Santa Cruz County live entertainment picks for the week of Sept. 25
Texas country singer Paul Cauthen’s deep baritone has a striking resemblance to the great Johnny Cash. But aside from a big cowboy hat and lyrics that indulge in self-destructive debauchery, that’s where Cauthen’s similarities with Cash end. Cauthen will challenge your idea of what country can be by mixing funk, R&B and gospel with the classic country sound. It works surprisingly well. He wrote his new record Room 41 isolated in a Texas hotel over two years, giving in to his unhealthiest impulses. It’s a mix of fire-breathing preacher and unrepentant sinner all wrapped into one. AC
8:30pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $12 adv/$15 door. 479-1854.
Victoria Bailey is something of an enigma. The Huntington Beach artist plays country music, folk tunes, pop numbers, and even jazz songs. And while we’re still trying to piece it all together, one thing is undeniable: Victoria Bailey’s talent is endless and effortless. Her sweet, smooth and sultry voice glides over the golden road of melodies supplied by her backing band or her own guitar strumming. MAT WEIR
9pm. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 429-6994.
If you listen to psychedelic dream-pop, it’s required you wear peasant dresses and macramé necklaces with lockets full of potpourri satchels. Don’t try to argue with me. Or else, how will you thoroughly enjoy dancing to Amo Amo? How will you get with the flow, how will you connect? You could put flowers in your hair, or glue tiny gems under your eyes. Intricate henna hand tattoos work. Gauzy veils would be gorgeous as you twirl and sway to Amo Amo. Rings, trinkets and jeweled headbands are all wonderfully visual cues you’ve lost within the mellow, spiritually attuned rhythms. AMY BEE
9pm. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $12. 423-1338.
Kendra McKinley’s Facebook page says her genre is “Girl Music.” That’s odd, because I have a lapel pin that asserts “Girl is not a genre.” Hmm. One of us is being funny. McKinley does have a great sense of humor, and it runs through all her girlie tunes, often playful and sarcastic simultaneously. From chamber-pop to funk influences, the songs maintain the integrity and wit of an accomplished singer-songwriter who dares to be gentle, sensual, confident, and silly all at once. AB
8pm. Lille Aeske, 13160 Hwy. 9, Boulder Creek. $20. 703-4183.
How old were you when you penned your first surf-rock classic? Jim Messina was 16. That was before he joined Neil Young and Stephen Stills in Buffalo Springfield, and before he helped shape the genre of country-rock in Poco. In the’70s, his collaborative project with Kenny Loggins (Loggins and Messina), gave birth to the massive hit “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” and they even had a live album go to No. 5 on the charts. Pretty good for a guy who insulted my mommy by asserting that she can’t dance! MIKE HUGUENOR
8pm. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. $50. 423-8209.
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: a sober comedian walks into the Comedy Lab … OK, I need to write an ending. Best to leave the jokes to ex-San Franciscan Jessica Sele. Now living in L.A., this hilarious stander-upper doesn’t hold back on any topic, be it dates with mobster hitmen or how to have a normal life in the end times. MW
7 and 9:30pm. DNA’s Comedy Lab, 155 S River St., Santa Cruz. $20. 900-5123.
By the time Ahmed Gallab was 5, he’d lived in London (where he was born), Sudan (the country of his ancestral origin) and Ohio. As a young adult musician, he did session work with indie artists ranging from Caribou to Yeasayer. When he finally made the jump to releasing his own music under the moniker Sinkane in 2007, no genre was off the table. With the last two albums (Life & Livin’ it and Dépaysé), Sinkane has verged on creating his own entirely new style with elements as varied as prog-rock, free-jazz, Sudanese-pop, electronic, and funk. AC
8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $15 adv/$19 door. 704-7113.
On Clean, the debut full-length of Nashville indie rockers Soccer Mommy, the band happily embraces both sides of its identity. On songs like “Skin,” and “Your Dog,” the Mommies sound a lot like indie’s golden age: all syrupy beats, slinking bass parts and light jangle. Then, on single “Scorpio Rising,” they go full Nashville, matching the lush acoustics with a massive, yearning chorus, and a video that features a Chevrolet in a floodlit field, Tennessee plates and all. Led by the plaintive and unaffected voice of singer Sophie Allison, Soccer Mommy will pick you up and drop you off. MH
9pm. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15. 429-4135.
Vocalist Madeleine Peyroux made one of jazz’s most dramatic debuts of the 1990s with Dreamland, an album that seemed to emerge from a hazy time warp where the edges of Billie Holiday’s voice had been buffed away with a soft cotton cloth. And just as suddenly as she appeared, Peyroux was gone, unheard for years. Her second act, launched with 2004’s Careless Love, has revealed a more complicated and curious artist. Her subsequent albums found her mining a century of American songs, while writing new material with brilliant musical partners. Her latest release Anthem is a defiant response to the 2016 election. ANDREW GILBERT
7:30pm. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $36.75 adv/$47 door. 427-2227.