Santa Cruz is indubitably a town that takes to a certain thread of fusion jam bands. Whether they be local products or artists coming through on tour, head out to any given Santa Cruz venue on any given night, and there’s a good chance you’re going to cross something funky, something danceable and (perhaps) something reggae-derived. Matt Masih and The Messengers is a band which easily falls into this category upon first inspection, but the six-piece’s frontman insists there’s much more to the equation. “There’s definitely a singer-songwriter background,” explains multi-instrumentalist Matt Masih. “The lyrics are involved with the shape and outline of the song,” more than most jam bands. Indeed, the project began about two years ago as the sort-of bedroom songs of Masih, who retains most of the creative control in the band. Though there’s room for the rest of the group to inject its own funky flavor—particularly the relatively new horn section—Masih’s songwriting process clearly keeps The Messengers grounded in pop sensibilities.
As does the guitarist and vocalist’s musical ethos. “Our goal is to reach the hearts of our listeners,” says Masih. “We want to lift spirits, take the music to the people.” The band actually just recorded its first full-length album in the fall, a live recording process that took only two days—an attempt to capture the live essence of Matt Masih and the Messengers. In the coming weeks, they’ll be literally taking their music to the people by releasing the record’s first single, “Textin’ Me,” to fans on Facebook. In the meantime, they’ll continue truckin’ up and down California, which has yielded sold- out shows at venues like Hollywood’s Roxy, and an opening gig here in their home town for Ozomatli.
INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, April 30. Fernwood Resort, 47200 Highway 1, Big Sur. No Cover. 667-2422.