Santa Cruz County live music picks for the week of July 17
What makes a jam band work is equal parts knowing your fellow musicians, plus a healthy dose of just-for-the-hell-of-it chaos. Like the name suggests, California Kind gives listeners all the highs when life gets them low. Maybe that’s because the band’s roots run deep in modern rock music, featuring members who have played with Rod Stewart, Bruce Hornsby, John Fogerty and many more. As a group, they’ve worked with Warren Haynes, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, just to name just a few of the original heads. Watch for a debut album later this year. MAT WEIR
8 p.m. Michael’s on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $15 adv/$20 door. 479-9777.
You know a band is chill if they hang out in the bathtub together. I’m not sure if it’s something Cosmo Gold do on the regular, but you can see the band hanging out in the tub with bored expressions and delightfully ’70s yellow outfits in the new video for “Drown The Fly.” It’s a low-key, indie-pop ditty with upbeat ’70s, quasi-disco grooves pumping along while singer Emily Gold sings, “I am so scared to die.” Gold is the daughter of ’70s pop-rock hit-maker Andrew Gold (“Thank You For Being a Friend”), and has been playing music as a solo artist for a while. She formed Cosmo Gold as a full-on collaborative band earlier this year. AARON CARNES
9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 429-6994.
Local four-piece rock outfit Moon Eater released a killer self-titled record in 2012 that straddles the line between punk fury and blues-rock precision, ripping up and shredding every riff like a pissed-off Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Then in August 2013, the group played its final show as members moved away. Now the band is once again rocking and rolling Santa Cruz with six years of pent-up energy. If you weren’t around the scene back then but love meaty guitar licks, the band will be more than happy to adopt you for the night. AC
9 p.m. Poet And The Patriot, 320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. Free. 426-8620.
The list of artists who’ve asked Amy Helm to sing on their records is astounding. Roseanne Cash, Steely Dan, Mercury Rev, Chris Smither, the Holmes Brothers, the Band. OK, well, that last one is kind of a gimme, since Helm’s dad does happen to be Leon Helm, the late drummer for the Band. After his death, she carried on the Midnight Ramble series of concerts at “the Barn” on his Woodstock, New York property. While she’s been surrounded by fame, she deserves to be discovered for is her own music. She started out in the alt-country band Ollabelle and released her second solo album last year. Anyone who likes her father’s music—and by that, I mean everyone—will appreciate how Helm has inherited the Band’s talent for soulful, rootsy rock with a fantastic beat. Her vocals only seem to get more gorgeous as she matures as a performer. STEVE PALOPOLI
7:30 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25 adv/$40 gold circle. 427-2227.
Famous as an original member of skate team Bones Brigade, Tommy Guerrero has also played guitar and bass since the late ’70s. With varied influences from Joy Division to Coltrane, Guerrero’s albums reflect the full gambit of his musical tastes. Lately, his explorations have taken an ethno-jazz, Afrobeat direction. The album Road to Knowhere is like a long, dusty drive through Death Valley, when the pavement turns to gravel and the GPS no longer works. Maybe you’re lost, maybe not. Maybe it’s about how far you’re willing to go. AMY BEE
9 p.m., Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15 adv/$20 door. 479-1854.
SAM TRIPOLI & EDDIE BRAVO
Is the Queen of England really a Reptilian? Did pop sensation Avril Lavigne really die (or get whacked!) just to be replaced by a clone? For anyone intrigued by these dire questions, DNA’s Comedy Lab welcomes conspiracy theorists, writers and comedians Sam Tripoli and Eddie Bravo to discuss, debate and laugh at some of today’s hottest conspiracies. Along with hosting the Punch Drunk Sports podcast, Tripoli also hosts the Tin Foil Hat podcast, and Bravo is known for his many appearances on the Joe Rogan Experience (not to mention training Rogan in jiu-jitsu, the highest credential for conspiracy experts in some circles). MW
7 and 9:30 p.m. DNA’s Comedy Lab, 155 River St., Santa Cruz. $20 adv/$25 door. (530) 592-5250.
In just about every sense, Sugaray Rayford is a towering figure. At 6’5 and 300 lbs., the ex-Marine is a commanding presence without even saying a word. But when you add in his voice (a soulful bellow, halfway between a croon and a wail) the native Texan could make a stadium go quiet. In May, the singer was named Soul Blues Male Artist of the year by the Blues Music Awards. Coming just months after the release of Somebody Save Me, it’s a banner year for one of the looming voices in modern blues. MH
4 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15 adv/$20 door. 479-1854.
Benmont Tench might be the actual heart of rock’n’ roll. His catchy keyboard and organ riffs are all over the classics—not just as part of his old group, Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, but also on albums from U2, Warren Zevon, Elvis Costello, Neil Diamond, Bonnie Raitt, and many, many more. There’s no way some of those venerated songs would be what they are without Tench and his boisterously fervid keyboard talents. His solos are as good as the rest, with a gently gruff voice, kinda like a mellowed-out Petty (if that’s possible) and simple lyrics and melodies that hit the heart with every beat. AB
8 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $40 adv/$45 door. 427-2227.
KIM NALLEY: PAYING RESPECT TO ARETHA
It might seem strange that Kim Nalley, the commanding San Francisco jazz and blues vocalist, is paying tribute to the Queen of Soul. But before Aretha earned her crown with her iconic Atlantic hits, she spent 1961-66 recording for Columbia in the mold of a contemporary jazz singer focusing on standards, blues and pop tunes (including a tribute to Dinah Washington). Nalley can sing it all, putting a personal stamp on just about any tune. Her not-so-secret weapon is a stellar band featuring ace bassist Michael Zisman, highly responsive drummer Kent Bryson, and the soul-steeped pianist Tammy Hall, a brilliant accompanist. ANDREW GILBERT