Live music highlights for the week of March 13, 2019.
LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO
Paul Simon’s world beat-influenced Graceland was a huge and unexpected hit for the folk singer. But it also shined a light on some global musicians that most Americans were totally unfamiliar with up to that point. The all-male choir that opens “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” is one of the most iconic moments on the record. That group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, had been a group in South Africa since the ’60s, and now enjoy a much larger audience. The ever-changing members continue to record and tour and wow audiences with the joy, passion and subtly complex song-writing they are able to pull off just by utilizing their voices. AARON CARNES
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $36.75. 423-8209.
German Lopez is a virtuoso on the “timple,” a traditional guitar from the Canary Islands. Playing on stage with Antonio Toledo (Spanish guitar), they pluck and flit their way through conventional island music, adding flourishes of West African rhythms and playful nods to Spanish Flamenco. Together, they have the frenetic energy of dueling strings without the feigned animosity, instead creating stirring soundscapes built on melodies coalescing into unity. They play like guitar brothers, weaving their tales in and out of each other, riffing up and down the chords, until one can no longer tell where one man’s story begins and the other ends. AMY BEE
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Flynn’s Cabaret & Steakhouse, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $12 adv/$15 door. 335-2800.
Whoever thinks horns are dull hasn’t heard Moon Hooch. Like a grimy, bedraggled marching band at the big game that missed the bus home and now sleeps under the risers, Moon Hooch stomps into your world and leaves muddy footprints wherever it goes. Part rave, part jazz jam, and as indecipherable as an all-out orgy in your grandparents’ basement, be prepared to put earplugs in, rubber gloves on, and just go with the whatever happens next. AB
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $12 adv/$15 door. 423-1338.
SHARK IN THE WATER
There you are, enjoying your favorite icy-cold cocktail, waiting for the next band to go on at the Blue Lagoon. It’s been a great evening full of head-bobbing, nostalgic surf tunes, guitar rolls and hang-ten highs. Suddenly, the person next to you lets out a spine-twisting scream as a trio of fins—literally, three musicians in shark costumes—circle the stage. The audience gasps in horror as the band lets out a toothy, distorted guitar riff swimming through a sludgy rhythm section. Just when you thought it was safe was to go back in the club … Shark in the Water. MAT WEIR
INFO: 9 p.m. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117.
A veteran of KPIG’s “Please Stand By” radio show, Derek Bodkin bakes a fair amount of humor into his folk tales. Apologies if you were thinking a performance by a man who calls his backing band the Hovering Breadcat Folk Ensemble would be a deathly serious affair. In his raspy baritone, Bodkin sings the stories of pirate tailors and animals, intermixed with moments of deep sincerity and personal reflection. He’s also a world-class whistler and won the 2017 Musical Whistling Competition. Part jazz ensemble, part folk raconteurs, the Bodkins and his Hovering Breadcats got a little something for everyone—everyone weird, that is. MIKE HUGUENOR
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.
I predict that in 100 years, we’ll still be hearing about the latest “rock ’n’ roll revival” sweeping the nation. That’s just the nature of things, as rock will always sound good, and it’ll always take people back to a time of fun and simplicity. Webb Wilder has never been part of any official revival, though considering he started spitting out straight-ahead rockers in the mid-’80s, he probably should have been. Trends change fast, but he’s stayed the same. He’s almost like a relic from another era. In fact, he created this persona back in 1984 for a short film—a 1950s detective that’s also a musician. AC
INFO: 4 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15 adv/$20 door. 479-1854
MONDAY 3/18 & TUESDAY 3/19
Though it emerged accidentally, there is a sort of kismetic charm to the name “Brand X.” Forever misunderstood by their pop-centric major label, the name stuck when a studio executive wrote the vague words “Brand X” on the studio calendar to keep track of the British fusion band’s recording sessions. Mercurial and virtuosic, it’s a high-flying, fretboard-shredding take on fusion, complete with psychedelic freakouts and musical bars blacked out with 32nd notes. Popularly known as “Phil Collins’ other band” (he was an original member), Brand X have all the pyrotechnics of their early days and come to Santa Cruz for two nights at Michael’s on Main. MH
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Michael’s On Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $35 adv/$40 door. 479-9777.
DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER
An uncontainable force of nature, Dee Dee Bridgewater has unleashed her inner soul queen with her latest album Memphis…Yes, I’m Ready. The Grammy Award-winning NEA Jazz Master spent her adolescence surreptitiously soaking up Memphis R&B on her transistor radio when she was supposed to be sleeping. She spent several years in preparation for the 2017 album, connecting with musicians and honing a repertoire of vintage songs. Accompanied by soul-steeped horn players, expert backup vocalists and a skintight rhythm section with surging organ, Bridgewater dominates the stage, pouring so much energy into the tunes that they positively radiate pleasure. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 and 9 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $42 adv/$57.75 door. 427-2227.