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Nov 26th
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Friday | 27

A lot of folks have been on American Idol, but few have stood the test of time. Local singer-songwriter James Durbin finished in fourth place on season ten, and has been one of the few to parlay his time on the reality show into a real career. And folks particularly love him here in Santa Cruz. He even recently released a song on YouTube dedicated to his hometown called “Santa Cruz,” and it’s appropriately reggae-rock. But Durbin came to American Idol with more than just great vocal chops. He’s a rock-oriented singer-songwriter that constructs some majorly infectious, anthemic choruses alongside some hard-rock guitar chops. There are also VIP tickets which include an early acoustic performance and a meet and greet. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 479-1854.

 Saturday | 28

With a six-musician mix of reggae, funk, samba, and everything else that makes a booty shake, it’s no wonder Extra Large has been voted “Best Band” in Santa Cruz County an astounding nine times. Last year saw the release of their latest CD, Fun, featuring 13 tracks of just what the doctor ordered to melt away all worries. This Saturday join the boisterous crew as they play their final Crow’s Nest show of 2015, and then start prepping for Extra Large’s 20th anniversary in 2016. MAT WEIR
INFO: 9:30 p.m. The Crow’s Nest, 2218 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. $7. 476-4560.

Is it possible for a band to be both hypnotic and play disco? Well I guess disco was kind of trance-inducing back in its heyday (a hip-shaking dance-y trance), but locals Moon Cadillac take the mixture to a new level. They’ve got the unmistakably bouncy disco grooves, but then color the beats with some surreal guitar work, and offbeat melodies. It’s likely to inspire equal levels of dance and just “tripping out” to the layers of sound—or if you’re lucky, both at the same time. It’s fun party music, because you can lose yourself in the groove, or you can sit and analyze the nuances of the music. It all depends on how you like to have fun. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.

A product of the Philadelphia jazz and blues scene, Gina Sicilia made a powerful first impression in the blues world with the release of her 2007 debut album Allow Me to Confess (Swing Nation Records), and she’s still spreading her wings. Her latest release, The Alabama Sessions (VizzTone), draws on a rich mélange of sounds, tapping into the soul, R&B, and country music indelibly linked to Muscle Shoals, where she recorded the EP. With her growing confidence as a songwriter (she penned every tune on the session), Sicilia is a rising star who is rapidly coming into her own. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 9 p.m. The Pocket, 3102 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz. $7. 475-9819.

Inspired by Sublime, Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, Dirty Heads, and the like, The Leftovers carries on the great local tradition of reggae-rock party bands, heavy on One Drop rhythms and stoney grooves. Hailing from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Leftovers plays feel-good music to get heads bobbing and minds drifting. Also on the bill: local good-time band Nomalakadoja. CJ
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10. 603-2294.

Sunday | 29

Country songs about love gone wrong, whiskey, and life on the road just never seem to get old. I’m not sure why that is, but song-after-song, year-after-year, we keep pumping them out, singing along to them, and crying to them. Bay Area artist Laura Benitez grabs this old country tradition and runs with it, making classic country-inspired music that blends the best of the 1950s and ’60s sound with just enough modern-day swagger and style to keep things interesting. Backing her up is her ace band, the Heartache. On Sunday, they take the stage at Don Quixote’s for an afternoon performance. CJ
INFO: 2 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10. 603-2294. 

It’s Dr. Madd’s 70th birthday and he’s celebrating it at Don Quixote’s. Anyone who’s been around Santa Cruz for a while is sure to remember his group the Dirty Butter Jug Band, which has been playing irreverent, politically incorrect, distinctly Santa Cruz music since the ’70s. Over the years, Dr. Madd has played rock, jug band and folk music with a whole assortment of artists including Albert Collins, Reverend Pearly Brown and the Yazoo Blues Review. AC
INFO: 7 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10. 603-2294.


If you don’t know the name “RJ” yet, keep your ears to the hip-hop underground, because this straight-outta-Compton rapper is coming up. Known for his O.M.M.I.O. mixtapes, RJ has also been featured on a number of collab tracks with YG and DJ Mustard, subsequently signing with both artists’ labels. He is from the new breed of rappers like Bay Area son IAMSU who are bringing back old-school, funk-heavy rap with modern club production. The result is the next generation of gangsta rap: still hustling but with nicer toys. MW
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $12. 429-4135.



Celebration of Jerry Garcia’s acoustic music. Wednesday at Don Quixote’s


Local funk/rock/reggae fusion band. Friday at Crow’s Nest


U.K.-based reggae legend. Saturday at Moe’s Alley


Standout reggae-rock outfit out of Santa Cruz. Saturday at Catalyst


Instrumental, guitar-driven rock. Sunday at Moe’s Alley


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Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


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