The Julie Ruin

Music Picks Oct 12—18





Oakland born and raised, Zion I rapper Baba Zumbi was recently forced to relocate to San Leandro when his landlord decided to sell. Zumbi’s song “Tech $” documents the experience, and is accompanied by footage of his family moving out of their house. Gentrification is only one of many social justice issues Zion I focuses on. The duo will be joined onstage by Lafa Taylor, a singer, rapper and producer who draws on his Costa Rican roots and combines English, Spanish, Japanese and Patois in his lyrics. Lafa Taylor’s bass-heavy electronic hip-hop has taken him around the world, touring at major electronic music festivals. Opening for the night is Pure Powers and Santa Cruz locals Eliquate. KATIE SMALL

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.



In the early-1990s, Kathleen Hanna helped pioneer the Riot Grrrl movement, a DIY upswell of underground feminist punk rock, zines, art and activism. Her band, Bikini Kill, remains one of the defining acts of the era, but Hanna didn’t stop there. In the late-1990s she formed Le Tigre, an electroclash band that dealt with issues of feminism, gender and sexuality. Her latest project, the Julie Ruin, which Hanna launched post-Bikini Kill and formed into a band in 2010, is a dance-y synth-pop band whose latest offering, Hit Reset, was described by Hanna as being some of her most personal work yet. CJ

INFO: 7 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $17. 423-8209.





Jazz bassist Brian Bromberg took up the upright bass at age 13 and put himself on such a strict practice regimen that he tested out of high school to focus exclusively on his music. Now a renowned jazzman who has performed with an impressive range of artists, from Herbie Hancock and Horace Silver to Elvis Costello, Toots Thielemans and Christina Aguilera, Bromberg continues to stretch his capabilities and impress with his dedication. His latest album, Full Circle, sees Bromberg returning to his acoustic roots and showcasing his multi-instrumental chops after an injury left him unable to play the electric bass. CJ

INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 427-2227.


FRIDAY 10/14



Since 2009, Austin’s Survive has been part of a growing experimental analog synth scene—arguably the best group in it. The band produced instrumental, foreboding jams that have the aggression of rock, but the sound of a 1980s horror movie. Something happened earlier this year that launched this four-piece into the national spotlight: Two of the members actually scored an ’80s horror film. OK, technically, it was Stranger Things, but it’s basically an ’80s horror film that just happens to be made now. The show’s opening sequence, and its eerie score became iconic to this breakout show. Survive’s music isn’t a stretch from what Stranger Things fans might imagine. The members just released their sophomore album, RR7349, on Sept. 30. AARON CARNES

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $14/door. 429-4135.





“Barracuda,” “Magic Man,” “Dog and Butterfly,” “What About Love”—the hits from legendary rock outfit Heart just keep coming. Led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, the band shattered barriers for women in rock, raked in awards and acclaim, sold 35 million albums, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Heartless, dubbed the premier Heart tribute band, recreates the artistry and magic and brings classic-era Heart classics back to the stage with power, grace and great respect for the sibling rockers. On Saturday, the band hits Don Quixote’s. Also on the bill: Rebel Rebel, a David Bowie tribute band. CJ

INFO: 8 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10. 335-2800.



Every punk rocker has a friend who’s seen the Dwarves, and swears they saw them punch someone in the face, or worse. Whether those stories are exaggerated is another matter. The point is that the band’s shock-rock music is offensive enough to make you believe those things really happened. If that’s your thing, then the Dwarves could be your Beatles. These days, their music is a lot of beefy hardcore riffs and shout-along choruses. But if you dig deep into the Dwarves catalog, there’s also some pretty killer garage and psych-rock tunes in the mix. AC

INFO: 8 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 429-4135.


SUNDAY 10/16



Fela Kuti told a British journalist in 1973, “The music of Africa is big sound: it’s the sound of community.” As a multi-instrumentalist and human-rights activist, Kuti fostered a unique community through music; his legacy lives on in sweaty dance floors, fueled by tribal funk. Oakland’s 17-piece Afrobeat ensemble Lagos Roots will be joined by Nigerian reggae collective Seed N Soil for a special celebration of the life and music of the Yoruba legend. The two groups combine dynamic rhythms with a captivating stage presence, boundless energy and socially conscious lyrics to honor the community spirit. KS

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $8/adv, $12/door. 479-1854.



Scary Little Friends’ bio says the band has “no gimmicks or tricks, just great songs.” Is that even possible? Isn’t that kind of a gimmick in itself? Well, if it is, it’s a good one, because the San Francisco three-piece rock band is pretty amazing at crafting straight-up, no-frills-sounding rock ’n’ roll. The music is easy going, but with Jeff Buckley-level passion, mostly in its dynamic vocal execution. There isn’t a lot to the riffs—it brings to mind some of Wilco’s heavier rockers. It serves as the perfect backdrop for lead singer/guitarist Chris Jones’ heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics, and cut-to-your soul melodies. That’s one gimmick I can get behind. AC

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


MONDAY 10/17



An alto saxophonist of steely authority, Rudresh Mahanthappa has been a fount of enthralling concepts over the past two decades, ideas he’s explored with a brilliant cast of players, including pianist Vijay Iyer, guitarist Rez Abbasi, and drummer Dan Weiss. One of 2015’s best albums, Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls (ACT Music) extrapolates on the bebop syntax of Charlie Parker from a decidedly 21st century perspective with consistently revelatory results. As on the album, he’s joined by trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, a rising star in his own right, and a new rhythm section with pianist Joshua White, bassist Thomson Kneeland, and the extraordinary drummer and hand percussionist Dan Weiss, who’s collaborated widely with Mahanthappa, particularly his Indo-Pak Coalition ensemble. ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 427-2227.



Power couple behind legendary punk band Dead Moon. Thursday at Catalyst


American/Bermudian reggae sensation. Friday at Catalyst


Renowned jazz and blues vocalist. Friday at Kuumbwa


Country, folk and “tongue-in-cheek twang.” Sunday at Don Quixote’s


Duo behind the smash hit “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).” Tuesday at Rio Theatre

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