.Things to do in Santa Cruz

Week of 1-10-24




Since 2020, the Speak For Change podcast has been a local go-to for everything from self-help tips on navigating life to critical analyses of race and culture in modern America. This Thursday, host Thomas Sage Pedersen helms a live concert and discussion with local musician Summer Red, a lifelong musician and the owner and lead producer for Sonivore Studio. Red is also an Event Coordinator on staff at UC Santa Cruz, where he creates conversations about art and community by featuring local voices across different mediums. Thursday’s event at the Tannery Art Center’s Indexical venue will focus on the role of music in modern culture, promising a night of stimulating conversation and song. MAT WEIR

INFO: 7:30pm, Indexical, 1050 River St., Santa Cruz. $5-$20. 475-9600.

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California-based singer-songwriter and guitar slinger Coco Montoya learned from the best when he played drums behind Telecaster master Albert Collins several decades ago. A southpaw guitarist, Montoya has taken Albert’s high-energy “play what you feel” approach to heart, winning the Blues Music Award for Best New Artist with his debut 1995 album. In 2019, Alligator Records released his most recent album, Comin’ In Hot, which showcases his steadily improving songwriting and road-dog grit. DAN EMERSON

INFO: 8pm, Felton Music Hall, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. $27/adv, $32/door. 704-7113.



Born in Georgia and based in Nashville, singer-songwriter Molly Parden croons sweetly through life with her guitar in hand. Her 2020 EP Rosemary is a vulnerable postmortem of a relationship, featuring devastating lines like, I hardly ever think of you/ Only when I use my legs to walk/ Only when leaves do somersaults. Her 2023 follow-up, Sacramented, brings elements of her Christian upbringing into her present. With heroes like Chet Baker and folk rockers of the past, Parden has an indie sound reminiscent of Feist, Faye Webster and Phoebe Bridgers. ADDIE MAHMASSANI

INFO: 9pm, Catalyst, 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 713-5492.



What would Santa Cruz be like without the Fungus Fair? The annual event, copresented by the Museum of Natural History and the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz, took a three-year hiatus but is back and better than ever for its 50th anniversary. This beloved tradition is a weekend-long celebration of all things fungi: speakers share their thoughts, local foragers display their finds, enthusiastic volunteers lead kids and adults through fungus-themed arts and crafts and vendors sell their spore-born treasures. More than one red amanita hat will be seen floating through the crowd; its white polka dots like a beacon of the weirdness and wonder of the natural world. AM

INFO: Fri 2pm, Sat-Sun 10am, London Nelson Community Center, 301 Center St., Santa Cruz. $10/Fri, $15/Sat-Sun. 420-6115.



Jenny Don’t and the Spurs


Take two teaspoons of Neko Case’s vocals, measure out a cup of spaghetti western guitar licks, sprinkle in a pinch of rockabilly attitude, and season to taste with cowboy boots. This recipe created the sounds of Jenny Don’t And The Spurs, a western cow-punk band based in Portland, Oregon. Their songs would not be out of place in a Clint Eastwood classic, but perhaps they’d be better suited in a Kill Bill-style western. If the Bride ever rides again, she’ll be driving along to the tune of “Fire on the Ridge,” a honky-tonk number about blazes, lightning and chasing home. JESSICA IRISH

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



Following a setlist that includes classic bluegrass and old-time standards, as well as original songs by banjoist Don Mackessy and multi-instrumentalist S. T. Young, the Post Folk Revivalists pay tribute to the music that has formed the American landscape. They recognize the folk legacy that lives on, even in contemporary hits, and perform them accordingly, interpreting bluegrass favorites through a new lens. Leland and Caleb Mackessy round out the band on mandolin and bass, fingerpicking and jamming like the folk legends that came before them. They may not be performing at a coffee shop in Greenwich Village, but the sound is close. JI

INFO: 8pm, Lille Aeske Arthouse, 13160 Highway 9, Boulder Creek. $25/adv, $30/door. 703-4183.



Pulitzer Prize Proxies, part of the path-breaking New Music Works 2024 season, provides choice virtuosic chamber music by Pulitzer Prize-winning composers, each the first of their race, gender, ethnicity or age to be awarded contemporary music’s top honor. The event features work from the first Native American Pulitzer recipient, Raven Chacon, music by the first Latin American woman recipient, Tania León and the first Asian Pulitzer winner, Zhou Long. Du Yun was the first Asian woman awarded the prize, and George Walker was the first African American to win. This will be an eclectic musical evening of live contemporary music—an evening of firsts! Exactly what you’d expect from NMW. CHRISTINA WATERS

INFO: 7pm, UCSC Music Center Recital Hall, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz. $20-35. 459-2292.




There are many ways to describe the Rainbow Girls; however, their Facebook page says it best: A gang of sweet angels punching you in the heart. Initially formed in Isla Vista in 2010, the Rainbow Girls was a collective group of sorts, performing with a rotating cast of musicians. Their core has remained strong with Vanesa Wilbourn, Erin Chapin, and Caitlin Gowdey at the center, who have performed everywhere, from farmers’ markets and open mics to venues and festivals. Since their 2013 debut album, The Sound of Light, the Rainbow Girls have taken their audience on an audible journey through folk, country and more. Now, their latest album, last year’s Welcome to Whatever, dives deep into an underground indie rock sound. MW

INFO: 8pm, Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $21/adv, $26/door. 704-7113.



The great Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt invented a style that influenced generations of musicians and spawned tribute bands in almost every major city. One of the most authentic is Quebec-based Django a Gogo, led by virtuoso guitarist-composer Stephane Wrembel. Wrembel has recorded over a dozen albums’ worth of impeccable Gypsy jazz in the past 20 years. Django a Gogo also has a blood connection to the Gypsy genius in the person of Simba Baumgartner, another peerless six-stringer who is the great-grandson of Reinhardt. The band also features French violinist Aurore Voilque, who performed with the Sinti (French Gypsies) and classical orchestras before starting her own Aurore Quartet in 2003. DE

INFO: 7pm, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $36.75/adv, $42/door, $21/student. 427-2227.


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