Music Picks Oct 19—25

Live music for the week of October 19, 2016

Dressy Bessy


FRIDAY 10/21



One of the finest and funkiest New Orleans bands, Big Sam’s Funky Nation brings the power and passion of Crescent City soul to audiences around the world. Led by former Dirty Dozen Brass Band trombonist Big Sam Williams—whose lineage boasts legendary New Orleans trumpeter Buddy Bolden, his great-grandfather, and whose resume includes work with a diverse range of artists from James Brown, Allen Toussaint and Karl Denson to Dave Matthews, Elvis Costello and Widespread Panic—the band brings the heat with irresistibly danceable grooves, blistering guitars and drums, and, of course, horns that can bring the house down. CAT JOHNSON

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



What is it about ghosts and goblins that pairs so nicely with punk rock? It’s like wine and cheese, or peanut butter and bananas. Misfits set the standard and, ever since, groups all over the world have taken the darkest B-movie imagery and paired them with the most sinister guitar riffage. As far as Santa Cruz is concerned, Stellar Corpses is the band that rules the scene. The songs have a bit of punk, psychobilly and old school ’70s heavy metal. Most importantly, the lyrics will please any fan of the dark side: “Forever young, forever lost, children of the night/Avert your eyes from the cross, and scream into the night.” Eek! AARON CARNES

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $8/adv, $10/door. 429-4135.





The name ‘Ital’ comes from a Rastafarian term meaning natural and pure—well-suited for the band that was chiefly responsible for keeping the sound and spirit of roots reggae alive during the dancehall era. The Itals’ tight harmonies and uplifting songs made the members legendary reggae ambassadors of the early ’80s. The original lineup has shifted—today’s formation consists of bandleader Keith Porter and his daughter Koda touring their latest record, a unique reggae and R&B tribute album. Keith Porter’s father was a minister in Jamaica, and the singer has been spreading the Rastafarian message his entire life. With him, the Itals continue to champion the roots reggae sound the band helped create. Sharing the bill are Cruzah, Blazeen and DJ Spleece. KATIE SMALL

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



Renowned local Western swing outfit the Carolyn Sills Combo recently released a video for the tune “Big Canoe.” Filmed at Wilder Ranch, the video is a fun-loving nod to silent films and the slapstick humor of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. It’s the latest offering from our hometown heroes, who received four nominations from the Academy of Western Artists for their band’s new album Dime Stories, Volume 2, including Best Western Swing Group, Western Swing Album, Western Swing Song (“Even Villains Once Were Babies”) and Western Swing Female Singer. Keep your eyes on this band—it’s headed for great things. CJ

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


SATURDAY & SUNDAY 10/22 & 23



A world-music collective, Nahko & Medicine for the People is on a mission to motivate and inspire the members of their tribe—a global community of fans, activists and artists. Focused on taking action and spreading awareness of how to “live in harmony with Mother Gaia herself,” the band, led by frontman Nahko Bear, who is a sixth generation Apache/Mohawk with a Puerto Rican/Indian mother and a Filipino father, plays percussion-heavy dance music that unites, inspires and activates listeners to be the change they wish to see. CJ

INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $26/adv, $30/door. 423-1338.


SUNDAY 10/23



Television is one of the first wave of New York punk rock bands. Yet its music isn’t exactly what we associate with the genre nowadays: dueling swirling guitars, long mid-song instrumental sections, intricate chord structures. Really, the band’s influences drew from avant-jazz as much as ’60s garage-rock. The group’s debut record, 1977’s Marquee Moon, is about as good as any guitar-wielding band can get. Even if punk rock didn’t end up sounding quite like Television, its influence was felt by a whole new generation of post-punkers and indie-rockers, who did everything they could to imitate the group’s unusual approach to rocking out. AC

INFO: 7 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $33/adv, $38/door. 423-8209.



MONDAY 10/24



The Elephant 6 Collective, dating back from the ’90s, played various forms styles of indie rock, but all the groups had one thing in common: A love for all things ’60s. Dressy Bessy especially loved bouncy, jangly bubblegum in the variety of girl groups and the Monkees. The three-piece formed back in 1996. Its trademark was an infectious sound, raw-swinging instrumentation, and a penchant for almost overwhelmingly lush vocal harmonies. Dressy Bessy didn’t get the same name recognition as other groups in the collective—Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal, the Apples in Stereo—but more than earned a spot next to these other great groups. AC

INFO: 7:30 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10. 335-2800.



More than an all-star combo, The Cookers is a septet that brings together two mid-career players with five of the most formidable improvisers who played a central role in shaping the post-bop continuum in the 1960s and 70s. Organized by 51-year-old trumpeter David Weiss, who wanted to work with the jazz heroes who inspired him as a young player, The Cookers features the indomitable tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, 73, trumpeter Eddie Henderson, 75, and 56-year-old New Orleans altoist Donald Harrison, a young lion turned veteran cat. The rhythm section is similarly stellar, with 81-year-old bass legend Cecil McBee, who anchored Charles Lloyd’s epochal mid-60s quartet, and two players in the midst of brilliantly productive late careers, pianist George Cables, 71, and drummer Billy Hart, 75. A self-contained jazz festival, The Cookers have performed internationally and recorded prolifically over the past decade, revisiting signature compositions and interpreting new material written for the ensemble. ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $30/adv, $35/door. 427-2227.





Damien Jurado’s lo-fi indie rock makes frequent use of ambient sounds and field recording techniques to offset the singer’s signature heartfelt ballads. Nearly every song in Jurado’s repertoire seems to be inspired by some past event, relayed in an aching and nostalgic croon—think Father John Misty, with a darker twist. Jurado gained a cult following in his hometown Seattle before being picked up by Sub Pop in the late ’90s. He’s currently touring his 12th studio album, Visions of Us on the Land, which happens to be the final installment of a musical trilogy; the storyline follows the journey of a character who “disappears from society in order to discover universal truths.” KS

INFO: 8 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $15. 335-2800.



Legendary Bay Area artist and friends perform “Songs Of Protest & Resistance.” Thursday at Kuumbwa


Trumpeter and composer for the Grammy-winning Snarky Puppy. Friday at Kuumbwa


Celebrated rock outfit from Long Island. Saturday at Rio Theatre


Fun-loving indie-rockers out of Syracuse, New York. Sunday at Catalyst


Portland-based neo-country-rock. Tuesday at Catalyst

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