Santa Cruz County live entertainment picks for the week of Sept. 11
Drunken nights, wasted tears and lying lovers. When it comes to the Big Moods of country music, Brea Burns and the Boleros has them in spades. The Arizona honky-tonk foursome come to Santa Cruz this Wednesday as part of the Crepe Place’s ongoing “Western Wednesdays” series, and it’s sure to get the dance floor moving. Led by the fiery Burns—a melodious crooner with just enough twang to make a cowboy weep—the Boleros have been described as a mix of Hank Williams and Wanda Jackson. So, if the cheatin’, lyin’ and cryin’s got you down, welcome in, cowboy/girl/nb. MIKE HUGUENOR
8 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. $10 ($7 w/ cowboy boots). 429-6994.
Gogol Bordello, a merry band of folk-punk misfits, scrawled its mission statement in ballpoint, promising to bring chaos, spectacle and optimism to the masses drowning in the sludge of irony and cynicism. They swore to use trans-global music to inform their energetic, spontaneous cabaret tunes, with the intent to provoke, alarm, engage, and incite a multi-cultural mosh-skank pit on the dance floor. They cast their lot with the immigrants, the unseen, the wanderers, and the creatives who’ve yet to succumb to ennui. They wrote it all down on a piece of paper, then crumpled that paper up. AMY BEE
9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $35. 429-4135.
Not content to maintain his status as one of jazz’s most prodigious trumpeters under 40, Theo Croker has revealed himself in recent years as a producer, vocalist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist with his own vision for fusing jazz, hip hop and R&B. His latest album Star People Nation is the work of an ambitious artist brimming with melodic hooks and tasty grooves. The fact that he’s firmly grounded in jazz’s deep roots—his grandfather was the legendary trumpeter Doc Cheatham—provides Croker’s music with considerable heft. His tough working band features keyboardist Michael King, bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Michael Ode. ANDREW GILBERT
7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $31.50 adv/$36.75 door. 427-2227.
Reggie Steele has dabbled in the world of acting during his comedic career, even playing a basketball referee on Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. The role came easy for him, considering he spent the first part of his life as an athlete. Now, Steele is a mainstay of the Bay Area comedy scene and tours the country with his profanity-free act, showcasing charming, relatable stories and situational humor, all told with playful, engaging enthusiasm. Steele’s a truly skillful storyteller, so you’re gonna wanna get those tixs, but also check out his YouTube video, “Black Guys on a Beautiful Day.” AB
7 & 9:30 p.m. DNA’s Comedy Lab, 155 S. River St., Santa Cruz. $20 adv/$25 door. 900-5123.
Locals Jean Catino, Linda Baker and June Coha met in the Santa Cruz ukulele scene (a vibrant scene here in town). They enjoyed playing their instruments and hanging out, but mostly they loved to harmonize together. Just like that, the Backyard Birds was born. The group expanded to a five piece with Larry Prather and Linc Russin, and soon they were able to perform gorgeous folksy renditions of all their favorite obscure pop, soul, jazz, rock, and folk tunes. The harmonies have only gotten better the more they’ve played—a local treat. AARON CARNES
7:30 p.m. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $9 adv/$11 door. 704-7113.
SECRET NUDIST FRIENDS
If it’s always sunny in Philadelphia, we totally get why there would be a group there called the Secret Nudist Friends. But this isn’t a mysterious cult of birthday suit enthusiasts; rather, it’s a fun-loving, queer psychedelic/garage-rock band out to make the world dance its problems away. For fans of King Gizzard, Burger Records or anyone proudly waving their freak flag, SNF will be booty shaking in Santa Cruz like it’s 1978. Check out their “Something on Your Mind” video if you want to get a sampling of their swaying-hip action. MAT WEIR
9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $6. 429-6994
Calling all heshers, stoners, long-haireds, witches, wanderers, and mystic rockers! Dead Feathers is coming to the Blue Lagoon. With so many wanna-be vintage bands out there, Dead Feathers is a refreshing breath of smoke-filled air carried over a sonic river of groove. Black Sabbath and Roky Erickson are clear influences, but the group’s ability to mimic the stoned-out rock sound of the ’70s is so authentic and heartfelt, you have to wonder if they were born in the ’50s and came to us in a beaten-up time machine. MW
8 p.m. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117.
Tony Furtado is in that very small category of musicians that can be referred to as a “banjo virtuoso.” He gets this title not just for his mind-melding chops, but his innovative approach to the instrument. He worked with Bela Fleck in his early years, so it’s no mystery why he doesn’t see the banjo strictly as a tool for foot-stomping bluegrass jams. Furtado has his own style that melds hyper bluegrass finger-picking, classic country melodies and progressive rock experimentalism. He also plays the guitar, too. AC
7:30 p.m. Michael’s On Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $17 adv/$20 door. 479-9777.
Those who prefer their dance music a little on the brooding side would be wise to check out Elder Island. Theirs is a moody, soulful dance music drenched in fog and stray beams of neon light. After two critically acclaimed EPs, the Bristol trio finally decided to drop a full length this year with The Omnitone Collection, an album whose imagery is like the missing link between ‘60s space-age design, and the home shopping networks of the ‘80s. They’re like the missing link between Amy Winehouse and Burial—dark, soulful, and weirdly hypnotic. MH
9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. $15. 429-4135.