Music Picks: March 27-April 2

Santa Cruz live music highlights for the week of March 27.

Rubblebucket plays the Catalyst on Wednesday, March 27

Santa Cruz live music highlights for the week of March 27.




When Rubblebucket discuss heartbreak, they do it over dreamy, repetitive soundscapes injected with funky rhythms and jazzy playfulness. Just as your mind drifts off from the ambient tones, the smooth sax, surprising trumpet riffs and quirky sound loops demand your attention. The result is a sense of joyfulness—songs that make you wanna dance, then cry, then hug, then dance again. And seriously, it’s been forever since I’ve heard a sax, a flute and a trumpet sound so dope. AMY BEE

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15 adv/$17 door. 423-1338.



Bawdy, brassy and bluesy, Davina and the Vagabonds have earned an avid following with a rollicking sound that’s part-New Orleans barrelhouse, part-Memphis soul, and part-postmodern cabaret. Led by Davina Lozier, an extroverted singer and energetic pianist with a big voice and bigger stage persona, the Vagabonds include her husband, trumpeter/vocalist Zack Lozier, Steve Rogness on trombone and vocals, bassist Andrew Foreman, and drummer George Marich. ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $31.50 adv/$36.75 door. 427-2227.





Robbie Fulks has been nominated for two Grammys and been hailed as an “alt-country genius” by Tina Fey. (I know, you didn’t see that one coming!) But it was a long path for Fulks, who spent most of the ’80s and ’90s on the sidelines and in the shadows. His rough, raw and sparse acoustic Americana record Let’s Kill Saturday Night from 1998 turned some heads, but he continued to slowly forge a path of his own. His mix of old-timey country, bluegrass, gritty rock ’n’ roll, and gospel hasn’t made him a household name, but he’s become a highly respected artist. AARON CARNES

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Flynn’s Cabaret & Steakhouse, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $15. 335-2800.





Max Romeo, like Desmond Dekker, is one of the few Jamaican reggae artists who had a legitimate charting single in the UK in the ’60s. His biggest early career hit is about well, you know, wet dreams (*blushes*), and it became a top 10 hit despite getting banned by the BBC Radio. His chart success continued in Jamaica in the ’70s, but he never got that far in the U.S. Still, you may recognize the chorus of his single “Chase the Devil” as a sample in Jay-Z’s song “Lucifer.” His original is one of the mid-’70s best political roots reggae songs. AC

INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25 adv/$30 door. 479-1854.





Yeah, I said ska, and I’ll say it again. Ska! Thanks to Pitchfork, those three little letters became a dirty word in the early 2000s, but in truth ska is one of the great cultural love affairs of the 20th century—the soil from which reggae, dancehall, punk, new wave, and even the Mario Bros. theme sprang. One of the originators of 2-Tone (ska’s second wave), the English Beat were among the most important ska bands of the ’80s. Last year, the group released Here We Go Love!, its first new album since 1982’s Special Beat Service. Be sure to pick it up, pick it up, pick it up. MIKE HUGUENOR

INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $35 adv/$40 door. 479-1854.





Few musicians can command a stage the way Dan Potthast does. With just an acoustic guitar and his distinct, full-throated voice, Potthast has held many an audience in the palm of his hand. Part of it is the strength of his songwriting, a unique melding of folk and ska that doesn’t overthink a great melody, but there’s an intangible element as well. When Potthast is playing, he bares it all with humor and passion, inviting his audience to conjure a better world together. And during his performance, you can see that world right there in the room around you. MH

INFO: 8 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.



Love him or hate him, Lil Tracy (or, these days, just Tracy) is here to stay. And the people love him. The 24 year old “sinner” rapper has been an underground “sin”sation since he was 18, dropping multiple releases under his old moniker, Yung Bruh, and with his old group, Gothboiclique. Born to music royalty parents Ishmael Butler (Digable Planets/Shabazz Palaces) and Coko Clemons (Sisters With Voices), it seems the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Don’t let face tattoos scare ya. MAT WEIR

INFO: 8 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $18 adv/$22 door. 423-1338.





Battle vests on, horns on high, and let the sacred smoke fill the air, for the Wizzerd is coming. What more can I say about a quartet of heshers who wrote an epically gripping bio for their concept album that’s too long to print here? Lots, but still make sure to read that bio when you get a chance. Hailing from Montana, Wizzerd combines the rhythm and crunch of modern doom with the clean vocals and mystical fantasy writing of ’70s prog-rock for a sound that creates its own world. MW

INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $7. 429-6994.





Weyes Blood can ruminate on the boring and everyday, or ponder the expanding vastness of the universe. She brings the same dramatic, operatic bent to her vocals, which will make you feel sentimental in ways that maybe you don’t even understand. Blood’s existential worries litter her lyrics, but so does a childlike nostalgia. She seems most interested in taking everything she feels—grand to not-so-grand—and amplifying it through the epic songs she can create. AB

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15 adv/$17 door. 423-1338.

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