.Love Your Local Band: Animo Cruz

A decade ago, reggae artist Mo—short for Animo—remembers playing three-hour bar gigs under the name Animo Jams. He’d play covers, extended jam versions of tunes, and just give it an overall feel-good vibe—“bar-reggae” as he likes to call it.

These days, Mo plays under the name Animo Cruz, which is still reggae, but features a lot more originals, and music that’s more personal and evokes a wide-ranging set of emotions.

“You’re not there catering to people drinking at the bar having a good time. It allows for darker, heavier tones; slower, or more intimate songs,” Mo says. “During the Animo Jams days, I could just be up there not even saying real words, cause people were drunk and having a good time, and all they need is to hear a voice and not necessarily what he’s saying.”

Initially, Mo went solo and played under the name Animo, dropping the “Jams” part of the name. After discovering a Colorado rock band that used the name, he added “Cruz” to the name.

Animo is his nickname; however, it’s also a moniker for his band, much in the way Santana is the name of Carlos Santana’s band. So far, he’s released two EPs, and has a full album slated for 2018. He still plays “bar reggae,” but now does so with the Santa Cruz Reggae All Stars, which plays the Crow’s Nest every Tuesday.

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INFO: 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $29/door. 429-4135.

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