Year of the Fist

Music Picks: May 29-June 4

Santa Cruz live music highlights for the week of May 29, 2019

Oakland punk band Year of the Fist plays Wednesday at the Blue Lagoon.

Santa Cruz live music highlights for the week of May 29, 2019





Year of the Fist is a raucous Oakland punk foursome cobbled together from several other favorite local bands. Their songs hit fast and live shows get crazy, especially with guitarist/vocalist Squeaky front and center, making ghoul eyes and belting out lyrics like death is breathing down her neck. All four rock and flail across the stage, as if reanimated by the rhythm. AMY BEE

8:30 p.m. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117.



Though the name might sound like a Felton jam band, Winery Dogs is an L.A.-based hard rock supergroup. Featuring members of Dream Theater (Mike Portnoy), Steve Vai’s band (Billy Sheehan) and Mr. Big (Richie Kotzen), the Dogs have been marking hard rock as their territory since going off-leash in 2013. And before you ask, no, they are not on tour with the Baha Men, despite this being the “Who Let the Dogs Out Tour.” Expect howling pyrotechnics and wild rock riffage. Fans of classic rock, prog and metal: the dogs are at the door. MIKE HUGUENOR

8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $45. 423-8209.




There’s no sexism quite like the sexism in comedy, where many people still feel that it’s totally valid to wonder out loud if women can be funny. Yes, it’s maybe the stupidest question ever, and hopefully all the people who have somehow avoided every one of the countless hilarious women across the history of comedy will be able to scrape together enough brain cells to finally crack the case! Until then, there’s Resistance is Fertile, a comedy show of “queers, queens and one token peen” which promises to rip the patriarchy a new pie hole. MAT WEIR

8 p.m. DNA’s Comedy Lab, 155 River St., Santa Cruz. $10 adv/$15 door. (530) 592-5250.




Reggae is awesome, but it’s very much a male-dominated genre. Thankfully, there are great new female artists out there, like Etana (which means “the strong one” in Swahili), who won the Grammy for best new reggae album (Reggae Forever) in 2019. It’s the first time a woman has won the award in 21 years—and she’s a deserving winner, with a sound rooted in classic roots reggae, but pulling from modern R&B and writing music that is spiritual, political and personal. Above all, she’s a passionate, soulful singer. AARON CARNES

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




Local all-star ska ensemble Dan P & the Bricks released sophomore album When We Were Fearless in early 2018. Unfortunately, the group was never able to have a record release show because two of the members moved away after it was recorded in 2017. But guess what, the whole band will be in Santa Cruz on June 1, so Dan P & the Bricks will be having its proper When We Were Fearless release show. If you don’t care about celebrating milestones, it’ll still be the best ska dance party this weekend, and probably the last time to see the Bricks live for a while. AC

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



Before he moved to L.A. and started rapping, Ghostemane was marinating in Florida’s doom, hardcore and black metal scenes, acquiring a fine layer of grime that still clings to tracks like “Mercury: Retrograde” and “Euronymous.” If you like your rap spooky, this is it. Instead of scantily-clad ladies, his videos feature ghosts and witches. Think Betty Boop as directed by Anton LaVey. Ghostemane’s beats are spare, threatening, the trap rhythms frequently invaded by harsh noise and haunted house sounds while his high, rapid-fire rhymes skips along the surface of it all. MH

8 p.m. The Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20 adv/$22 door. 429-4135.




Throughout his nearly five-decade run with the pioneering world jazz ensemble Oregon, guitarist Ralph Towner has maintained a solo career. He’s created an extraordinary body of work over the course of some two dozen albums, including spare and evocative trio sessions, intimate duos with improvisational masters like Gary Burton, John Abercrombie and Gary Peacock, and perhaps most importantly, orchestral solo projects. He returned to the demanding format on his latest release, 2017’s My Foolish Heart, a ravishing program of lyrical originals, except for the title track, an homage to the clairvoyant recording of the standard by the Bill Evans Trio. ANDREW GILBERT

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




Annachristie Sapphire’s atmospheric folk songs are emotionally vulnerable without being raw or sentimental. Instead, the tender parts of her songs are wrapped in sweet little tributes to grunge and tied by hazy, abstract soundscapes which beautifully compliment Sapphire’s robust vocals. Her unabashedly soulful and often-melancholic lyrics explore the realms of human desire. Her melodies are her powerhouse, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing along to her evocative tunes as if you’ve known Annachristie Sapphire for many lifetimes. AB

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




This year, Dizzy Wright celebrates two decades of rapping and performing for audiences. Quite the accomplishment. but infinitely more so when you realize that Wright is only 28. He grew up idolizing his uncles, Lazy Bone and Flesh-N-Bone of Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony, and hasn’t known a life away from the stage, mic and notebook. Most recently, he dropped his sixth full-length, the title of which pretty much describes Wright’s feelings on life’s obstacles: Nobody Cares, Work Harder. MW

9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20 adv/$22 door. 423-1338.

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