Femi Kuti

Music Picks: August 1-7

Live music highlights for the week of August 1, 2018.

Live music highlights for the week of August 1, 2018.




One glance at Santoros and their combination of a Seeds-era psychedelic look and traditional Mariachi band outfits, and you’ll probably ask yourself what exactly this band is up to. Well, the L.A. outfit delivers surfy-poppy garage rock tunes packaged in a surreal haze. There’s also a subtle Latin influence in the music, and the members are proud of their Mexican-American heritage—they promote themselves as a Mexican American garage surf rock band—so there’s a lot to love here. AARON CARNES

INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.




For many deadheads, it’s still hard to believe Jerry Garcia left us 23 years ago, because his songs continue to fill the air. For his ninth annual Jerry Garcia Bluegrass Birthday Bash Tribute Concert, David Holodiloff is bringing his acoustic bluegrass band to Michael’s on Main for a night of music spanning Garcia’s career. From the Grateful Dead to JGB, Old and in the Way, and more, party on what would’ve been Garcia’s 76th birthday with his music reinterpreted in ways that the man himself would smile, smile, smile about. MAT WEIR

INFO: 7:30 p.m. Michael’s On Main, 2591 S Main St., Soquel. $12/adv, $15/door. 497-9777.




Country legend Junior Brown has been playing honky tonk clubs since the ’60s. He has an affinity for traditional country music, but he’s not stuck in the past. In his song “Hang Up And Drive,” for instance, he sings about how everyone is on their cell phones when they should be paying attention to the road. He also plays the “guit-steel,” a double-neck instrument combining a standard electric guitar and a lap steel. While the songs are basically old-timey country, his guit-steel, gives them a psychedelic vibe. AC

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.




Ralph Anybody (aka Jeff Juliano) is a familiar name around Santa Cruz. The longtime KPIG personality and DJ with penchant for comedy celebrated 25 years at the station last year, and is a core part of what makes KPIG so special. This Saturday, Ralph teams up with comedian Fred Reiss and musicians Jeffrey Halford and Michael Gaither for a night of music and comedy to benefit Jacob’s Heart and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County. CAT JOHNSON

INFO: 7:30 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25-$35. 427-2227.




Femi Kuti has a lot to live up to. He’s the eldest son of Fela Kuti, the pioneer of Afrobeat. Also, his mom is Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, a political leader and women’s activist in Nigeria. But Femi has become a political and musical force to be reckoned with. He’s been playing music professionally since the late ’70s, and he’s still releasing stellar albums. His latest, One People One World, mixes Afrobeat, jazz and soul, and balances his usual political ferocity with songs about love, humanity and hope for the future. AC

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $29/adv, $32/door. 429-4135.




To some, Shooter Jennings is a bit of a mystery. Born the son of country music royalty, he followed in his father’s footsteps as a musician. However, instead of sticking to honkytonk and outlaw country, Jennings blazed his own path by unapologetically blending raw rock ’n’ roll and even experimental music into his reinvented country sound. After two decades, Jennings is still as bold and brazen as ever, prepping to release his latest album, Shooter, on Aug. 10. MW

INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.




Hailing from Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, singer-songwriter Alicia Villarreal is a longtime favorite of Ranchera and Norteño music fans. She has performed with numerous bands, most notably Grupo Límite, which she fronted for eight years before leaving to pursue a solo career. A multi-Latin-Grammy-winning artist, Villareal remains a giant of the Mexican pop music scene. CAT JOHNSON

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $45/adv, $65/door. 423-1338.




Longtime friends and local folk heroes Keith Greeninger and Dayan Kai have both crafted solo careers that see them playing across the states (including Kai’s current home of Maui, Hawaii), impressing audiences with award-winning songwriting, virtuosic musicianship, and a heart-first approach to music and life. Greeninger is a familiar entity on the Americana circuit, having toured and performed for more than three decades. Kai is rightly described as a “true musical force of nature”—a multi-instrumentalist with a mastery over countless instruments, despite having been born without sight. This Sunday, the two join forces for what promises to be an intimate, heart-warming afternoon. CJ

INFO: 2 p.m. Michael’s on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-9777.




Over the years, Kim Nalley has brilliantly evoked inimitable masters such as Nina Simone and Billie Holiday in various stage productions and thematic shows of her own design, but she’s never sought to sound like anyone but her own glorious self. A powerhouse blues vocalist who can make a double entendre blush and a jazz singer who can caress a ballad or trade lickity-split licks with her bassist, Nalley has been one of the Bay Area’s definitive jazz artists for more than two decades. Backed by her longtime rhythm section with the invaluable pianist Tammy Hall, redoubtable bassist Michael Zisman and unfailingly musical drummer Kent Bryson, Nalley is in the midst of a series of gigs with tenor sax great Houston Person, a brawny but lyrical stylist who has spent most of his career blowing soulfully in organ combos or accompanying some of the best vocalists in the business. ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $31.50-$36.75. 427-2227.

Contributor at Good Times |

Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on community, collaboration, the future of work and music. She's a regular contributor to Shareable and her writing has appeared in dozens of publications, including Yes! Magazine, No Depression, UTNE Reader, Mother Jones and Launchable Mag. More info: catjohnson.co. Follow her on Twitter at @CatJohnson.

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