.Music Picks: Feb. 26 – March 3

Santa Cruz County live entertainment picks for the week of Feb. 26




Rarely does the term “allstar” apply as well as it does to the Greyboy Allstars. Saxophonist Karl Denson sometimes tours in his other band, the Rolling Stones. Guitarist Elgin Park scores music in Hollywood, including on the cult classic Donnie Darko. And organ player Robert Walter also plays with Phish bassist Mike Gordon. Originally formed to back up acid jazz originator DJ Greyboy, the Allstars quickly realized their grooves were far too deep and way too rare to be stuck in a backing band. Quintessentially cool, understated, and still plenty freaky, the Greyboy Allstars bring the goods. MIKE HUGUENOR

INFO: 8:30pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Dr., Santa Cruz. $30/adv, $35/door. 479-1854.





The Harper kids had access to a plethora of folk instruments, thanks to their grandparents’ music store Folk Music Center. They grew into some creative adults. Joel Harper now writes children’s books, while the youngest Peter became a professional visual artist. The oldest became world famous singer-songwriter Ben Harper. Recently, Peter Harper has shifted gears to music. He has two phenomenal albums under his belt that meld elements of soul music, folk and Americana. He’s already found a significant fan base in France, which always likes all the cool American stuff. Now it’s time for the rest of us to catch up. AC

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INFO: 7:30pm. Michaels on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $10/adv, $12/door. 479-9777.




“Ahomale” represents ancestral wisdom, revolution, and the truth that has always been inside of you. It’s also the name of New York quartet Combo Chimbita’s new album—and the protagonist of this concept album. Musically, the group finds space for punk, cumbia, New Wave, soul and psychedelia. But the importance of the album is in the storytelling and the lyrics—Ahomale’s ancient wisdom should hopefully enlighten the masses in 2020, just as Combo Chimbita take old Latin rhythms and bring them forward to blend with new styles in some of the most cutting-edge musical mishmashes in recent history. AC

INFO: 9pm. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $18/door. 423-1338. 





Can you blame a kid? On lead single “Can’t Blame a Kid,” Portland indie rockers Maita dare to say, “No, you can’t.” Looks like they’ve never heard of a little kid named “Billy the.” Smh. Historical inaccuracies aside, “Can’t Blame a Kid” condenses a huge, headbanging guitar part into a taut indie rock verse, then winds itself tighter and tighter with each palm mute. When, at the chorus, the song finally explodes into the lyric “Can’t blame a kid anymore,” it’s like the Portland equivalent of arena rock: huge, but weird. MH

INFO: 9pm. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.




Since 1960, Tom Paxton has been penning songs for the likes of Peter, Paul & Mary, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and more. Of course, he also has well over 50 albums of his own, and has performed in countless countries. Most recently, Paxton’s teamed up with his buddies the Don Juans (aka Don Henry and Jon Vezner) for a bluesy-folk trio that brings the 1960s Greenwich Village wherever they play. MAT WEIR

INFO: 7:30pm. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $27. 427-2227.





We all like to get bummed out now and again. And music is the perfect vehicle to dislodge our inner sadness, so we can sit alone and cry along to said dark, depressing, hopeless lyrics. L.A. singer-songwriter Sasami will conjure up your inner sad-monster, or maybe sooth your wounded warrior. She also is a great songwriter who creates beautiful music filled with psychedelic layers of synths and gentle rock melodies. It conjures up an almost numbed out blissful feeling, with sounds that fall on your head like dying flowers in a vase. And if you take the time to learn her lyrics, you are all set for an evening of cathartic tears. AC

INFO: 8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $12/adv, $14/door. 704-7113. 




Self-proclaimed comedic “oddball” David Waite has gained notoriety with his performances on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Last Comic Standing and as a guest on Doug Benson’s Doug Loves Movies podcast. Born in Kentucky, Waite relocated to L.A. and can currently be seen co-producing the Secret Show comedy night in Culver City. His latest album, Dead Waite, is available now, but why not go see the man in person during one of his two shows at DNA’s Comedy Lab? MW

INFO: 7 and 9:30pm. DNA’s Comedy Lab, 155 S. River St., Santa Cruz. $20adv, $25/door. 900-5123. 





With her ravishing tone, unabashed lyricism and quicksilver flow of ideas, Regina Carter single-handedly brought the violin back to the center of mainstream jazz in the 1990s. She’s explored widely ever since, from Motown soul to East African lullabies. But she’s never surpassed the improvisational brio of her duo with piano legend Kenny Barron (captured on 2001’s Freefall). Her new duo pairs her with the outstanding pianist Xavier Davis, a longtime member of her quintet. Davis is esteemed as a powerful accompanist, a partner ideally equipped to support and push Carter into musical terra incognita. ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 7pm. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $42/adv, $47.25/door. 427-2227.





Colin Hay is a true storyteller. Between songs, the former Men at Work singer regales audiences with tales of his more than 30 years in the music industry, tales like: “When you get dropped by a record label, you usually find out from your hairdresser.” Since ’91, Hay has been performing solo, playing a mix of intimate folk songs and Men at Work classics like “Overkill” reworked as intimate folk songs. Now, 39 years after Business as Usual, Hay’s voice and songwriting prowess are as powerful as ever. MH

INFO: 7:30pm. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. $35. 423-8209.


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