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Dec 21st
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Music

bud Shocktop


Love Your Local Band

HAJI P.

HAJI P.

What do you get when you cross fresh beats with intelligent rhymes that mix humor into the trials and tribulations of real life? Santa Cruz’s Haji P. Born in Hawaii (no, he doesn’t know Obama), Haji grew up alternating between Oahu and New Jersey, and attended college in Wilmington, N.C., where he formed hip-hop duo Brown Co. with friend and fellow artist DunDee; he finally settled (for now) in Santa Cruz in late 2007. Last February, Haji released his second solo album, Neighborhood Kid, in collaboration with DJ MF Shalem. Even though it’s riddled with witty metaphors and addictive beats, and follows a Brer Rabbit-style storyline, Neighborhood Kid is essentially a down and dirty look into a life dealing with racism (“You’re gonna burn my church but you can’t just give me a cup of Kool-Aid?” he raps on “Neighbors”), along with the other, normal pains of life like dating—all the while trying to stay as normal as possible (“You ain’t got to knock on my door, I’ll be sitting on my front porch,” he assures on “Porch Swing”). “It definitely took a minute getting used to the Bay,” he states with a constant laugh and tongue-in-cheek demeanor. “The minute I got here I was like, ‘Yo, this ain’t the same! There’s no biscuits, no racism, what am I going to do?’” But unlike most rappers today, Haji P. is the real deal, staying as close to the truth as possible and continually practicing what he preaches. Along with writing rhymes, Haji works at the Boys & Girls Club and is currently legitimizing a nonprofit children’s charity called “Neighborhood Kid Foundation.” Despite all his community work and creative work, don’t think that he lets it all inflate his ego: “I’m not a saint, I have my troubles, you know? Whatever the situation is, I gotta make the best of it; if it didn’t kill me, I’m lucky. I write it down and make it into something entertaining.”


INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, July 17. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $6/adv, $8/door. 423-1338. Hajip.com.

Features

Cemetery Songs

Cemetery Songs

CocoRosie’s Bianca Casady on songwriting in graveyards as therapy
The term “freak folk” might be a misnomer when applied to the likes of Vetiver and Sufjan Stevens, but it’s a more than appropriate description of CocoRosie. The group’s avant-garde music is a good indication of its creators’ offbeat sensibilities: Frequently compared to the work of Björk and Joanna Newsom, it makes use of everything from children’s toys to coffee grinders. Then there’s the band’s visual presentation: CocoRosie’s two key members—vocalist Bianca (“Coco”) Casady and her sister Sierra (“Rosie”), who also plays guitar, piano and harp—regularly perform in gender-bending attire, and the sleeve art for their 2005 album, Noah’s Ark, was provocative enough to be named one of the worst album covers in history by both Pitchfork Media and The Guardian. (It involves unicorns, experimental sex and puking—let’s leave it at that.)

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Love Your Local Band

Noise Clinic

Noise Clinic

There can be beauty in chaos, melody in meltdowns, and bliss in torrential sonic attacks. Just ask Taito Reed and company. When you want to investigate the old adage “There is light through all the darkness,” hit up the former Junk Sick Dawn frontman’s latest project, Noise Clinic. Balancing structure with floods of improv, pitting screeching elements of jagged rock against classical strings and random found sounds, spewing shouts and spoken word, singer/guitarist Reed, violinist/singer Sayaka Yabuki, drummer Rick Walker, and bassist Joe Gabent eschew the norm. The quartet, made up of veteran musicians long steeped in the local scene, lands itself in an ambiguous state where the aggressiveness of punk coalesces with quiet poetry.

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Features

Time Travelers

Time Travelers

Carolina Chocolate Drops are fresh faces in old-timey traditions
With old-timey string bands overflowing out of the porchfront woodworks and into the mainstream, the Carolina Chocolate Drops are a reminder that such twangy revelry is by no means limited to white players. Just like Bela Fleck’s recent documentary exploring the banjo’s African origins, Throw Down Your Heart, the trio plucks out—via plenty of virtuosic plucking on its 2010 release, Genuine Negro Jig—preconceived ideas. The banjo, after all, came to America aboard a slave ship from Africa, and just as much as there is a reminder of that history in the band’s music, there is also, perhaps more importantly, an assertion that modern black music isn’t limited to that which is most often seen and celebrated on radio and television.

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Love Your Local Band

Project Felon

Project Felon

Despite the moniker, Project Felon is the brainchild of two friends who share a simple love for hip-hop and good times, Playz and Kevlar. “We’ve made mistakes in the past,” explains Playz, “but we’re beyond it. I’ve got kids, they need me and that’s as real as it gets.” Kevlar adds in agreement, “A lot of the time people live in the past and let that determine their future. It’s all about making the right decisions.” With that mantra in mind, Project Felon has been working hard trying to establish Santa Cruz in the hip-hop world. Armed with Playz’s rhymes and beats, along with Kevlar’s freestyle flow, Project Felon’s live performances have earned the duo everything from radio interviews to television spots.

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Features

Tequila Sunrise

Tequila Sunrise

Chuck Prophet found songs and swine flu in Mexico
Outside the domain of ethnocentrism, and beyond the lull of patriotic fervor, lives Bay Area singer-songwriter Chuck Prophet. His songs present an America that is full of fatherless sons, wayward youth and love just around the next corner. With a baritone voice that is overly compared to Tom Petty, Prophet inhabits a unique California sound that is one part Woody Guthrie and the rest rock ’n’ roll.

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Love Your Local Band

DJ Tom LG

 DJ Tom LGOn nearly any given day of the week you can find DJ Tom LG (Lakos-Galleguillos) dressed to the nines, spinning big band swing and jazz (Sides Speakeasy Monday nights at the 515), early R&B (The Red Light Night, Fridays  at The Red), and ragtime and rockabilly (Atom & Eve at Motiv every other Wednesday); plus a plethora of added gigs all as unique, original and classy as the vintage attire that people wear to dance to his sets. All of this makes him one of the hardest working DJs on the scene.
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Features

The Mob Rules

The Mob Rules

The Glitch Mob’s Justin Boreta lives up to his band’s name in a bug-riddled phone chat
Glitch: a minor malfunction, mishap, or technical problem. It’s a good word for the obstacles that Justin Boreta is encountering as he tries to chat with GT from the road. Frequent loss of reception is forcing Boreta, one of the three electronics fiends who comprise The Glitch Mob, to call back repeatedly to continue our interview.

“We’re always looking for new ways to improve our set,” Boreta explains. “We’ve been doing the whole laptop ksssssssss fraggen whole idea of ldbf mzrssff …”

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Features

Art Rock Talk

Art Rock Talk

Take a dip into the depths of Grand Lake
Caleb Nichols swings his arms in a wide arc, illustrating the release of his emotional baggage into the world. “This record’s about a journey that a lot of people have,” he explains, “about leaving home, and then trying to find it again. It’s also about the traveling itself.” He pauses, smiling. “About the baggage.”

Bespectacled, unshaven, and loquacious, he looks and acts every bit the hyper-literate songwriter one might expect to meet after listening to a few songs by his band, Grand Lake. His eyes follow the motion of his arms, and he continues with his wanderer’s metaphor. “It’s about trying to throw that baggage off a bridge,” he says, to soft laughter from his boyfriend (and Grand Lake drummer) John Pomeroy. “And then walking. You’re on the bridge; you’ve been stuck there for a while. You’ve got these heavy bags. It’s hot outside. You don’t want to walk anymore. Finally, you’re like, ‘fuck it,’ and you throw your bags over the rails. When you finally make it to the other side, and look back out over the bridge, you realize that one of them, not both of them, is still in your hands. It’s like an Alfred Hitchcock movie.”

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Love Your Local Band

The Inciters

The Inciters

There’s nothing like a little volcano ash to make a band bust a move. That’s what happened to Santa Cruz 11-piece soul ensemble The Inciters, when it got stuck in Germany this April because its plane home was grounded due to a headline-making volcanic eruption in Iceland. The band thought it had finished its European tour, but with debris looming overhead and dues to pay for last-minute room and board in Hamburg, it was show time. “We had to hustle,” founding trumpeter Rick Kendrick begins, “we were all broke, running out of money at the end of a tour, and having to pay for all of us to stay at a hostel.”

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Features

Time to Get Real

Time to Get Real

MGMT isn’t pretending, just ask the president of France
Indeed, what does Brian Eno know? It’s not surprising that the members of MGMT liken their relationship to the English ambient innovator as a master/apprentice dynamic, whether or not they’ve ever actually met. In fact, the band even asked Eno to produce the aptly-titled track, “Brian Eno,” but were shot down because he hadn’t heard of them.

However, nowadays Brian Eno seems like the only person who hasn’t heard of MGMT, which will come to the roomy Santa Cruz Civic with psychedelic trio Tame Impala opening on Saturday, May 29.

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Love Your Local Band

On The Spot Trio

On The Spot Trio

For a lot of bands, there’s one definitive show that changes everything; an inextinguishable fire is lit and there’s no turning back. Call it something in the stars, call it the apex moment when all the hard work culminates into one triumphant display of maturation, call it Fate casting down her signal to say, “I’ve been watching you and I’m here to help.” For Santa Cruz’s burgeoning Hammond organ trio, On The Spot, that gig was last September at San Francisco’s Boom Boom Room. Three years since first assembling, having joked around from the start that someday Soulive would be sitting in the crowd at one of their shows, guitarist Danny Mayer, organ player Kris Yunker, and drummer Emery Nelson were invited to play—insert jaws dropping here—a Soulive after-party.

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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

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Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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