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Thursday | 11
POP / VOCALS
The son of folk icons Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III, Rufus Wainwright has a great deal of singer-songwriter blood running through him. It was made clear early on, however, that he was not to be confined to the folk genre. A standout pop songwriter and vocalist who has raked in numerous awards and nods, including a Grammy nomination for his Judy Garland tribute Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, Wainwright is also a regular collaborator of top-tier artists and a celebrated composer of stage shows, operas and more. In essence, he’s an immensely talented and sought-after artist whose creative range appears to have no bounds. CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $30/gen, $58/gold. 423-8209.
Friday | 12
For anyone who’s ever thought, “I don’t believe in love,” this Friday take a walk in the shadows to the Catalyst because you might just catch the eyes of a stranger at Geoff Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime. Known as the singer for metal act, Queensryche, for more than 30 years, Tate’s sordid split with the band in 2012 left the vocalist feeling adrift. Enter Operation: Mindcrime. Boasting other heavy metal alumni like Brian Tichy (Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake), John Moyer (Disturbed) and Simon Wright (Dio), the six-piece released their thundering debut, The Key—a first in a trilogy of albums—last year. To make the night of head-banging complete, Los Gatos rockers SJ Syndicate are opening with a smack of local flavor. MAT WEIR
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst Club, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $24/door. 429-4135.
Saturday | 13
The Growlers titled their 2012 tape Beach Goth. This wasn’t their first offering to the world, but the Burger Records cassette perfectly encapsulates what the band is all about. It’s offbeat and catchy, and is influenced in equal measures by Joy Division and the Beach Boys. The title is so spot-on, they even named their annual two-day festival after it (“Goth Beach Party”). The cassette, like much of their early work, is about as lo-fi as you can get. Their latest, Chinese Fountain, is actually kind of polished, relatively speaking. It’s still a weirdo blend of surf, rock, pop, and post-punk. Jonathan Richman opens. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m., Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $22/adv, $25/door. 429-4135.
Sunday | 14
SHERRY AUSTIN & HENHOUSE
This Sunday, two of Santa Cruz’s finest folk and roots acts are joining forces for an evening that’s lining up to be a boot-tapping delight. Sherry Austin and Henhouse, comprising Austin on rhythm guitar and vocals, Sharon Allen on vocals and guitar, Tracy Parker on bass and vocals, Jim Norris on percussion, and the legendary Patti Maxine on lap steel and dobro, is a staple of the local folk scene and a favorite of KPIG listeners everywhere. And the Carolyn Sills Combo, led by dynamite country singer and guitarist Carolyn Sills, is an award-winning outfit that adds new kick to classic Western swing sound. Don’t sleep on this opportunity to take in a double-dose of local roots flavor for Valentine’s Day. CJ
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25/gen, $40/gold. 427-2227.
Concord, California born alt-country rocker Cass McCombs teams up with Aaron Sperske and Dave Scher (Beachwood Sparks) and Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood) and Dan Horne (Circles Around the Sun) for a psychedelic journey into the darker side of American folk music. Brooding tales set to beautiful melodies swim throughout the Skiffle Players’ live set, captivating listeners enough that their debut album, Skifflin’ almost sold out during the pre-sale. MW
INFO: 9 p.m. The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $15. 429-6994.
Monday | 15
SOPHIE B. HAWKINS
In 1992, singer-songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins rocketed to the top of the pop charts with her song “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover.” The sexy and rocking tune, paired with Hawkins’ tough, sultry delivery made her an immediate sensation—and she didn’t stop there. Hawkins went on to chart with the upbeat love song, “Right Beside You,” and “As I Lay Me Down,” a ballad about her father. Hawkins has continued to establish herself as a thoughtful storyteller and conveyer of complex emotions. On Monday, she hits Moe’s Alley. Local music standout Tess Dunn opens. CJ
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.
Tuesday | 16
L.A.’s paisley underground scene married punk and ’60s psych-rock with a weird withdrawn vibe. Dream Syndicate were one of the biggest bands from this scene, but they also had some very non-Paisley Underground influences in their music, like a little bit of hooky arena rock and a lot of Velvet Underground. Guitarist Steve Wynn was quite the songwriter, so it’s no wonder that he’s enjoyed such a prolific solo career. His latest, 2015’s Solo! Electric vol. 1 shows off his larger-than-life songs, but, of course the way he recorded it—solo—it still has an intimate left-than-center vibe about it. AC
INFO: 8 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $15. 335-2800.
LISA FISCHER & GRAND BATON
“How Can I Ease The Pain” was a relatively big R&B hit for Lisa Fischer in 1991. But at the time, she had a more amazing day job—singing backup vocals for the Rolling Stones. She even got to sing lead on “Monkey Man” and “Gimme Shelter.” She kept that day job, all the while struggling to have a successful follow-up solo single. It was, oddly, the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, a film about underappreciated backup singers, that has brought her back in the spotlight. It’s a good thing, too, because her voice is stunning. AC
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $35/gen, $50/gold. 423-8209.
IN THE QUEUE
DAVE ALVIN & PHIL ALVIN
Americana favorites showcase their latest album, Lost Time. Wednesday at Kuumbwa
Celebrated frontman of the Gaslight Anthem. Saturday at Catalyst
Long-running purveyors of “Celtodelic rock.” Saturday at Don Quixote’s
TUCK & PATTI
Beloved duo plays its annual Valentine’s concert. Saturday at Kuumbwa
MICHAEL LANDAU GROUP
Composer and session guitarist who’s played with Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell and more. Sunday at Moe’s Alley