ARTS AND MUSIC
ACOUSTIC SISTERS: MIMI FOX AND PAMELA ROSE The new Bay Area duo, featuring jazz and blues singer Pamela Rose and world-renowned jazz guitarist Mimi Fox, is more than a celebration of the remarkable women in jazz and blues; it’s a celebration of remarkable people in jazz and blues. Fox is known for fusing bebop with soul up and down the fretboards. Meanwhile, Rose’s swing-meets-soul vocals have taken her all over the globe. Together, the duo’s acoustic project—immersed in early blues, folk and original material—is lively fun that commands attention. $31.50/$36.75; $18.50/students. Thursday, Sept. 1, 7pm Kuumbwa, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. kuumbwajazz.org.
ROCKY BAILEY BIRTHDAY BASH WITH BOOM DRAW Legend has it that the Kingston, Jamaica native Rocky Bailey has emceed every reggae show in Northern California—and beyond. Boom Draw will pay tribute to that claim, which might be impossible to prove or refute, with their multi-generational lineup that features talent with lofty resumes: all the players have backed internationally known reggae artists on tour and in the studio. The all-star outfit comprises musicians from beloved Santa Cruz and Bay Area reggae institutions, including Pure Roots, the Rastafarians, Dub Congress, Inka Inka and the Sugarbeats. Boom Draw comes armed with a mission: Rock dancefloors with classic songs from reggae’s formative years. $10. Thursday, Sept. 1, 7:30pm. Michael’s on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. michaelsonmainmusic.com.
GINNY MITCHELL, GARY BLACKBURN AND MORE A night of some of Santa Cruz’s finest singer-songwriters features Americana-roots musician Ginny Mitchell, who’s been a friend to just about every local musician. At this point in her career, the two-time cancer survivor has nothing else to prove. San Joaquin Valley native Gary Blackburn has fronted Blackburn-Dadd Band, Trigger Happy, Fools Paradise, the Western Flyers and UTURN. However, the most natural variation of his musical vision comes out in his solo work—an intimate blend of everything, old and new, that inspires him. $10/$12 plus fees. Friday, Sept. 2, 8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. feltonmusichall.com.
THE FOUR EYES, HOD AND THE HELPERS AND THE TENDERLIES If there is a list of best album names, the Four Eyes’ 2007 Five Songs About Videogames (And One About Something Else) should be on there somewhere. But the big news surrounding the garage rockers: It’s been nearly 20 years since they last performed in Santa Cruz, their hometown. It’s also a chance at redemption: The bandmembers agree that their final show in Santa Cruz before moving to Sacramento in 2004 was “disappointing.” Meanwhile, Hod Hulphers, the singer-songwriter namesake of the freak-folk outfit Hod and the Helpers, says, somewhat cryptically, of his band’s music, “there’s an empathetic pathos, a self-conscious bitterness rare in modern songwriting.” The Tenderlies round out the lineup with music best described as an orphaned child of The Zombies and The Pretty Things. $10/$12. Saturday, Sept. 3, 8pm. The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. thecrepeplace.com.
GROUNDATION WITH GHOST ROCK There’s a good reason that reggae royalty, including Israel Vibration, The Abyssinians and The Congos, regularly calls on Groundation to collaborate. For more than 20 years, the California roots reggae collective has stuck to their “no digital” philosophy. The band only uses analog instruments and recording equipment—no tricks, just a lot of talent. Their 2022 release, One Rock, marks the group’s tenth album, and nine new tunes fueled by complex arrangements that ooze with moving melodies. $30/$35 plus fees. Sunday, Sept. 4, 9pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. moesalley.com.
TAB BENOIT WITH JD SIMO While the list of awards Tab Benoit has received throughout his three-plus decades is long, the number of all-star musicians who have worked with the Houma, Louisiana native, including Junior Wells, Dr. John, Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, Allen Toussaint, Kim Wilson, Jimmy Thackery, Charlie Musslewhite, would take up a page. There’s just something about the Grammy-nominated guitarist’s stark variation of swampy Delta blues that singer-songwriters gravitated to—the same goes for his millions of longtime fans. $30/$35 plus fees. Monday, Sept. 5, 8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. feltonmusichall.com.
LESS THAN JAKE AND BOWLING FOR SOUP WITH CLIFFDIVER AND DOLL SKIN It’s a mid-90s pop-punk—with a sprinkling of ska—extravaganza. Pez-obsessed trio Less Than Jake’s 2003 Anthem might be considered the most successful record of their career, but it’s their distinctive style, showcased in tunes like “Liquor Store” and “My Very Own Flag” off their full-length debut, Pezcore, that put the Gainesville, Florida goofballs on the map. Around the same time, Wichita Falls, Texas’ Bowling for Soup, was sprouting a massive fanbase thanks to their own brand of eccentric power-pop hits like “Girl All the Bad Guys Want” and “High School Never Ends.” $34.50/$40. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 7pm. The Catalyst, 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. catalystclub.com.
FIRST FRIDAY: ‘FIRE’ From ecology to preparedness to recovery, September’s First Friday is all about fire. Experts will lead various interactive outdoor exhibits and activities in the “fire” field. There will be traditional fire-making demos with Alex Tabone; Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast co-author Christian Schwarz will also be on hand. Free. Friday, Sept. 2, 5-8pm. Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, 1305 E. Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. santacruzmuseum.org.
TRIBUTE TO THE BEGONIA FESTIVAL Organized by the Capitola Art and Cultural Commission, Capitola Historical Museum and Capitola Beach Festival, celebrate and share memories from 65 years of the Begonia Festival with historical memorabilia and much more. There will be a variety of entertainment, including the Capitola Ukulele Club, swing music courtesy of the Little Big Band and Te Hau Nui Hula and Tahitian Dance. Free. Saturday, Sept. 3 and Sunday, Sept. 4, 10am-4pm. Various locations in downtown Capitola. capitolachamber.com.
EL MERCADO RETURNS TO RAMSAY PARK The Community Health Trust’s farmers’ market returns to Ramsay Park in the parking lot in front of the skate park. The location might have changed, but the message is still the same: El Mercado aims to “decrease food insecurity and improve access to health-promoting resources for Pajaro Valley families.” Free. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2-6pm. Ramsay Park, 1301 Main St., Watsonville. pvhealthtrust.org/el-mercado.
WOMENCARE ARM-IN-ARM This cancer support group is for women with advanced, recurrent or metastatic cancer. The group meets every Monday and is led by Sally Jones and Shirley Marcus. Free (registration required). Monday, Sept. 5, 12:30pm. WomenCare, 2901 Park Ave., A1, Soquel. 831-457-2273. womencaresantacruz.org.
MOUNT MADONNA CAMPFIRE PROGRAMS: NIGHTTIME NEIGHBORS Visit the amphitheater near the ranger station, where a guest speaker from the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center will take you on an educational journey about a wild nocturnal buddy that goes “bump in the night.” Please note that there will be no actual campfire. Free. Saturday, Sept. 3, 6pm. Mount Madonna County Park, 7850 Pole Line Road, Watsonville. visitgilroy.com/event.
GREAT TRAIN ROBBERIES Witness 75-minute reenactments of shootouts between prominent law enforcement officers and infamous desperados of the 1880s aboard the Redwood Forest Train as it chugs up Bear Mountain. Caution for those sensitive to loud noises. $44.95; $29.95/children 2-12. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Sept. 3-5, 10am-5pm. Roaring Camp Railroads, 5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton. roaringcamp.com.
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