 410 Rodriguez St., Watsonville. $15. 724-5555.
IN THE QUEUE
SAMMY MILLER & THE CONGREGATION
Energetic, “joyful jazz.” Thursday at Kuumbwa
Reggae seven-piece out of the South Bay. Friday at Catalyst
HARRY & THE HITMEN
Santa Cruz favorite hosts an album release party. Friday at Moe’s Alley
EVE OF EDEN
Bay Area folk-rock. Saturday at Crepe Place
Tribute to Sublime. Tuesday at Catalyst