Betsy Jane Kniffen may have performed the national anthem at the opening Santa Cruz Derby Girls bout in March, but the lead siren of The Inciters has no intention of going solo. “The Inciters are a team,” she says, “and I’m honored to be a part of it.” While Kniffen fronts the 11-piece electric-soul outfit, her four back-up singers and band put on a mesmerizing synchronized show.
“Over the last year we added Button Pisani and Aimee Gruber,” says Kniffen. “And most recently Jessica White Cloud joined us.” The Inciters’ story truly is a group effort, with two phases. The first incarnation of the group was founded by trumpeter Rick Kendrick 17 years ago and had a successful 10-year run in the United Kingdom with its razor-sharp horn section and danceable tunes. Eventually, the original band ran its course and Kendrick and a few other members moved back to Santa Cruz. On June 1, the newest incarnation of the band—which released an album in 2012, called Soul Clap—will perform a special show at Kuumbwa Jazz, called “Club Kuumbwa,” for which the chairs will be moved aside in favor of a more nightclub feel. The event will also wrap up filming of the band’s first video. “The Kuumbwa will be the last shots,” says Kendrick. “We’ve been filming around Santa Cruz so we could have something to finally show festival bookers and fans.” There’s a great chance that attendees will make an appearance in the video. “Basically it’s a documentary on our history with a musical soundtrack using a collage of songs, but there will also be one full song,” explains Kendrick. “We’re doing the fast-paced instrumental ‘100,’ because we think that would be a great song to introduce the Santa Cruz Warriors, but we’re still playing with the idea.”
INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, June 1. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $5. 427-2227.