.Music Picks: July 31-Aug. 6

Santa Cruz County live entertainment picks for the week of July 24




Nicholas Merz is a storyteller at heart, so it makes sense that his debut solo album The Limits of Men has a literary bent. Each song is a vignette exploring different aspects of toxic masculinity. Merz uses dialogue and character to grapple with the consequences of a hyper-sexist society. He uses his small town, working-class roots and love of country music to reckon with the topic. Songs range from hazy-country daydreams to tumbleweed westerns. Merz’s deep baritone keeps the tales moving, as confident as any reliable narrator promising a hopeful end. AMY BEE

9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. 429-6994  





Jerry Joseph is no stranger to the road less traveled. As a psychedelic dub-grunge guitarist working largely outside the music industry, he’s charted a unique path from mountain reggae originator to freewheeling Stratocaster pyrotechnician. Joseph’s songwriting is a kaleidoscopic mix of grunge, jam, psych, and dub, all led along by his sizzling fretwork and distinctive voice. An influential voice in jam music, Widespread Panic has covered no less than seven of his songs. Recent years found the California native teaching music in Iraq and Afghanistan, experiences which fueled his 2018 album Full Metal Burqa. MIKE HUGUENOR

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8 p.m. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $13 adv/$15 door. 704-7113.



An ensemble drawn from an illustrious Cuban musical clan, Los Hermanos Arango hail from the eastern town of Guanabacoa, a hotbed of Afro-Cuban culture. Launched in 2003 by bassist Feliciano Arango, a central figure in Cuban jazz and timba circles through his work with NG La Banda, Maraca, Chucho Valdés, and Emiliano Salvador, the group features his brothers Ignacio and Eugenio on guitar and percussion, respectively, and his sister, Cristina, as vocalist and folk dancer. Joined by pianist Julio Valdes and percussionist Victor Tapia, the sextet delivers sumptuously polyrhythmic Afro-Cuban chants and surging Cuban jazz. ANDREW GILBERT

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




Just because it’s nice and smooth doesn’t mean it’s yacht rock, so put your skipper hat down. Sometimes good alt-music just sounds untroubled and effortless. Grizfolk plays such songs: light, jangly, folksy rock tinged with electronic quips and danceable beats. Its kinda like getting that glitter eyeshadow on your lids without pouring it down your chest. No, wait, it’s more like a delicious, predictable coffee with an unexpected dollop of whipped cream. I’m saying Grizfolk has the perfect amount of sparkle in its sweetly mellow alt-rock tunes. AB

9 p.m. Catalyst Club, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $13. 423-1338. 




It’s barely worth mentioning these days that a comedian has a podcast because, well, they all do. But Jackie Kashian has been doing hers, The Dork Forest, since 2006, so that seems worth a few accolades. On it, she dorks out with fellow comedians on whatever subject they’re obsessed with. It works really well because she is an actual dork. She’s so socially awkward she that the only reason she got married is because of online dating, or as she said in a 2017 appearance on Conan, “I am not good with men, but I am good with computers. So I am married.” AC

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



Raised in Australia, based in Jamaica, Nattali Rize hit the reggae scene in 2017 with her critically acclaimed solo debut Rebel Frequency. Rize and her ragtag crew have been recognized as part of ushering in the new era style of reggae, combining traditional island sounds with modern dancehall beats and a unifying message of peace, love and oneness. MAT WEIR

9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15 adv/$20 door. 479-1854.





Some musicians get all the fun, and Gary Hoey is one of those guys. With 11 albums under his belt, it doesn’t come as a surprise that rockin’ blues guitarist Hoey has worked with greats like Brian May of Queen, Jeff Beck and the Doobie Brothers. In his spare guitar-slingin’ time, Hoey has performed the national anthem for major sports teams across the country. Everybody needs a hobby! MW

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




Twenty years ago, Michael McDonald was the antithesis of cool. But things have taken an interesting turn as a new generation develops a taste for yacht rock. By the time Dylan McDonald started gigging, it was a point of pride to be the singer’s son. His band the Avians steer clear of smooth soft rock, focusing instead on more of an early-’70s Neil Young style sound. And Dylan’s voice sounds a bit like the famous ’60s folk singer he was most likely named after. AC

9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $7. 429-6994. 


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