Live music highlights for the week of March 20, 2019
AND THE KIDS
No matter how And The Kids might flirt with the dim and blurred illusions of melancholic ennui, the band always finds its way back to sugary sweet pop bliss. And then rocks out, indie-style. At the forefront of the dramatic anthems and the feverish crisis of And the Kids’ music is Hannah Mohan’s stark, springy vocals. Straightforward drumming and meaty guitar riffs create songs that start out headstrong, only to ramble off into some hazy soundscape and pop back out from the nebulous shadows with twice the bite and grit. AMY BEE
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10 adv/$12 door. 429-6994.
Latin and Caribbean music are much closer than you think. I mean, these countries are all literally close to one another, which is probably why there’s so much overlap of genres between countries like Jamaica, Cuba, Trinidad, and the Dominican Republic. Did you know that Santa Cruz is home to a longtime group of Latin-Caribbean aficionados? That group, Broken English, is celebrating 25 years of taking Cruzan audiences on a “Caribbean Cruise.” Expect lots of cumbia, reggae, salsa, soca, mamo, son, Guajira, and more. AARON CARNES
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $9 adv/$12 door. 479-1854.
Have you ever wanted to get really high and nod out to Fleetwood Mac rave-style, with the songs indefinitely elongated so you could just sway and sway to the psychedelic visions in your head? Well, here’s your chance! Fleetmac Wood have taken what’s best about this iconic band and put it on repeat, creating a groovy, introspective yet danceable (if your style of dance is akin to Ally Sheedy shaking dandruff from her hair, but even more emo), epic, and endless tribute to the band that made chaotic relationships sexy AF. AB
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15 adv/$20 door. 423-1338.
TRANSPARENT WATER TRIO
More than a meeting of minds or a vehicle for unbridled improvisation, the Transparent Water Trio is a spiritually charged communion between Cuban pianist Omar Sosa, Senegalese kora master Seckou Keita and Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles. Glistening with lithe and seductive melodies and bright cadences, the trio’s celebratory sound is unlike any other ensemble in jazz, Latin or world music. It’s powerfully elemental and supremely sophisticated, rootsy, cosmopolitan, and sumptuously inventive. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 and 9 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $26.25-$42. 427-2227
From 1982 until 1987, local band Special Fun was the quintessential Santa Cruz band. The group blended styles from all over the world—African, Caribbean, Latin, Funk—and made it into the best party band going. The band later re-formed as Solcircle from 2004-2012, giving the already diverse influences some jazz and psychedelic elements. But guess what, everyone’s favorite party band Special Fun is back for one night. And the members promise it will be one of those old school dance-jams, where you lose your mind and forget who you are for a brief moment in time. AC
INFO: 8 p.m. Michael’s On Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $15. 479-9777.
With a name like Starfarer, it’s no surprise that this San Jose musician dwells in the outer reaches of the electronic realm. What isn’t expected is the thumping, retro-futuristic, darkwave synth sounds he creates, shying away from burn-out, fad trends in the scene and keeping with the bleeps and bloops that stick to your guts. Fresh off the release of his (her? their?) January full-length Into the Unknown, Starfarer’s March 23 performance at the Blue Lagoon will be rounded out by Santa Cruz’s Voltaic Spore and Emeryville’s Xenocircuit. For fans of NIN, Depeche Mode and ’80s cult film soundtracks. MAT WEIR
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117.
Canadian folk artist Steve Poltz’s songs have the kind of well-worn intimacy of a wood-paneled room or a broken-in baseball glove. Famed for his collaborations with fellow far-north folk artist Jewel (with whom he wrote the hit “You Were Meant For Me”), Poltz has seen every side of the music industry, from the major labels to the self-released. He even inspired a Weird Al original: “Albuquerque,” vis a vis Poltz’s old indie-rock band the Rugburns. Some stories are too unbelievable to be scripted, and Poltz’s is one of them. MH
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Flynn’s Cabaret, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $20 adv/$25 door. 335-2800.
Break out the hair grease and get ready to rumble as the Koffin Kats return to Santa Cruz with killer psychobilly tunes. Since 2003, the band has continuously delivered hard-hitting, head-boppin’, pit-inducing tracks about love, life, loss, and, of course, killer monsters and B-movies. Over the years it’s remained a fierce trio, despite several lineup changes. But in 2016, the current roster of Tommy Koffin on guitars, drummer Eric “E-Ball” Walls, and bassist/singer Vic Victor—also known as the “true” or “established” lineup dating from wayback in 2007—returned to the road and has been serving audiences since. That year also marked the group’s eighth and latest album, Party Time in the End Times. MW
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $10 adv/$13 door. 423-1338.