Music Picks: December 26-January 1

Live music highlights for the week of Dec. 26, 2018

Dumpstaphunk plays Moe's Alley on Dec. 27.

Live music highlights for the week of Dec. 26, 2018




The self-taught Sicilian guitarist is a wonder to behold on the acoustic guitar, composing pieces that stretch the possibility of the instrument. An orchestra all by himself, D’Agostino mixes classic European fingerpicking style with American pyrotechnics and a worldly flair, a style that landed him on Guitar Player’s list of 50 Transcendent Acoustic Guitarists. Live, it’s hard to believe everything you’re hearing comes from one man playing one instrument, but believe it. And keep your eye on his hands. MIKE HUGUENOR

INFO: 7:30 p.m. Michael’s On Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $15 adv/$17 door. 479-9777.





Dumpstaphunk embodies some of the deepest pools of New Orleans talent. A wicked funk outfit that’s not afraid to stretch a groove to epic dimensions, the quintet have gained power in recent years with the addition of drummer Alvin Ford Jr., a prodigious young player whose father is a revered gospel drummer. Family ties run through the band, which was famously founded by organist Ivan Neville back in 2003. With his cousin Ian Neville’s sinewy guitar and the double-barreled bottom courtesy of Tony Hall and Nick Daniels III, Dumpstaphunk lives up to the percussive bounce of its moniker. ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $28 adv/$33 door. 479-1854.


FRIDAY 12/28



The self-proclaimed “verbal Herman Munster,” Chali 2na was far and away the standout voice of ’90s hip hop crew Jurassic 5. While many of their contemporaries went for gangster realism or pop superstardom, J5 was always about hip-hop’s early party culture. And with his cavernous baritone and his playful linguistics, 2na often stole the show. But it was Cut Chemist’s beats and turntablism that set the tone for the group. Seeing the two reunite should be on any hip-hop head’s to-do list this week. MH

INFO: 9 p.m. The Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $16 adv/$20 door. 423-1338.





Garage-rockers Cheap Horse fell in love with arty, musical snippets, a la Guided By Voices. They slip in and out of genre so fast—as fast as inspiration permits—leaving only finger trails of catchy riffs and vague imprints of lyrics, which may or may not be deep and weighty: “Free us from your group/A nightmare TV loop/We made it in time for this/We made it home for breakfast.” AMY BEE

INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.



With the release of their second album, The Explorer, in July, Con Brio proved they have a lot to give back to the world. Written over two years, the release is an honest love letter about the problems humanity currently faces as a whole, and the bonds we share as a species. While that might sound heavy, Con Brio’s upbeat, funk-infused soul keeps the air light and the feet moving. MAT WEIR

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


SATURDAY 12/29 – SUNDAY 12/30



There are several holiday musical traditions in Santa Cruz, but none more prominent than the White Album Ensemble. For 15 years, this group of local musicians have performed the songs the Beatles never played live. To celebrate their Crystal Anniversary, the WAE are going way back to their roots to perform the White Album, which just so happens to be celebrating its 50th anniversary. But on Sunday, they will join up with Beggars Banquet, Santa Cruz’s premiere Rolling Stones tribute group, for a “player’s choice” of their favorite tunes from each group’s expansive repertoire. MW

INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $25 gen/$45 gold. 423-8209.


SUNDAY 12/30



Anthony Arya and Emily Hough met on the current season of The Voice. Both did well and had some phenomenal performances on TV that thoroughly wowed the judges, but ultimately neither of them won. They did, however, meet each other and become fast friends. They shared a love for the soft rock sounds of the ’60s and ’70s, and are now touring together, bringing their music to stages all over the country, including here in Santa Cruz. AARON CARNES

INFO: 2 p.m. Michael’s on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $10. 479-9777.


MONDAY 12/31



Weed is legal now, and we don’t have to dance around the topic with clever euphemisms. So let’s just say that this New Year’s Eve, you’re probably looking for that perfect show to “visit Mr. Green.” Here in Santa Cruz, if you want to “blow some trees” and watch some amazing jam tunes for your last night of 2018, there’s only one place to be: Flynn’s, to watch local Grateful Dead darlings China Cats, whose credo is to give you the 2018 (or 2019?) version of the Dead experience. AC

INFO: 9 p.m. Flynn’s Cabaret & Steakhouse, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $30 adv/$35 door. 335-2800.



From tongue-in-cheek Robert Palmer allusions to straight up sleazy-punk rockabilly anthems, Eagles of Death Metal have the magical fluff that makes people wanna dance and hook up and get high. They’ve got hard-driving hooks as catchy as HPV, guitar riffs that make rock clichés like throwing panties on the stage a sexy, achievable goal, and a bad-boy frontman with the fevered genius and questionable politics to make the whole thing even more confusingly hot. AB

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $59.50-$74.50. 423-1338.

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