Music Picks June 1—7

Local music for the week of June 1, 2016





Happy Valley Band plays “machine deconstructions of popular tunes, filtered through the brain of a computer, and re-performed by humans with intense energy.” What that means to other humans is that works by pop megastars such as Madonna, James Brown, Patsy Cline and Elvis get stretched, smashed, sliced into pieces and reconfigured into spooky and experimental shadows of themselves. Sound weird? It definitely is. It’s also mind-expanding and relaxing … if you’re open to such things. If you like free jazz and experimental music, you’ll love this. CAT JOHNSON

INFO: 7:30 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10. 335-2800.




Any gig that brings the brilliant drum explorer Kenny Wollesen back to Santa Cruz, where he grew up, is welcome. But when it’s a trio led by guitar star Julian Lage, featuring bass master Scott Colley—well, that’s reason to celebrate. The group recently released a quietly breathtaking album, Arclight, that’s destined to land on many “best jazz recordings of the year” lists. At 28, Santa Rosa-raised Lage has spent more than half his life as a working musician, and his evolution from prodigy to seasoned professional has been a marvel to behold. In recent years, he’s recorded acclaimed duo albums with pianist Fred Hersch, guitarist Nels Cline, and guitarist/vocalist Chris Eldridge. But Arclight captures a new chapter, with Lage bringing his finely calibrated touch to a vintage-sounding Danocaster. ANDREW GILBERT

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



There’s a lot of fun music out there to cut a rug to, but can anything be better than some prohibition-era old-timey jazz? This was the pop music of the ’20s, and man did they know how to write a catchy, swinging ditty! Locals Post Street Peddlers evoke this time period with their seven-piece ensemble. There are horns, clarinet, washboard, piano, the whole nine yards. It’s never silly or ironic. They love this music and do a good job of showing why it was so popular back before rock ’n’ roll took over. AARON CARNES

INFO: 8 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10. 335-2800.




On Friday Moe’s Alley welcomes back one of reggae’s premiere vocal groups, the Itals. Keith Porter, Ronnie Davis and Lloyd Ricketts formed the group in 1976 but have performed together since the 1960s when they originally met in defunct group the Westmorelites. In the past four decades, the Itals cut a number of essential albums for any collection, such as Give Me Power. While Porter is currently the only remaining original member, he continues the Itals message of love and strength with his children, Darian and Kada. They are touring in support of their latest release, Let’s Get It On, a reggae tribute to the classic sounds of R&B. MAT WEIR

INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 479-1854.



With 16 studio albums, 29 singles, a legion of fans and 36 years of intellectual rebellion, Bad Religion might just be the most famous punk band in the world. Starting out as a humble high school band full of pissed-off teenagers ready to make a change, Bad Religion has stayed true to its roots even while gaining radio popularity. Any self-respecting punk has probably already seen these guys at least once. However, to all those virgins who haven’t moshed in a BR pit, this Friday’s show is the perfect opportunity, as the boys are in full form and busting out tunes from their entire discography, including 2013’s latest release, True North. MW

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst Club, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $29.50/adv, $33/door. 429-4135.




Daptone Records is one of those labels that record lovers know is going to deliver high-quality, soul-infused, kickass music, and Daptone’s Budos Band is no exception. This horn-driven, Brooklyn-based instrumental band combines funk and deep soul with rock grooves, doom metal-like extended tunes, and Afro-Funk underpinnings into a psychedelic sound that has no equal. How one band can attract stoners, soul enthusiasts, jazz heads and rockers I’m not sure, but these guys do. CJ

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $19/door. 423-1338.



Two years ago, Kevin Morby released his second solo record, Still Life. It was an ironic title, as he had just quit the Woods, and his other band the Babies was on hiatus. Meanwhile, he threw himself into his own music with intoxicating results. His latest album, Singing Saw, finds him growing a confident solo voice rooted in ’60s and ’70s alt-country/psych-pop singer-songwriters. But his music seems less retro, and we’re seeing the truly subtle, eclectic, understated nature of Morby emerge. AC

INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $12. 429-6994.



David Nelson is best known as co-founder of the country-rock outfit New Riders of the Purple Sage, but the singer-songwriter, who spent years performing with Jerry Garcia, is capable of handling a variety of styles, from progressive bluegrass and acoustic roots to rock, jazz and jam. As frontman of his own group, Nelson directs his ace musicians—including Barry Sless on lead guitar and pedal steel, Mookie Siegel on keyboards, accordion and vocals, Pete Sears on bass and vocals, and John Molo on drums—through tripped-out covers, classic Grateful Dead jams and Nelson originals. CJ

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



Locals Sap Laughter want to tap into the “Santa Cruz Redwood sound.” But what is that exactly? For them, it means a breezy, earthy, sappy affair. In layman’s terms it’s a combo of psych, soul and emotive roots rock. The kicker is the loose groove and the filter-free heart-on-the-sleeve vocals. The group officially started in late 2014, but the members have been playing together a lot longer than that. Pre-Sap Laughter, they dabbled in other styles like punk and funk. They’ve progressed musically, and don’t really have traces of their early sound, but that sense of exploration is front and center. AC

INFO: 9 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar Street #2, Santa Cruz. $5. 427-2227.



Bay Area soul, rock, swing and hip-hop. Thursday at Moe’s Alley


Renowned Beatles tribute group. Friday at Don Quixote’s


Indie-roots band out of Portland. Friday at Crepe Place


Long-running, American metal act. Sunday at Catalyst


Celebrated saxophonist and jazz master Dave Liebman and his ensemble. Monday at Kuumbwa

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