.Music Picks July 25-31

Live music highlights for the week of July 25, 2018.




Who wants to see a couple of quitters playing music? Well, the Quitters (Stevie Coyle and Glenn Houston) are actual quitters, and have quit their fair share of successful bands (Most notably, the Waybacks), meaning they are either self-saboteurs or uncompromising in their vision (or more likely a little of both.) The pair started the Quitters as a way to celebrate these strengths/weaknesses and make good music together. It’s funny and sometimes gorgeous acoustic music with one member playing right-handed upside and the other playing left-handed upside-down. Not sure if that last detail matters much beyond providing more proof of their fun, kooky nature. AARON CARNES

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

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Don’t call Leftover Crack a ska-punk band—they prefer the term “crack rock steady.” What does that mean exactly? As a ska scholar, I can tell you that it’s a similar genre, but more extreme on all ends. The group, which formed in the ashes of Choking Victim, has created a punky ska sound that takes some of the most intense sounds and adds fierce, in-your-face lyrics about religion, corrupt capitalism, racist police and environmental decimation. The group’s masterpiece Fuck World Trade (which depicts Dick Cheney, Rudy Giuliani and George W. Bush causing the World Trade Center attacks) is now 14 years old, and its brutal message and musicianship is as potent as ever. AC

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 429-4135.




Krautrock is an odd, somewhat meaningless term used to describe a wave of bands in the late ’60s and early ’70s that popped up in Germany. The bands are all amazing, but don’t have a whole lot in common musically, other than an adventurous spirit that promotes experimentation. One of the most revered groups from this scene, Faust, is playing Santa Cruz, which is amazing. This group formed in 1971! Their records are vaguely Zappa-esque psych-rock, sometimes cut-and-paste recordings, generally chaotic and/or trance-inducing. Faust was never a commercially successful band (on what planet would Faust songs bump on Top 40?), but for people who like to poke around the outer edges of art, this is a go-to band. AC

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




As society continues to advance in the digital age with lightspeed movement, more and more people turn to a time when things seemed more simple. Just as Simon and Garfunkel or Dylan were the soundtrack of 1960s folk, Misner and Smith continue the tradition of heartfelt ballads that warm the soul like a summer day or bring the tears of yesterday. Touring on their fifth album, Headwaters, released last October, Misner and Smith will be backed by a full band and share the stage with Santa Cruz sons Joshua Lowe and the Juncos. MAT WEIR

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




Anniversaries are important for any relationship, especially for bands. This year, the Santa Cruz reggae representatives of Thrive! celebrate their 10th year together and decided to do it big. When the band released its debut album, 2010’s Gratitude Attitude, Thrive! broke out from the Santa Cruz scene, making it to No. 4 on iTunes reggae charts. This Friday’s show at the Catalyst, featuring Nashville reggae act Roots of Rebellion will be the premiere release party for their much-anticipated third album, Be Here. Their roots reggae and rock fusion is both irie and grateful, with harmonies and beats that dare the listener not to smile and shake their thang on the dancefloor. MW

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $10/adv, $12/door. 429-4135




Bluesman Taj Mahal has been a force for popularizing blues in the 21st century. With a career that stretches back to the mid-1960s, the singer-songwriter-guitarist has bridged musical, cultural and stylistic divides for decades. Now it’s his daughter’s turn to shine. Described as a “powerhouse vocalist and songwriter,” Deva Mahal co-wrote with her father the song “Never Let You Go,” from his Grammy-nominated album Maestro, and her soulful style is an amalgamation of blues, gospel, funk and jazz—everything you’d expect from someone steeped in American music traditions. CAT JOHNSON

INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $26.25/adv, $31.50/door. 427-2227.




Any roots music fan who’s been around the block a few times knows Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. The two were playing alt-country before alt-country was a thing and they’re at it still, shaping and furthering the genre for new and old fans alike. This Saturday, the two take to Moe’s Alley for an intimate evening of stories and song-swapping, melodies that keep you humming, and lyrics that stick in your head. Friends for 30 years, this tour is the first time Alvin and Gilmore have performed together. Don’t miss your chance to see history in the making. CJ

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




It doesn’t seem possible that the Supersuckers have been around for 30 years, but time flies when you’re rocking and rolling, I suppose. A garage/cowpunk/Southern rock outfit out of Seattle-by-way-of Tucson, the long-running Supersuckers play a rafter-rattling hybrid of country and working person’s rock and roll, infused with irreverence, humor and a good time approach to life and music. Led by frontman Eddie Spaghetti, the band has collaborated or toured with a who’s who of artists, including Willie Nelson, Kelley Deal of the Breeders, Mudhoney, Social Distortion, Bad Religion, the Ramones, Motörhead, Flogging Molly, the Reverend Horton Heat, and the New York Dolls. CJ

INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 479-1854.




If I was a branding consultant, I’d recommend that Paris Combo make a quick name change, swapping out a single letter so that the anodyne Combo transforms into the far more descriptive Paris Cosmo. The long-running band reflects Paris as a cosmopolitan playground, with its joyous blend of French chanson and Gypsy jazz laced with rhythms gleaned from Afro-Cuban, Middle Eastern, and North African popular music. The intoxicating host of the party is vocalist and accordionist Belle du Berry, who’s backed by guitarist and banjo player Potzi, percussionist and vocalist François-François, bassist Benoit Dunoyer de Segonzac, and trumpeter/pianist David Lewis. After taking a few years off while Lewis and Du Berry toured as a duo, the band returned to action last year with a strong new album, Tako Tsubo. ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 7 and 9 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $26.25 -$42. 427-2227.


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Cat Johnson
Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on community, collaboration, the future of work and music. She's a regular contributor to Shareable and her writing has appeared in dozens of publications, including Yes! Magazine, No Depression, UTNE Reader, Mother Jones and Launchable Mag. More info: catjohnson.co.
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