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Jun 30th
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Music

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Love Your Local Band

Harpin’ Jonny

Harpin’ Jonny

Jonny Troutner (a.k.a. Harpin’ Jonny) has been playing harmonica in Santa Cruz since 1992. “It was a character I created to publicize my previous business, Antolini Masonry and Landscape Supplies,” Troutner explains. “You might have heard the catchy jingles on KPIG.” The gifted harpist has accompanied dozens of local musicians for several decades and has a laid-back disposition that could have been Jeff Bridges’ inspiration for The Dude in The Big Lebowski.

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Love Your Local Band

Danny Mayer

Danny Mayer

Every Tuesday for the last three years, the faithful have gathered at The Crepe Place, spurred on by resident funk band 7 Come 11, and particularly the sounds coming from Danny Mayer’s guitar. This is not to say that drummer Beaumont Bradbury and organist Gianni Staiano aren’t brilliant—they are—but Florida-born Mayer is a revelation. So it shouldn’t come as a total shock that Mayer will no longer be playing with the band beginning in mid-August.

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Features

No Frills

No Frills

Alt-country group Drunken Prayer plays it like they see it

Morgan Christopher Geer thinks of himself a bit like a musical journalist, who spends his time “seeing things the way they are.”

And when the singer/songwriter rolls into town behind his constantly rotating cast of tell-it-like-it-is indie-folk players—which he calls Drunken Prayer, no matter who’s thumping or fiddling away behind him—he’ll likely be keeping his “antenna up.”

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Features

Inside Outside Lands

Inside Outside Lands

GT’s guide to San Francisco’s colossal music festival
Outside Lands kicks off Aug. 10-12 in Golden Gate Park with a slew of chart-topping and underground musical acts performing on several stages. And, if you’re anything like us, you’re struggling to pick and choose which bands to see. In our humble opinion, these artists are unmissable:

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Love Your Local Band

Afro Beat Box

Afro Beat Box

Will Kahn understands the value of combining musical talents. “I never could play drums by myself,” he says, recalling his teenage years, “so I set them up at a friend’s house, who was playing bass. … That’s how I started—playing with someone else.” Things haven’t changed much over the years for the multi-instrumentalist, producer, engineer, and studio manager at Paradise Recording. Kahn joined the Afro/samba/funk group SambaDá in 1998, and has been collaborating with local musicians ever since. For the last decade, it has been his dream to form a “total Santa Cruz supergroup” made up of his many gifted friends—and finally, that band has taken shape, under the moniker Afro Beat Box.

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Features

Blogging Beats

Blogging Beats

The Hood Internet, takes a break from mash-ups on ‘FEAT’

There are plenty of successful musicians who will tell you they formed their band on a lark—just a group of friends, jamming in a garage, drinking beer and never imagining they would hit it big. Until, of course, they decided to play a few bar gigs, and before they knew it, they were blowing up and inking a deal.

Aaron Brink and Steve Reidell have a similar story. Except this Chicago-based production duo, known as The Hood Internet, never had a garage.

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Love Your Local Band

Deepfried

Deepfried

Though the moniker sounds unhealthy, Deepfried’s experimental trip-hop tracks are fresh and easy to stomach. Formed in 2000, when Peter Chester (vocals/keys/guitar) and Robbie Cross (bass/vocals/guitar) were studying electronic music at UC Santa Cruz, Deepfried has become known for its organic blend of electronica. “Something we became pretty fascinated with was using computers to do looping,” Chester recalls. Using the computer software Cycling 74's MAX/MSP, they created the "cuisNart”: a personally designed digital looping instrument. The sounds they created were magical, he says—“sorta like grabbing water from a stream and putting Kool-Aid in it.

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Features

Redemption Songs

Redemption Songs

Oliver Mtukudzi honors the Zimbabwean heritage with sounds of struggle, hope and celebration

According to Oliver Mtukudzi (pronounced tu-ku-zee), “The power of art is to communicate figuratively and be understood universally.” That message is a key component in his distinctive Afro-pop/World music amalgam, often referred to as “Tuku music.”

A musical icon in his native Zimbabwe, Mtukudzi will bring elements of the African musical tradition, the stories of his people, and songs from his 57-album repertoire to Moe’s Alley this Friday.

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Love Your Local Band

The MonDays

The MonDays

After watching Office Space, Gabe Robledo couldn’t stop repeating the quote: “Uh-oh, sounds like somebody’s got a case of The Mondays!” The 20-year-old singer/guitarist’s favorite scene became the inspiration behind the moniker of his band, The MonDays. Along with fellow Pajaro Valley High School graduates—Miguel Soriano (bass/sax/guitar), and twins Jesse Flores (drums/shaker) and Ivan Flores (keyboards)—this rock/R&B/hip-hop quartet has transformed the mundane weekday into music that drags on, but solely because their sound is timeless and infectious.

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Features

The Runaway

The Runaway

Zoe Boekbinder bids farewell to the left coast with wispy, looping folk-pop

hen she tells you that she "escaped from the circus" to start her solo act, Zoe Boekbinder is talking about parting ways with her previous band, Vermillion Lies, which she formed and played in with her sister, Kim, from 2004 to 2009.

But Boekbinder could easily be talking about other episodes in her life when she decided to break from the norm to pursue other passions. She has lived much of her life like a gypsy—bouncing from town to town practicing different forms of performance art all the way.

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Love Your Local Band

Rob Owen

Rob Owen

The message at the heart of Rob Owen’s music is perfectly encapsulated by the title of his first EP, Common Ground. “The songs are about interconnection or ‘inter-being,’” he explains. “They are about the common ground we all stand on but often forget about.” Tugging at the heartstrings and capturing the soul of audience members, is one of Owen’s strong suits as a singer/songwriter. His journey as a musician began when he moved from Silicon Valley to Aptos, and the change in scenery added what he calls a “different dimension in [his] writing.” Here, he has found solace in his family and a muse in everyday life. “I find that at the place where inspiration and influence collide, there is an infinite ocean of creativity,” says Owen.

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Features

Turning the Tables

Turning the Tables

Cheb i Sabbah has the vinyl solution to global turmoil

For the better part of two decades, Cheb i Sabbah has been experimenting with cultural mixing of the most literal kind. The world-renowned DJ looms over his turntables like a weaver at the spinning wheel, interlacing modern electronica with traditional Arabic, African and Asian music. But it seems that Sabbah’s DJ gig is just one part of his plan to bring the voices of various cultures into harmony with one another. 

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I Was a Teenage Deadhead

Memories of life on tour, plus the truth about that legendary Santa Cruz Acid Test

 

I Build a Lighted House and Therein Dwell

Wednesday, June 24, Chiron turns stationary retrograde (we turn inward) at 21.33 degrees Pisces. We usually speak of “retrograde” when referring to Mercury. But all planets retrograde. Next month in July, Venus retrogrades. What is Chiron retrograde? Chiron represents the wound within all of us. Wounds have purpose. They sensitize us; make us aware of pain and suffering. Through our wounds we develop compassion. Through compassion we become whole (holy) again. Chiron helps develop these states of consciousness. Everyone carries a wound. Everyone carries family wounds (family astrology tracks the astrological “DNA” through generations). Chiron wounds are deep within. We’re often not aware of them until Chiron retrogrades. Then the wounds (through pain, hurt, sadness, suffering) become apparent. They seem to break us open emotionally, psychologically. Painful events from the past are remembered. They are brought to the present for healing. Through experiencing, talking about and deeply feeling what is hurting us, healing takes place. We begin to understand and bring healing to others. All week, Jupiter and Venus move closer together in the sky. They meet in Leo at the full moon, Cancer solar festival, on Wednesday, July 1. The Cancer keynote is, “I build a lighted house and therein dwell.” The soul’s light has finally penetrated the “womb” of matter. The New Group of World Servers is to radiate this light. At the end of each sign are keywords to use and remember during the Chiron retrograde.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of June 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Kickin' Chicken

Local kitchen alchemist Justin Williams is fast becoming a cult flavor master. His late-night wizardry, which began last fall delivering mainly to starving UCSC students, is catching on with taste buds beyond campus. Kickin’ Chicken delivers its spicy-sweet fried chicken and waffles to Westside residents between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. nightly. Or you can catch him and his brother and sister, Candice and Danny Mendoza, serving it up at their “Sunday Mass” at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge at 1001 Center St. in Santa Cruz. Using sous vide, a French method of cooking chicken in a water bath at a tightly controlled temperature, they then flash fry it for an amazingly crispy coat. Candice Mendoza spoke to GT about Kickin’ Chicken’s rise.

 

What’s a creative new approach to addressing summer beach litter?

Robotic dogs, with duct tape on their paws, that walk around picking up litter wherever they go. Joaquin Heinz, Santa Cruz, Barista

 

Pelican Ranch Winery

The most popular red wines found on store shelves are also those most commonly known, such as Pinot, Zinfandel and Merlot. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Pelican Ranch Winery’s Cinsault ($19), it opens up a whole new world. Cinsault is a grape that can tolerate heat, so it is found in countries with warmer climes such as Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and France. It’s rare in California but grows well in places like Lodi—Silvaspoons Vineyard in this particular case—where it’s hot and dry. Often used as a blending grape, the silky Cinsault is just fine on its own.

 

Open Wide

Soif’s soft reboot leads to expanded menu, plus the ‘thinking woman’s ketchup’