.Music Picks: Oct. 17-23

Live music highlights for the week of Oct. 17, 2018.




1,500 light years from Earth, the Horsehead Nebula floats like a cowboy’s dream. Both rootsy and ethereal, this interstellar object comes to mind when listening to Austin’s the Deer, who describe themselves variously as “psychotropic folk,” “stargaze surf,” and “cosmic Americana.” Led by singer/keyboardist Grace Rowland Park, the Deer are the audio equivalent of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, taking familiar elements of the American Southern experience and expanding them outward into the far reaches of the universe. MIKE HUGUENOR

INFO: 9:00 p.m. The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10/adv, $12/door. 429-6994



Chris Webster and Nina Gerber have fearlessly chartered their own paths across the Bay Area’s music scene for decades. Along the way, they kept running into each other. So in 2013, Webster (a soul singer) and Gerber (an accomplished guitarist) decided to collaborate. Apple Blossom Lane, the resulting album, is a timeless blend of folk, soul, traditional, and rock, interweaving each musician’s unique voice into something that couldn’t have existed without the other. Gerber’s effortless guitar playing is a band in itself, providing the necessary accompaniment for Webster’s expansive voice, as on the hauntingly beautiful “Lay Me Down Easy.” MH

INFO: 7:30 p.m. Michael’s On Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $20 adv/$23 door. 479-9777





New York melodic hardcore band H2O loves to skate. They even wrote a song about it on their latest record Use Your Voice. (“The sweat! The pain! The scars! The scabs!”) Almost-local skate legend Steve Caballero plays guitars on the song and does plenty of skating in the video. It’s no coincidence that their 2015 record would be so heavily doused in old-school punk culture. The band, which formed in 1995, lived and breathed the DIY punk lifestyle when it seemed like punk would take over the world. After breaking up in 2003, then reforming in 2008, they’ve approached music as a means to having as much fun as possible, and their three post-hiatus albums reflect that. AARON CARNES  

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $18/adv, $20/door. 423-1338.


FRIDAY 10/19



Who’s the most important reggae figure of all time? If you said Bob Marley, you need to leave at once. The correct answer is Lee Scratch Perry, who, by the way, transformed Bob Marley from a ska-singing romantic into a political roots reggae radical. Perry is famous for both his masterful producing and flawless original material, and really deserves the title as Godfather of roots reggae. He’s also insane, which adds to his brilliance, clearly. He’s on tour celebrating the 45th anniversary of his band the Upsetter’s haunting reggae masterpiece Blackboard Jungle Dub. AC

INFO: 9 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $28.50. 423-8209.




Christian Sands is having a breakout year. On the heels of his impressive 2017 debut album Reach, the sensational 29-year-old pianist has been tapped for several prominent positions, such as taking over from his late mentor Geri Allen as creative ambassador for the Erroll Garner Jazz Project. On his new album Facing Dragons, he alternates between piano, Fender Rhodes and Hammond B-3 organ, a project that showcases his skills as a composer and arranger. Like on the album, he’s joined on this tour by the exceptional bassist Yasushi Nakamura, drummer Jonathan Barber, who’s performed around the region, and powerhouse trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, who rounds out this dazzling trio. ANDREW GILBERT

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





Romantic. Haunting. Brooding. All are great ways to describe the music of Greek folk artist Simrit. Her hypnotic voice has earned her famous fans like Steven Tyler and Belinda Carlisle, the later even dubbing Simrit “punk rock.” That might be because Simrit is unashamedly herself, bringing a sharply unique perspective and sound to her music. YouTube offers a plethora of her live performances, but the more you watch, the more you are stunned at the hypnotic sounds that seamlessly drip from her pores. MAT WEIR

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




All praise the heavy psych-gods, because Mammatus is returning to the stage! Since 2005, this local group has earned a diehard cult following, playing anywhere they could from legit clubs to dingy house shows. Fast forward 13 years later, and the cult has only grown. The band has only released four albums, their most recent being 2015’s Sparkling Waters. And Mammatus hardly ever plays, making nights like Oct. 20 a special occasion to write home about. Bring your ibuprofen, for some serious headbanging will ensue. They will be joined by Kinski and the Feral Ohms. MW

INFO: 9 p.m. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, $10. 423-7117.




You can easily envision the Coffis Brothers as the house band in some Santa Cruz version of the movie Roadhouse. They keep the party going with uncomplicated, feel-good rock, slide into raging, guitar-heavy tunes when the bar fight turns nasty, then easily slip back into a soft, baleful country song when everyone sobers up, ready to slow-dance with their honey. With a huge dose of Petty influence and a lifetime of frolicking in the California hills, they are the band you want at your next all-night bonfire. And when that one drunk guy yells, “Free Bird!”, I bet the Coffis Brothers are willing to oblige. AMY BEE

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


SUNDAY 10/21



Local musician Elie Mabanza sings about his youth in Africa. Most of the lyrics are in French, and sometimes his native Congolese, which only adds to the dramatic, haunting quality of his work. The timbre of his acoustic guitar is rich, vibrant and rhythmic; each note plucked so crystal-clear and true, coming across like Mabanza’s second voice. Together they weave a melody heartbreaking and redemptive, bittersweet and joyous, much like Mabanza’s thoughts on life: “Life is life and people are people everywhere, even in the midst of terrible suffering.” AB

INFO: 7 p.m. Flynn’s Cabaret & Steakhouse, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10/adv, $12/door. 335-2800.


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