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Wednesday | 7
In 1964, Roger McGuinn (then known as Jim McGuinn), Gene Clark, and David Crosby formed a trio that would become the foundation for the now-legendary rock band the Byrds. Despite numerous lineup changes and a run that lasted less than 10 years, the band helped put country rock on the map—most directly with its acclaimed album Sweethearts of the Rodeo—and served as inspiration for countless artists drawn to its layered harmonies and rich acoustic guitar sound. Frontman McGuinn, who was the band’s only consistent member, has already been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and is now a celebrated solo artist. CJ
INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $27/gen, $43/gold. 423-8209.
Thursday | 8
YOUNGBLOOD BRASS BAND
A New Orleans brass band from Madison, Wisconsin? That’s the Youngblood Brass Band for you. Technically, the band has members from Madison, Brooklyn, Nashville, Minneapolis and Chicago, but it has New Orleans style and groove running deep through its ranks. And there’s a twist: this 10-piece adds punk attitude, jazz stylings and organic hip-hop inspired breaks to create a lively sound that bends boundaries and gets dance floors bouncing. CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $10/adv, $13/door. 479-1854.
The daughter of immigrant parents from Rwanda and Uganda, New York-based jazz vocalist Somi has found particular inspiration in the rhythms and cadences of East and West Africa. An 18-month sojourn to Africa’s largest city resulted in her latest album, The Lagos Music Salon, a project that pulses with the fervent and resourceful creativity of Nigeria’s sprawling former capital. Possessing a luscious voice and intrepid musical spirit, Somi keeps exceptional company on the bandstand, including the brilliant guitarist Liberty Ellman, a standout on the 1990s Bay Area jazz scene and an acclaimed bandleader in his own right. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 427-2227.
Friday | 9
XAVIER RUDD & THE UNITED NATIONS
Xavier Rudd is listed as playing only three instruments on his latest album, Nanna. That’s actually pretty remarkable, considering that the Australian singer-songwriter is known to take up three to four times that number, sometimes all at once. Well, Rudd used to play solo, and would surround himself with instruments, and most of them are weird instruments that only exist in Australia and at Burning Man. But he’s backed by his group the United Nations on this album and tour, and they’ve created a more collaborative record. It’s as uplifting, earthy and distinctly Australian (i.e., didgeridoo) as his earlier work, but United Nations leans much heavier into a breezy reggae groove. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 429-4135.
SLUGS N’ ROSES
How many Grateful Dead tribute bands have the word “slug” in their name? I’m thinking our local Slugs N’ Roses may well be the only one. And just as slugs hold a special place in the hearts of many Santa Cruzans, so too do the Grateful Dead, that one-of-a-kind musical and cultural creative explosion that lit up the Bay Area back in the day and continues to ripple through the collective consciousness. On Friday, Slugs N’ Roses, with the help of Grammy-nominated singer Tammi Brown, does what they do best: pay tribute to the legendary band and give all the local Dead-loving slug appreciators an opportunity to get our psychedelic groove on. Also on the bill: singer-songwriter Nels Andrews. The performance benefits Monarch Community School. CJ
7:30 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 427-2227.
It’s hard to imagine the emotive, lush ’70s folk-rock sound without picturing Gordon Lightfoot. His melancholy storytelling and flawed baritone voice were all over AM radio at the time. The Canadian singer-songwriter actually started out in the ’60s, but it was in the mid-70s that he had his biggest stretch of singles: “Carefree Highway,” “Rainy Day People,” “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” He has gone on to influence musicians in genres ranging from country to rock to alternative. The 76-year-old Lightfoot has had health issues the past decade, so he hasn’t played much lately, but he seems to be doing better now. AC
INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $65. 423-8209.
Saturday | 10
After 40 years of music, three Grammy wins and a score of albums, Los Lobos has become a household name. Their unique blend of Tex Mex, country funk, Latin Rock and everything in between has earned them a place in rock ’n’ roll history all their own. They were even once signed to the great punk label Slash Records, on the recommendation of Rockabilly legends, the Blasters. Last month, the quintet released its 24th full-length, Gates of Gold, which finds the band re-exploring their musical and cultural roots. This Saturday, the “Wolves of East L.A.” will be playing two shows, at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m., with no openers, so make sure to get there early. MAT WEIR
INFO: 6:30 & 9:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $45-$50. 479-1854.
In 2007, Eric D. Johnson joined the Shins for four years. He was an obvious choice for the group, as he came up in the same indie-folk scene back in the late ’90s. Johnson has in fact played in a lot of bands, like Califone and I Rowboat, but all along, he maintained a side project called Fruit Bats, of which he is the only constant member. Like the Shins, he has always kept one foot in melancholy folk and the other in infectious pop, but Fruit Bats have always basked a bit more in ’70s soft rock, even dabbling in disco and probably a bit more Three Dog Night than most other current bands would care to indulge. It all works, as Johnson is a great narrative storyteller, and has a genuine love for this music. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $12. 429-6994.
Sunday | 11
In 1995, Hapa broke onto the Hawaiian music scene with their self-titled debut album. Driven by cross-cultural (Hapa means “half” in Hawaiian) backgrounds and styles, the duo quickly became a favorite on the islands, and played informal musical ambassador to us mainlanders. Despite losing one half of the duo to a solo career, then his replacement to an untimely death, the group’s founder, Barry Flanagan, has regrouped and recreated Hapa. The latest iteration sees him collaborating with multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Kapono Na’ili’ili. CJ
INFO: 7 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $25/adv, $30/door. 603-2294.
IN THE QUEUE
Los Angeles-based rapper with experimental tendencies. Wednesday at Catalyst
Nicholas Thorburn, frontman of the Unicorns and Islands. Wednesday at Crepe Place
Longrunning California Western swing band celebrates its 30th anniversary. Thursday at Don Quixote’s
Legendary reggae band out of Kingston, Jamaica. Sunday at Catalyst
Bay Area blues singer-songwriter hosts a CD pre-release party. Sunday at Moe’s Alley