Santa Cruz County live entertainment picks for the week of Oct. 16
On the opening track of Injury Reserve’s debut album, rapper Ritche with a T pretty much lays out the group’s MO: “This ain’t jazz-rap/This that spazz-rap/This that raised-by-the-internet, ain’t-had-no-dad rap.” The Arizona trio has been kicking around the underground scene for five years, releasing a handful of exceptional mixtapes. The group’s self-titled full-length goes full-on beast mode with some of the strangest oddball beats and playful verses of any crew on the scene right now, calling back to that old-school flow even with beats that land somewhere between punk and psych soundscapes. AC
9pm. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15. 423-1338.
White Reaper spit-shined its gritty garage-rock into something slicker and glossier, like a glammed-up Pinto ready to cruise the main street Taco Bell. It’s like if super-charged classic rock guitar riffs met super-sexy pop song, and together they shagged in a super arena and birthed White Reaper. No one knows why, but no one cares, either, because White Reaper is one-part Joe Dirt, two parts Weezer, three parts Killers, and fun as hell. AMY BEE
8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $15. 704-7113.
When explaining the extended silence between 2010’s How I Learned to See in the Dark and 2016’s Back in the Ring, Chris Pureka is refreshingly honest: “I’m not interested in releasing songs I can’t get behind, or records I don’t love.” As a songwriter and performer, that honesty is one of Pureka’s greatest strengths. Whether in the slight twang of their voice, the emotional candor of their lyrics, or the time-worn ease of their guitar-work, the attitude is audible on nearly every track of Back in the Ring. MIKE HUGUENOR
8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $15 adv/$17 door. 704-7113.
ROCKS & SALT
Rocks & Salt’s Facebook event page describes the group’s origin as “birthed out of whiskey-soaked hardships and an unadulterated love for the mysticism that pulses through the American music lexicon.” Well, alright, you have my attention. While that sounds like a tall tale, something most bands do in their lyrics, Rocks & Salt keeps it straight, telling true stories. All these songs are true. They are brought to life as Jared Griffin’s gritty voice dances over the old timey-but-not-dusty folk melodies in coordination with Nancy Ridgwell’s angelic vocals. MAT WEIR
8pm. Lille Aeske, 13160 Hwy. 9, Boulder Creek. $15. 703-4183.
No band has worked harder to escape the surf label than locals the Mermen. It’s an understandable quest, considering how confining it is to be thought of as surf. The group formed in the late ’80s, influenced by the surfy instrumentals of the ’50s and ’60s, but got pretty psychedelic as the project aged, making atmospheric sounds its go-to anti-surf move. Latest album A Murmurous Sirenic Delirium is actually, well, pretty surfy. The group toned down the effects pedals and gives the audience a taste of those old-school ’50s and ’60s instrumentals that inspired the band in the first place. AC
8:30pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15 adv/$20 door. 479-1854.
What’s up with all those comedians who don’t play an acoustic guitar when they perform? Kinda weird, right? Luckily, Henry Phillips is here to make up for their failings. As a musical comedian, Phillips makes plenty of use out of his acoustic, gently plucking its strings as he soothingly intones about pissing himself and hating his ex-fiance. The beauty of music. You might have seen the tuneful comedian on his Comedy Central Presents special, or his Showtime Original film Punching Henry, maybe even on HBO’s Silicon Valley, on which he plays the decidedly unmusical John. MH
7 and 9:30pm. DNA’s Comedy Lab, 155 S River St., Santa Cruz. $20 adv/$25 door. 900-5123.
Wurve would like you to know it was once known as the band Teevee, so if you liked Teevee and wondered what happened, you don’t need to be sad anymore. Wurve is still up to its same old shiz, making fuzzed-up psych-rock and totally shoegazing the hell outta life. Really, don’t worry. It’s the same band. Maybe a little older and a little wiser, but it’s okay! AB
9pm. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $6. 429-6994.
CHRISTIAN SANDS TRIO
There was never any doubting the persuasive prowess of pianist Christian Sands’ swing. Straight out of the Manhattan School of Music, he joined bass star Christian McBride’s Inside Straight and contributed to the 2013 album People Music, playing with blazing facility. Earlier this year, he demonstrated a far deeper tool kit as the music director for the Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour, an all-star sextet that featured an overlapping cast of five players and three singers. He’s touring with his consummate Monterey rhythm section partner, Japanese bassist Yasushi Nakamura, and drummer Marcus Baylor. ANDREW GILBERT
7 and 9pm. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $26.25 adv/$31.50 door. 427-2227.
With eight years of touring, five studio albums, thousands of shows, and over 233,000 Facebook likes, we have to ask: who the hell is Marbin?!? Maybe they describe themselves best: “Two guys from Israel and two from Chicago playing really fast.” OK, that’s only part of the story. Marbin is actually a shocking mix of jazz fusion and prog rock that sounds a lot smoother, and surprisingly much better. For fans of Mr. Bungle, Phish and John Coltrane. MW
9pm. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, $10. 423-7117.