.Music Picks: January 30-February 5

Live music highlights for the week of Jan. 30, 2019





After a hard day at the office, nothing beats uncorking a bottle of wine, lounging in the bathtub and listening to songs about serial killers, gruesome spousal abuse and necrophilia. If that sounds like you—particularly if you imagine banjo-plucking murder ballads—then Amigo the Devil is your new Elvis. Don’t get me wrong, Amigo doesn’t glorify the darkest of human impulses. He approaches his subjects with the kind of deep curiosity you might get from a gripping Netflix true-crime docuseries. AC

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $13 adv/$15 door. 423-1338.

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For a century, the blues has weaved its way in and out of pop culture, avoiding exact definition. So when we say Catfish Keith and Preacher Boy are the real deal, playing their time-honored and fine-tuned mix of country and Delta acoustic blues, we aren’t messing around. Combined, Catfish and Preacher Boy have nearly 65 years of experience, endless stories and non-stop finger flying pickin’ that will knock the dust of any regular Wednesday. MAT WEIR

INFO: 7:30 p.m. Michael’s on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $12 adv/$15 door. 479-9777.





Margo Cilker’s soft and soulful country-acoustic meanderings portray a being craving the familiarity of comfort and a longing for change. Or maybe the longing for comfort and familiarity of change? This tinge of grass-is-greener runs through all of her songs, as well as hues of regret and shades of sorrow. All these conflicting aspects are wound up in her expert singing-vagabond hands. But does every hopeful homecoming inevitably include a fond farewell? AMY BEE

INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.  





In 2016, Mojo magazine declared James Hunter the UK’s “greatest soul singer.” The 56-year-old singer has been working hard in British clubs since the mid-’80s, even sparking a friendship (and collaborative relationship) with Van Morrison. But it wasn’t until Hunter’s incredible and high-energy R&B 2006 album People Gonna Talk that he broke through to a larger audience. In the tradition of a lot of Daptone artists, he’s a lost gem of old-soul purity that we were all lucky enough to have emerge in his later years and add a little sunshine to our lives. AARON CARNES

INFO: 8 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25 adv/$30 door. 479-1854.


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Swaggering and cool, RJD2’s production work has seeped into many cracks in the American consciousness. Emerging on El-P’s Def Jux label in the early 2000s, his beats were forward-thinking with classic NY cool, mixing jazz, cinema scores and world music in ways that always found their leading edges. Since then, L.A. has become a more pronounced influence on his work, as on 2016’s Dame Fortune, which charts a journey across hip-hop, EDM, prog rock, and soundscape. Also, he wrote the theme for Mad Men. MIKE HUGUENOR

INFO: 9 p.m. The Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20 adv/$25 door. 429-4135.



Hot take: Sally didn’t do anything wrong. I’m a Sally supporter. Why? Because if Sally did something to bring about SF Americana quartet Blame Sally, I say we should thank her, not blame her. Sally, thank you. Thank you for almost 20 years of the transcendent and ruggedly femme rock of Blame Sally. Thank you for the effortless guitar playing of Renee Harcourt, and for the cajon-rocking rhythm of drummer Pam Delgado. MH

INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $35 adv/$40 door. 427-2227.



San Francisco’s Katdelic is so much more than a funk band. Led by Grammy-winning artist Ronkat Spearman (ex-Parliament/Funkadelic), Katdelic is a musical experience with booty-shaking beats, choreography, interstellar jams and even some EDM mixed in. If Parliament brought us the funk on the Mothership Connection, then Katdelic opens the doors and guides us to explore their sensual sounds of interstellar bass. MW

INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $10 adv/$15 door. 479-1854.





Country music has always had an element of the rascally and mischievous, but is it capable of surprising with the unexpected? After listening to Buck Meek’s self-titled album, I’d say yes. His pared-down melodies are an odd composition, his vocal notes willy-nilly with lyrics both absurd and poetic, with no easy-access hook in sight. One might completely miss the country part of Meek’s songs if it weren’t for his unmistakably nasally Texas twang. Meeks brings vivid, half-told stories and strange one-liners to life by refusing to decrypt whatever muse is keeping him up at night. AB

INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.  





As a founding member of the influential and creatively fecund band Kneebody, tenor saxophonist Ben Wendel has earned a vaunted reputation as an improviser with a sleek, ingratiating sound and surfeit of ideas. Last October, he displayed both attributes on The Seasons, a remarkable series of 12 compositions inspired by Tchaikovsky’s compositions. “The Seasons is not only a representation of the passage of time but a statement on how technology has changed the way artists communicate and share art,” Wendel writes. Wendel performs with pianist Aaron Parks, guitarist Gilad Hekselman, drummer Eric Harland, and bassist Matt Brewer. ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $31.50 adv/$36.75 door. 427-2227.


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