Santa Cruz County live entertainment picks for the week of Sept. 4
You always know a band is gonna rock when its name is a Walt Whitman reference. The Yawpers are raucous, a little messy and thankfully not named after one of Whitman’s sex poems (they could have been named “Fruits of the Gushing Showers,” which … ew). Throughout the band’s latest album Human Question, the Colorado three-piece sounds a bit rockabilly, a bit punk and, on the maraca-rocking title track, a little bit like British post-rockers Clinic. Still, the Yawpers are very much American in spirit, roving and free enough to make Whitman proud. MIKE HUGUENOR
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $8 adv/$12 door. 479-1854.
THE HOT SARDINES
Like a hooch-fueled, wee-hours party that just keeps gaining steam as the sun comes up, the Hot Sardines infuses irrepressible energy and a boisterous spirit of fun into the pop songs of the 1920s and early ’30s. Co-led by French-born vocalist Elizabeth Bougerol and pianist Evan Palazzo, the New York combo has earned a huge and avid following with a theatrical approach to early jazz that avoids kitsch and naked nostalgia. Situated at the crossroads where vaudeville and Storyville collide, the New Orleans-inflected combo is touring in conjunction with its eighth release, the winningly rambunctious live album Welcome Home, Bon Voyage. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $36.75 adv/$42 door. 427-2227.
The roots of modern Jamaican music begin with the DJ, or the selector. Back in the ’50s and ’60, it was the DJ that was the rockstar, spinning all the latest and greatest tracks. Some DJs were so cautious not to be upstaged, they’d scratch the name off of the record so no competing DJ could steal their hot cut. The DJs may not dominate Jamaica the way they once did, but the respect for the craft is there, as is a high expectation that the selector will spin all the greatest tunes. Yaadcore is one of the island’s hottest right now, focusing on roots-reggae revival tracks. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $8 adv/$12 door. 479-1854.
Singer-songwriter Jean Rohe’s new song collection Sisterly is so well-produced, it’s like sweet honey for the ear. So easily digested, in fact, that one may initially miss the covert key changes, the offbeat arrangements and the biting lyrics that lie in wait—seemingly harmless, but ready to sting and leave a mark. Rohe’s album explores the power dynamics within intimacy and social structures, and the subtle shifts in her compositions mirror how acts of domination aren’t always so obvious and extreme. Sometimes they’re small, subtle maneuvers, like how a tossed cigarette can incite a forest fire. AMY BEE
INFO: 8 p.m. Lille Aeske, 13160 Hwy. 9, Boulder Creek. $20. 703-4183.
Attention old hip-hop heads. If you rant and rave about how new rap is all garbage, you need to set aside your bias for a moment and give Aries a listen. I know you can’t stand that it’s all sing-songy, mumbled and emotional, but hear me out: those elements aren’t necessarily terrible if you hear an artist with skill do them. That’s why I suggest you set aside your deep belief that all rappers must spit like Nas, and check out Aries. He brings a complex set of emotions to the music: disaffected, tender, even a bit of braggadocio. Listen, rap has changed. These kids are turning the genre on its head. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15. 423-1338.
Sara June is currently doing the L.A. thing—which is to say, everything. Along with her own comedy, she writes and hosts shows while directing anything from short animations to other people’s music videos. It seems all that hard work has paid off. June has been featured on Indiewire, the Earwolf podcast, the CW, and SF Sketchfest. She’s even had some videos go viral, like “How to Cheat (With Your Favorite TV Shows).” She will be performing with funny man and provocateur Jake Flores, whose brand of comedy once got him raided by the U.S. government. MAT WEIR
INFO: 7 & 9 p.m. DNA’s Comedy Lab, 155 S. River St., Santa Cruz. $20 adv/$25 door. 900-5123.
If you’re looking for soulful R&B that plunges the depths of personal struggle one moment, and swoops and swoons among the highest highs the next, Kiana Lede is your new obsession. Lede’s velvety smooth vocals add bounce to bubbly dance tunes too charming to resist. When things get real, Lede turns the bounce down to a low simmer for confessional takes on anxiety and past relationships. Her songs may undulate from upbeat to moody, but it’s a fun ride, and Lede maintains a core message of self-discovery and empowerment throughout the journey. AB
INFO: 9 p.m., Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $25. 423-1338.