.Music Picks: December 19-25

Live music highlights for the week of Dec. 19, 2018




The holidays are back, and that means one man has been preparing all year for one night. Not Santa—we’re talking about Boulder Creek musician Mike Renwick. He’s back with his Holiday Deluxe show. For 364 days, Renwick plans, practices and works with Bay Area musicians to create a holiday experience so amazing you’ll forget about all of the coal Santa left in your stocking. Dashing through the show is a mix of rock, blues and funk jams, with Renwick breaking out the acoustic guitar from time to time. MAT WEIR

INFO: 8 p.m. Flynn’s Cabaret, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $20/adv, $25/door. 335-2800.


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Things have gotten more laid back since jazz guitarist Josh Collins joined Proxima Parada a few years back. Having once described their music as “porch-stompin,” this slower, smoother, more soulful version of the band could’ve been met with eye rolls and resistance. Instead, fans embraced the more mature R&B sound, even contributing to a Kickstarter to fund their last album, Big Seven. All in all, redirecting creative efforts into jazzier, smokier and tighter arrangements (and gaining Josh Collins, of course) have evolved Proxima Parada into the best version of itself so far. AMY BEE

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst Club, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $10/adv, $13/door. 423-1338.



Back in the bronze age, when record labels could build global empires on the strength of a concept, Windham Hill became an international force with a stable of startlingly accomplished musicians versed in an array of acoustic musical traditions. Among the label’s best-selling releases was a series of seasonal anthologies, and none did better than 1986’s A Winter’s Solstice. The album birthed a perennially popular tour. Marking the 30th anniversary of that undertaking, three of the original artists are back on the road together: Windham Hill founder Will Ackerman, Grammy-nominated Alex de Grassi and the extraordinary Barbara Higbie. ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 7:30 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $36.75/adv, $45/door. 423-8209.



These electro-funk, retro visionaries juxtapose ’80s workout hotties, with frontman Dylan Germick pouring wet foods on dry foods and singing catchy, silly-sexy lyrics about getting naked all day. I came away kinda … well, hungry. But maybe Planet Booty are purposefully pointing out the cosmic connection between food, sex and exercise? How dance is the fruit of life, and booty is the fruition of a life well-lived, like that cigarette butt commercial where all the butts rap about the beauty of their differences? In that case, I (and everyone else) am the perfect fan base. AB

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $8/adv, $12/door. 479-1854.


FRIDAY 12/21



The lighthearted, breezy reggae-pop songs of Anuhea are staples in Hawaii, the land where she hails from. Her second album, 2011’s For Love, really seems to have struck a pop chord with the people there, finding the middle ground between reggae and island music. After releasing some EPs and a live record, she’s back with a new album, Follow Me. It’s a bit more intense than the simple smiling-girl-walking-around-the-island-with-her ukulele that defined her early years. It’s still got those elements, but it’s blended with a modernized, drum-machine-y R&B flair. AARON CARNES

INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.



Is it more important to sound like the Grateful Dead, or embody the spirit of the band? Here at GT, we don’t think anyone should have to sacrifice either when trying to get their twirl on in the pit. Thankfully, neither do Los Angeles’ Grateful Shred. Since 2016, they have kept the laissez-faire, controlled-chaos philosophy of the Dead while replicating the songs and sounds of one of the Bay Area’s monumental groups. MW

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20. 423-1338



Is there a band name more Watsonville than the Apple City Slough Band? No, there is not. This six-piece of Apple City rockers proudly wears their Watsonville pride on their sleeves as they bring a large heaping of breezy, jam-band rock ‘n’ roll with a distinctly Americana rootsy twist. It’s good, down-home music without pretense, like a low-key, lo-fi Eagles. It’s like they sing: “We’re not musicians. We just like to rock ’n’ roll.” Their record Live at Costanoa will make you feel extra groovy. AC

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Michael’s on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $10. 479-9777.





Santa Cruz, it’s time to light up a J. A nice sticky J—one that slows things down and gets your heart rate up. The kind that gets you hearing new things in music. You know what J I’m talking about: jam. When it comes to this big J, you’d be hard pressed to find a more accomplished group of musicians than the Rock Collection. Featuring Melvin Seals of the Jerry Garcia Band, Stu Allen of Phil Lesh and Friends, and Greg Anton of blues-fusion beast Zero, the Rock Collective rolls up and pass around gobs of the sticky, icky stuff. MIKE HUGUENOR

INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.



When you say the word “funk,” everyone thinks of the same thing: sweaters. This Saturday, Michael’s On Main brings us the Funky Sweater Xmess Get Down, a Christmas sweater funk fest wherein the funkiest sweater wins. Laying down the beat for this funky (and insulated) holiday bacchanal is Chico’s Smokey the Groove, a jazz-funk ensemble with a full horn section that promises each show will be (no joke) “a journey through time, space and the beyond.” Be sure to bring a sweater that can handle at least four funky dimensions. MH

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Michael’s On Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $10. 479-9777.


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