.Things to do in Santa Cruz

TRULY MAGICAL Tropa Magica, mixes psychedelia and rock. Photo: Alex Calvo

THURSDAY 2/15

ROCK

TROPA MAGICA

To call Tropa Magica rock ‘n’ roll only begins to describe this band’s kaleidoscopic sound. Spin calls them a combination of “alternative, grunge and psychedelic rock with cumbia.” Genre debates aside, Tropa Magica is an immensely lovable duo that evolved organically from brothers David and Rene Pacheco’s lifelong love of playing music together. Like their contemporaries Los Lobos and Chicano Batman, they’re boldly bringing traditional Latinx music into the mix. Their third studio album, aptly titled III, contains the lo-fi, lightning-in-a-bottle sound of songs they’d initially recorded as demos but soon realized were the thing itself. ADDIE MAHMASSANI

INFO: 8pm, Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $26/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.

secure document shredding

FRIDAY 2/16

SKA

WARSAW POLAND BROS

With roots in Southeast LA and Tucson, the ska punk band Warsaw Poland Bros logs over 300 shows a year. Their relentless touring is symptomatic of a decades-long commitment to DIY music-making. The ever-changing nature of their lineup keeps audiences on their toes, waiting to see which meld dub, rock, ska, punk, Celtic punk and freestyle will come out next. Another charming detail is that the songs change night to night because lead singer Aaron Poland doesn’t memorize lyrics. It’s not every day that this kind of glorious ska whirlwind comes to town—and supporting Curtis Meacham’s Monkey, no less! AM

INFO: 8pm, The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $20. 429-6994.

LECTURE

DIRTY LOOKS: NO CREDIT, CASH ONLY: COOKIE MUELLER IN FILM AND VIDEO

Fans of John Waters and the deliciously distasteful world of trash culture will know the name Cookie Mueller. Growing up in the suburbs of Baltimore, she always felt destined for something more. Then she met the King of Trash in 1969 at a premiere of his film, Mondo Trasho, and her life changed forever. She acted in multiple fan favorites like Pink Flamingos, Polyester and Female Trouble—a title conceived after the director paid Cookie a visit in the hospital. Bradford Nordeen leads an in-depth visual lecture examining Mueller’s life through her films and the New York underground art movement she was a part of later in her life. MAT WEIR

INFO: 7pm, Indexical, 1050 River St., #119, Santa Cruz. Free. indexical.org

METAL

DURBIN

Heshers and metalheads! Raise your horns high and get ready for a free show! James Durbin is releasing his second full-length, Screaming Steel, and this Friday, he’s giving his hometown the first taste! Put on by Streetlight Records, Durbin will be performing new songs like the title track and “Hallow,” followed by an exclusive album signing just for locals. It’s no secret that the American Idol finalist is a huge metalhead, originally singing for local hair metal act the Hollywood Scars and later, Quiet Riot. His new album features a cadre of who’s who in Santa Cruz metal, from bands like Archers and  Zombie Ritual to A Band of Orcs and more. All hail the Screaming Steel! MW

INFO: 5pm, Streetlight Records, 939 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Free. 421-9200.

REGGAE

WAILING SOULS W/ BOOM DRAW

The Wailing Souls are reggae legends, having come up with the greatest ever to do it: Bob Marley. Considered the “elder statesmen” of reggae music, Wailing Souls began their musical journey in the ’60s. Members have come and gone, but Winston “Pipe” Matthews and Lloyd “Bread” McDonald have been there from the start, coming up in Trench Town at the same time as Marley and recording with him on several tracks. Their lyrics stick to the classic reggae message of love and liberation, peace and justice. They claim the light is present but “far away”; their music makes it feel closer. JESSICA IRISH

INFO: 9pm, Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.

SATURDAY 2/17

INDIE

MEXICAN SLUM RATS

Okay, maybe calling the Mexican Slum Rats “indie rock” is a bit of a cop-out. This group rides the wave between punk rock and experimental before bailing out in a white cap of sound. The five-piece from LA dropped their latest album, See You Around, last April, keeping their sound fresh with a fusion of metal added to a garage vibe. This Saturday, they return to Santa Cruz (a city they apparently love, considering their website features a giant photo of West Cliff Drive) with a stacked lineup that’s sure to sell out: Grad Nite, Knumears and the badass ladies in Sluttony. MW

INFO: 7:30pm, The Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $18/door. 713-5492.

AMERICANA

DYLAN LEBLANC

Dylan LeBlanc’s voice is halfway between My Morning Jacket front man Jim James and Tracy Chapman: plaintive, honey-sweet, and deeply emotive. His music is classic Americana, with songs about angelic lovers and desert landscapes that feel made for long road trips or dancing on the side of a dirt track. Fans of Dave Rawlings Machine and Ray LaMontagne will surely enjoy his sound, which balances somewhere between the twang of the former and the smooth romanticism of the latter. Opener Laura T Lewis kicks things off with her gorgeous, deep voice and unique lyrics. JI

INFO: 8pm, Felton Music Hall, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. $22/adv, $27/door. 704-7113.

ROOTS

ANTHONY ARYA BAND

Roots rocker Anthony Arya gained the national spotlight in 2018 as a 15-year-old contestant on NBC’s The Voice. Soon after, he released his debut album, Going to California, with a music video that took a semifinalist award in the International Songwriting Competition. In ’22, his third album won several honors, including the Bluebird Golden Pick Contest, a finalist spot in the ISC’s songwriting competition, and the Telluride Blues Challenge. His tune “Lovers of Valdaro” was a finalist in the International Acoustic Music Awards. This year, a live album recorded at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco is slated for release. DAN EMERSON

INFO: 5pm, El Vaquero Winery, 2901 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville. $10. 607-8118.

WEDNESDAY 2/21

ROOTS

AMERICAN PATCHWORK QUARTET

APQ founder and leader Clay Ross has several Grammy awards on his shelf and is also the founder of the influential Gullah group Ranky Tanky. The foursome uses several musical ingredients to update American traditional folk songs, including jazz, country, West African hypnotics and East Asian sounds. APQ’s members comprise a fascinating patchwork: Hindustani vocalist Falu, Issei jazz bassist Yasushi Nakamura and sought-after jazz drummer Clarence Penn, a former protege of the late Ellis Marsalis. DE

INFO: 7pm, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $31.50/adv, $36.75/door. 427-2227.

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