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Thursday | 26
There are many reasons why ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) signed to Jack Johnson’s label Brushfire Records in 2006. For starters, the guys were college friends with Johnson, and reconnected in 2002 when they opened for him at the Fillmore in Denver. Since then, they’ve made frequent appearances at each others’ shows. But personal connections aside, ALO has that same carefree, easygoing sound as Johnson, but done in more of a grooving, jam-band setting. The tunes at times are a little offbeat and weird, but they get a nice dance vibe going, with no hurry to get to the finish line. They also put on a pretty elaborate stage show. It’s a laid-back party for sure. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.
The Nettwork Trio comprises Stanley Jordan on guitar, Charnett Moffett on bass and Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums—three artists who have played with a number of jazz legends and proven themselves to be among their generation’s great innovators. Jordan’s range includes classical, pop, rock, jazz and more; Charnett Moffett started his storied music career at age 7, and (as the son of Charles Moffett, who played with Ornette Coleman) has jazz greatness in his DNA; Watts, who is regarded as a jazz pioneer, balances elegance and precision with grit and soul. Together they create what Soultracks calls “something magical.” CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $28/adv, $33/door. 427-2227.
Florida alt-rockers Surfer Blood were the flavor of the month in 2009 when their indie recordings were the talk of many a music blog. And their 2010 debut, Astro Coast, delivered. It was a hook-driven Weezer-meets-Pavement-meets-Built-to-Spill power-pop record. They’ve left behind the world of obscure indie music, and signed with Warner Brothers in 2012. The band’s music hasn’t changed much, but where they had always been guarded lyrically in the early days, they’ve become less obtuse. Their 2013 album Pythons was released after an altercation the singer had with his then-girlfriend that led to an arrest for domestic battery. (No charges filed). A lot of the lyrics reference this incident to an unsettling effect. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 429-6994.
Friday | 27
Eastern Europe has a reputation for producing the most brutal metal bands on the planet. In Flames, hailing from Sweden, wanted to temper that intensity with a strong sense of melody. The band was started in 1990 by guitarist Jesper Strömblad, with the intention of bringing some Iron Maiden influences into a death metal sound. They also brought in a keyboard (unusual for death metal at the time). As the years have gone on, the sound has gotten slicker and more hook-driven, but they still rock out hard. Strömblad left the band in 2010, citing a need to “defeat his demons,” but the rest of the group has carried on without him. AC
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $29.50/adv, $32/door. 429-4135.
Saturday | 28
Kortney Jamaal Pollard, the soul singer-songwriter-producer who performs as Mali Music, got an early introduction to music’s transformative potential. At age 5, he took up the piano, and by 11 he was holding down keyboard duties at his local church in Savannah, Georgia. It was there that he experienced people being deeply moved by the rich, spiritually imbued music he made. The youngster was hooked. As an adult, he went on to become a breakout star of the underground, establish himself as a unique talent who combines, soul, hip-hop and gospel, and even nab a Grammy nomination for his major label debut album, last year’s Mali Is. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 423-1338.
In the mid-1990s, San Diego-based pop-reggae band Big Mountain blew up the airwaves with their cover version of Peter Frampton’s “Baby, I Love Your Way,” which hit the Top 10 in both the States and the U.K. and launched the band into the international spotlight. Big Mountain hasn’t had another mega-hit since, but it has had a hand in introducing reggae music to new audiences and growing the SoCal pop-reggae scene. Following a 10-year break from 2005 to 2013, the band is back with new material and more good vibes. CJ
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $15/adv, $20/door. 603-2294.
Once you hear this singer-songwriter’s voice, you will instantly know why he nearly won Season 3 of The Voice. Powerful enough to reach down into you and pull you out of your doldrums by the soles of your feet, David’s vocal prowess is something you have to hear to believe. David has released six albums and EPs over the past decade—including his most recent EP, 2013’s Say Goodbye, which debuted in the top 50 on Billboard’s albums chart—and one thing becomes clearer with each release: his vocals are fiery enough to heal your soul. BP
INFO: 7 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. $15/adv, $18/door. 603-2294.
IN THE QUEUE
Local, vintage country. Wednesday at Crepe Place
American Idol alum rock and roller. Thursday at Catalyst
KAI ECKHARDT BAND
Bass-driven funk and groove. Friday at Moe’s Alley
Santa Clara-based pop and soul. Saturday at Abbey
Underground rap sensation. Sunday at Catalyst