Music highlights for the week of August 16, 2017.
It’s not even news these days when a musician uses Kickstarter to fund their latest album—usually. But the fact that longtime alt-rocker Matthew Sweet jumped on the crowd-funding train for his latest album, Tomorrow Forever, explains why there’s been a six-year gap since his last release. His vision for Tomorrow Forever was to write an absurd number of songs (nearly 40!) and then cherry-pick the best of the best for this album. Seventeen made the record, and another 12 will be released as a bonus demo, Tomorrow’s Daughter, for Kickstarter donors. The music brings to mind his classic ’90s output, songs like “Daughter” that made him a semi-household name back in the alt-rock heyday. AARON CARNES
INFO: 8 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $25. 335-2800.
If you mistook Pokey LaFarge for a mid-20th-century artist, you’d be forgiven. The St. Louis-based singer-songwriter—whose throwback appearance includes short ties, suspenders and a hat tipped to the side—has been described as “halfway between a businessman and a janitor,” and he has a sound to match. For years, he was one of few musicians playing early country blues and jazz in the spirit of Tampa Red or Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong. His latest album, Manic Revelations, sees LaFarge expanding his sound to include more pop elements, while staying true to his rootsy, heartland style. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 423-1338.
The Santa Cruz Cypher Session—aka The Cyphy—returns with a crew of MCs that spit fire over chilled beats. The show features BP the Official, Young Nunnz, Lloky, Yung Vars, Rev Roc, DJ Kecko and more, but Berkeley’s Dave Steezy will be headlining—for those not familiar, check out his latest single, “Everything,” which dropped last month. This is one hip-hop heads will be talking about for weeks to come. MAT WEIR
INFO: 9 p.m. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $10 door. 423-7117.
In 1968, Bernard Collins and Donald Manning co-wrote “Satta Massa Gana,” which would become one of the most well-know and enduring reggae songs of all time. The two created the Abyssinians, a harmony-based roots trio that caught the attention of legendary Jamaican producer Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, who helped launch the group into the international spotlight. Though “Satta Massa Gana,” which is Amharic for “give thanks and praise” remains the group’s defining tune, the Abyssinians have contributed numerous albums and songs to the reggae canon, and inspired countless artists and acts. On Friday, Collins returns to Moe’s Alley for what promises to be an evening of praise, classic reggae grooves and harmony. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.
YELLOW SUBMARINE SINGALONG
Anyone who says that Ringo isn’t the most awesome Beatles member of all time is obviously willfully ignoring the classic Ringo-led “Yellow Submarine.” OK, maybe that’s not the best song the Fab Four ever wrote, but can you think of a Beatles song you’d rather be singing in the shower? Join Santa Cruz Performing Arts (led by hosts Ben Jammin and Arindam Krishna Das) in the full-on Yellow Submarine singalong. Extra points for dressing in wacky psychedelic costumes. AC
INFO: 7 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 423-8209.
COUNTRY & WESTERN BASH
We may be living through a golden age of Santa Cruz honkytonk. Have you noticed that, in addition to all of the great folk, roots and bluegrass acts, we have a legit classic country music scene here? On Saturday, some of the acts working the hardest to keep that scene hopping join forces to celebrate the birthday of Mischa Gasch, bass player for Miss Lonely Hearts and mastermind behind Western Wednesdays at the Crepe Place and the Tomboy Sessions video series. Gasch and his band are joined by Western swing standout act the Carolyn Sills Combo and emerging country hero Jesse Daniels and his band the Slow Learners. Get out your boots, y’all. CJ
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10/adv, $12/door. 335-2800.
It’s long been documented that English guitarist John Mayall was a huge influence on not just British blues, but also the ’60s British Invasion rock bands that would come to redefine the genre. Less known is the fact that L.A. guitarist Coco Montoya is a huge reason why Mayall was able to revive his career in the ’80s. Montoya had been playing since the ’70s, relatively unknown. But Mayhall saw the young musician performing in L.A. and asked him to join his newly reformed Bluesbreakers. The chemistry was incredible. Montoya stayed in the band for a decade, helping to bring a new generation to Mayhall’s British blues sound. Since leaving the Bluesbreakers, Montoya has led a successful solo career in which Santa Cruz (and Moe’s Alley) has been his home away from home. AC
INFO: 4 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.
MONTY ALEXANDER TRIO
Some jazz musicians make you think, and others make you dance. Jamaican-born pianist Monty Alexander belongs to the latter camp. Which isn’t to say he’s a lightweight. A consummate musician who landed in New York City in the mid-’60s and found an early champion in Frank Sinatra, he’s an ebulliently grooving player with a gorgeous touch and fertile harmonic imagination. After decades of playing straight-ahead jazz, he returned to his island roots with a singular jazz/reggae synthesis on a series of excellent albums. For his California concerts, he’s swinging with bassist Hassan Shakur and Haitian-American drummer Obed Calvaire. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $30/adv, $35/door. 427-2227.
An array of bands from Nirvana and Soundgarden to Mastodon and Karp have been influenced by the Melvins. They’ve been playing music for the last 34 years, have over 40 recordings under their belt, and show no signs of stopping. With their current line-up of Buzz “King Buzzo” Osborne, Dale Crover and Steven Shane McDonald, this legendary metal band will be playing the Catalyst Atrium—whaaaattt???—much to the excitement of local metalheads. They will be fresh off the Psycho Las Vegas weekend, and something tells us they’ll still have plenty of heavy tricks up their sleeves. MW
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20. 429-4135.
IN THE QUEUE
MISNER & SMITH
American roots music duo. Friday at Crepe Place
Renowned, Latin pop singer from Hermosillo, Mexico. Saturday at Catalyst
Old school honky-tonk. Sunday at Don Quixote’s
EYES ON THE SHORE
Tripped-out psych, rock and beats. Tuesday at Moe’s Alley
Stoner metal band from Wilmington, North Carolina. Tuesday at Catalyst