Puddles Pity Party

Music Picks: May 22-28

Santa Cruz live music highlights for the week of May 22, 2019

Puddles Pity Party brings clown cabaret to the Rio Theatre on Monday, May 27.

Santa Cruz live music highlights for the week of May 22, 2019




Punk got old. But that doesn’t mean it can’t still make a difference. Just look at punk rock supergroup the Drowns. Made up of members of Time Again, Madcap and Success, the Drowns’ first single off their 2018 debut, “Eternal Debate,” is a tried-and-true punk rock jam with a message of social justice and equality. MAT WEIR

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





Supersuckers are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their album The Evil Powers of Rock ‘N’ Roll by playing the entire album live. Frontman/bassist Eddie Spaghetti has been boasting that it’ll rock the pants off audience members, warning everyone to wear clean underwear. I say that’s not very evil, nor very rock ’n’ roll. Go ahead and wear those tighty whities that are no longer so whitey (or tighty) in honor of your favorite rock gods—they’ll love your rebellious nature, and if your pants fall off during their raucous rendition of “Fisticuffs,” well, who knows what shenanigans will ensue! AMY BEE

8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15 adv/$20 door. 479-1854.



Carving out a career as a jazz violinist is no easy feat. Mads Tolling has been a leading force on the instrument since moving to the U.S. from Denmark. He moved to the Bay Area when he joined Turtle Island Quartet, earning two Grammy Awards with the pioneering string ensemble before pursuing a solo career. The Mads Men has been a primary focus in recent years, with a repertoire of reimagined film themes, pop tunes and jazz standards from the first half of the ’60s. He’s joined by pianist/accordionist Colin Hogan, bassist Daniel Lucca Parenti, drummer Eric Garland, and smooth-toned vocalist Spencer Day. ANDREW GILBERT

7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $26.25 adv/$31.50 door. 427-2227.





San Diego’s B-Side Players started in 1994 with the mission of obliterating any boundaries between Latin American, Caribbean and American music. After all, is there that much of a difference between a funk beat, a cumbia beat and a mellow reggae jam? Maybe technically, but when all these dance beats, horn-driven melodies, and hip-hop and R&B vocals get in the cannon of the B-Side Players, it’s all just great music that will make you dance. AARON CARNES

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



The Talbott Brothers might dress like the Sisters Brothers, but they’ve got harmonies like the Jonas Brothers, and the folky chops of the Avett Brothers. On 2017’s Gray, the brothers Talbott wring out the last bits of daylight from Western soundtracks, using little more than acoustic guitar, piano and voice to spin tales of heartbreak, travelin’ and dreamin’. MIKE HUGUENOR

8 p.m. Lillie Aeske, 13160 Hwy. 9, Boulder Creek. $30. 703-4183.





Back in the ’30s and ’40s, swing was a really high-energy dance music that people would dance to ’til they passed out. These days, if a band starts up with the clarinets and the ride cymbals, you’ll probably start picturing your great grandpa doing the jitterbug. Oakland’s Van Goat wants to breath a healthy dose of punk rock into swing by making it stripped down, raw and so energetic that you’ll want to upstage your granddaddy on the dance floor. AC

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



Katz is out of the bag, baby. Louis Katz, that is. And you know what bag I’m talking about: restrictive social mores. Whether he’s having his girlfriend put a laser pointer in an unmentionable place so that he resembles a robot during sex (???), or riffing on the inherent racism of many descriptions for porn videos, nothing is really off limits for Louis Katz. He was a guest star of HBO’s Down and Dirty With Jim Norton special, and has been featured on Comedy Central, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell. Now, where did I put my laser pointer? MH

7:30 and 10:30 p.m. DNA’s Comedy Lab, 155 S River St, Santa Cruz. $20 adv/$25 door. (530) 592-5250.  





You probably won’t know whether to laugh or cry at the sight of an almost-7-foot-tall sad clown. With Puddles Pity Party, both reactions are likely to occur. Sure, Puddles is a giant, and he always looks forlorn, never speaks and has an uncomfortable affinity for Kevin Costner. He also has an incredible, operatic voice which he (forlornly) wields to masterfully cover idolized pop songs in a way that pierces the heart and makes what looked like farce now seem genuine. If a sad clown sings sad songs, it’s okay to wallow in sentimentality for a moment or two, and Puddles is there to wallow with you. AB

8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $30 general/$100 VIP. 423-8209.

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