Santa Cruz live music highlights for the week of April 3.
Founded and fronted by A Giant Dog frontwoman Sabrina Ellis, Sweet Spirit finds the Austin musician exploring the more unabashedly pop side of indie rock. Big, swaggering and just a little bit country, Sweet Spirit go for something along the lines of the New Pornographers-meets-Spoon. Appropriately, Spoon’s Britt Daniel (a fellow Austinite) was an early supporter of the band, inviting Sweet Spirit to open their They Want My Soul album release show. With each release, Sweet Spirit has upped the pop stakes, leading all the way to the recently released Southern, New Wave-y, ultra-catchy “Los Lonely Girls.” MIKE HUGUENOR
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8 adv/$10 door. 429-6994.
With three decades of recording and touring under his belt, James McMurtry is one of the most recognizable names in folk rock today. His last album Complicated Game was hailed as an “Americana masterpiece” by Rolling Stone, and McMurtry dropped the online-only track “State of The Union” last year, in which he bemoaned how politics have divided the nation. MAT WEIR
INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $30. 423-8209.
Cass McCombs has a lot to say, having released over 14 albums since 2002. No matter which genre he chooses to express himself—from quirky folk ballads to road trip psychedelic rock or even jaunty emo pop—it all ends up sounding like the bits and pieces of a strange person’s fever dream. Nothing is ever quite straightforward with McCombs’ decidedly folk-rock flair; even when it seems like you’re listening to a mere classic rock tripping-acid rip-off, the off-kilter prose will throw you for a loop, causing you to question whether you have been properly appreciating the possibility that Cass McCombs is a musical mastermind. AMY BEE
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $18 adv/$22 door. 479-1854.
Space Jesus has brought the “Temple of Noom” tour to our neighborhood with a friendly request for anyone within earshot to kindly jump up and bow down to our lords and lady of low frequencies. Thank you, Space Jesus—may he ever keep our ears bleeding and our hearts jammed in our guts. Naysayers are invited to enter the Temple of Noom to quiver and quake at the awesome power and never-ending progression of dubstep, techno, electronic, and any other far-flung genre our lords and lady choose to bring to the decks. True, believers, we welcome you. AB
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20. 423-1338.
DELHI 2 DUBLIN
Over a decade ago, when Canadians Tarun Nayar, Sanjay Seran and Ravi Binning formed Delhi 2 Dublin, they were really interested in taking traditional Indian instruments like the tabla and dhol and mixing them with the electronic rave music they loved. The mixture was hypnotic. As the group evolved, they really sharpened their pop game, writing some epic, amphitheater-level electro-pop jams. The music has gotten more accessible, but they’ve really been able to use these elements to talk about issues that matter to them, like what it’s like growing up as children of immigrants in Canada. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15 adv/$20 door. 423-1338.
MAGIC IN THE OTHER
The idea of finding “magic in the other” is a throughline that connects all jam bands, from titans of the genre like Phish and the Dead to fringe jam artists like My Morning Jacket and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Made up of members of Phil Lesh & Friends, Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers, and Jolie Holland’s band, Magic in the Other conjures a cosmic jam, each musician bringing their own bit of magic to the jammy table. MH
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.
Tim Bluhm is back on the road and even releasing a new album. Some might consider that a miracle. Back in 2015, he shattered his pelvis and nearly lost one of his feet in a speed-flying accident. Recovery has been slow, with numerous surgeries. How has he processed all this life-changing, traumatic pain? If you want the full picture, his new album Sorta Surviving is a hefty one. AC
INFO: 8 p.m. Flynn’s Cabaret & Steakhouse, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $18 adv/$20 door. 335-2800.
The acoustic trio Väsen has earned an avid following among musical adventurers over the past three decades. Featuring Olov Johansson on the keyed fiddle nyckelharpa, Roger Tallroth on 12-string guitar, and Mikael Marin on viola, the group has influenced and inspired progressive American string players with an intricately textured blend of traditional terpsichorean melodies and beautifully wrought original compositions. Väsen has become an international creative force moving far beyond folk music circuits. The trio is touring in advance of a new album, Brewed. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $22 adv/$25 door. 464-9778.
When thinking about great cities to spawn party-rock bands, Bozeman, Montana probably doesn’t come to mind. After listening to Dash, that might change. Barely a year old, this fledgling band has already recorded their first album, Super, and won several awards around their hometown, including Best New Local Band. Blending rock, funk, country and a little soul—mixed with a, ahem, dash of reggae—it’s hard to peg this quartet with just one label. MW
INFO: 9 p.m. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117.