.Music Picks: Oct. 31-Nov. 6

Live music highlights for the week of Oct. 31, 2018.




Two decades is a long time for a band, but local Santa Cruz institution SambaDá seems like it’s just getting started. What started out as a modest dance project in 1998 by Brazilian native Papiba Godinho has blossomed into a lively ensemble of local hotshots. The group has earned the reputation as the go-to Brazilian band on the West Coast. At this show, they will be celebrating their anniversary by featuring players who have played with the group over the years. Oh, and it’s Halloween, so wear something this year! AARON CARNES

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


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On Halloween, the Suborbitals are going to set their dark and original music to the 1922 silent film Häxan. As the creepy black-and-white film sputters out archaic images of witchcraft and demonology, the Suborbitals will play both ringmaster and hypnotist, transfixing the audience with their soft and haunting emo-lounge tones. Their clever lyrics, often laying benign under the surface of gothy-jazz, will undoubtedly rise and come to life in joyous morbidity when paired with the grainy otherworldliness of a film so old and subversive it might crumble in the harsh daylight. AMY BEE

INFO: 8 p.m., Michael’s on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $10. 479-9777.





Few people are more steeped, stewed and sauteed in Cajun music than Jimmy Breaux. The fourth-generation Louisianan has Creole melodies in his veins; as a member of preeminent Cajun band Beausoleil (where his accordion was often the star) he was an ambassador for America’s Southern music, and as a solo artist he is a Le Cajun Music Awards “Album of the Year” winner. Get ready for a set of Cajun classics, as well as originals. MIKE HUGUENOR

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





Banana Slugs rejoice! The Austin Lounge Lizards are back in town, ready to dazzle with humorous, progressive zingers and serious bluegrass/country songwriting. The best spoof songs are the ones where the audience forgets it’s a spoof and abandons pretense to sing along wholeheartedly. Most of the Lizards’ repertoire is just like that: clever enough to laugh at, skilled enough to be catchy and also musically sincere—like Weird Al, but more overtly left-leaning and anchored securely in a folksy motif. The Lizards have universal appeal, from the literary high-minded to anyone who admires a great chorus coupled with a killer punchline. AB

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





Mark Twain once said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness”—and by those standards, Saritah is one woke musician. The reggae singer was born in Seoul, lived in England and currently resides in Australia. With such a broad perspective on life, she drops upbeat reggae tunes filled with love, laughter and hope. Oh, and she loves Santa Cruz, as evident in the 2012 “Tears of Joy” video that she shot at the Boardwalk, Cowell’s Beach and Ocean View Park. She will be joined at the Appleton Grill in Watsonville with the jinky sounds of Scooby and the Mystery Machine. MAT WEIR

INFO: 9 p.m. Appleton Grill, 410 Rodriguez St., Watsonville. $10adv/$15door. 724-5555.





After years of reworking songs, Steven Denmark released his debut album Cold Wind last year, packing it full of outlaw honkytonk and roadhouse tunes. Denmark might look young, but after listening to his album, it’s clear this artist has an old soul. He’ll be joined on stage with Santa Cruz County’s own outlaw rockers Southern Pacific. MW

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Flynn’s Cabaret, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $12/adv, $15/door. 335-2800.



They’ve been covered by Bonnie Raitt and Los Lobos. They count Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello as fans, and have even been the house band on The Simpsons. And 49 years later, the opening moments of NRBQ’s 1969 debut still sounds like they’re from another dimension. After one of the best shrieks in rock music, the “New Rhythm and Blues Quartet” open their (recently reissued) debut by bursting forth into the mutant boogie of “C’mon Everybody” before going straight into a Sun Ra cover. And that’s just the beginning for an album that fearlessly illustrates the genre-exploding possibilities of one of American rock’s best kept secrets. MH

INFO: 8 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Drive, Santa Cruz. $32/adv, $35/door. 479-1854





It’s one thing to know Benny Green’s resume, how the 19-year-old Berkeley High graduate was discovered by legendary jazz vocalist Betty Carter. He landed his dream job with Art Blakey, started recording as a leader, and was embraced by Oscar Peterson was a worthy heir. It’s another matter to read about these events from Green’s point of view. As generous and heartfelt a writer as a he is a player, he’s one of jazz’s great raconteurs. His tales are full of humor, wisdom and drama. Green makes his annual fall appearance at Kuumbwa with his superlative trio featuring bassist David Wong and drummer Kenny Washington. ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $33.60/adv, $38.85/door. 427-2227.





The public’s thirst for old-school authentic soul led to the surprising (and deserved) late-in-life careers of Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley. The next guy to make that list could be almost-80-year-old Ural Thomas, a high energy soul singer, bubbling with a geyser of emotion underneath his finely crafted velvety voice. Thomas released a few singles in the late ’60s and gigged with everyone from the Rolling Stones to Otis Redding, but never made it out of obscurity. He came out of retirement in 2013 and released his debut LP with the Pain in 2016. He and his band will remind you of Stax era R&B jams that feel fresh and infectious. AC

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 423-1338.


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