.Things to do in Santa Cruz

Week of May 15, 2024




The world wasn’t ready for progressive-country band the Flatlanders when they formed in 1972. It wasn’t until after they broke up a year later that the members of the forward-thinking trio garnered a lot of praise and subsequently launched successful careers. One of those members, Butch Hancock, has been hailed as an exceptional songwriter who pens deceptively simple country songs that don’t utilize typical country chords. He’s a great American storyteller, poet and truth-teller with an astounding way with words—everything one wants in a singer-songwriter. Butch will be joined by his son, Rory. AARON CARNES

INFO: 7pm, Ugly Mug, 4640 Soquel Dr., Soquel. $35/adv, $40/door. 477-1341.




Violinist and composer Kaethe Hostetter left her native Santa Cruz at age 17 for Boston, where teaming up with Ethiopian American musician Danny Mekonnen led to a deep involvement in music from that African nation. They formed Debo Band and went on to tour internationally, including a performance at a major festival in Addis Ababa. In 2012, Hostetter formed Qwanqwa, which contemporizes traditional Ethiopian folk music with jazz, funk and other modern elements. Qwanqwa is on a major US tour, originally set for 2020, but postponed due to Covid. DAN EMERSON

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



Get ready for a night of incredible guitar shredding! Buckethead is bringing his sick technical and experimental guitar skills to the Catalyst. He is truly a bizarre and mysterious figure in American experimental music. His ability to command the guitar, playing original music and covers, will leave the audience in awe and completely mesmerized by the anonymous virtuoso. His fast riffs and complex solos will suck you in; you’ll be unable to take your eyes off the guitar. Even with nearly all instrumental songs, Buckethead’s emotion and passion for craft are evident in every note he plays. ISABELLA MARIE SANGALINE

INFO: 9pm, Catalyst, 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $35/adv, $40/door. 713-5492.




Kyle Field started the band Little Wings in 1998 after earning a BFA in visual art at UCLA. His songs are painterly and old-timey with the occasional blast of zany humor—a recipe for a genre some call “freak-folk.” His whimsical acoustic arrangements put him in the camp of M. Ward, an indie great he once collaborated with, and the band Real Estate, which he cites as an influence. His output has been prolific, with his most recent album, High on the Glade,garnering positive reviews. The Third Eyewrites it’s “an excellent pick if you like your folk music with a heavy dose of weird.”

INFO: 7:30pm, Kuumbwa Jazz, 320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $31.50/adv, $36.75/door. 427-2227.



A lot of it is in the name: it’s a play about the apocalypse, an end-of-days scenario about failing crops and dying insects. But the dystopian-wary shouldn’t shy away from this one; aside from the fall of civilization, it also features a slew of monarch butterflies on their way to the shore. And, there’s a truffle farm! Written by Marisela Treviño Orta, the play premiered at Skidmore during the pandemic, when actors wore N95 masks while gesturing across the stage. It’s a fitting legacy for a play about end times, and there’s a lot of hope tangled up in all that finality. JESSICA IRISH

INFO: 7:30pm, UCSC Theater Arts, 411 Kerr Rd., Santa Cruz. $5-$20. 459-2787.




As the countdown to Pride continues, prepare for a mix of drag, nature and fun! Mother Earth Drag Extravaganza is a celebration of fluidity in art, science and gender sponsored by Santa Cruz Pride and the Cantú Queer Center. This free event will feature performances by local favorite drag performers and several aquarium exhibits at the Marine Center, which will be open to the public. Don’t forget to bring lots of cash because even though it’s free, tipping drag performers is customary and helps keep them looking great with new costumes and makeup. Attendees are also encouraged to donate to the ACLU Drag Defense Fund. MAT WEIR

INFO: 7pm, Seymour Marine Discovery Center, 100 McAllister Way, Santa Cruz. Free. 459-3800.




Each summer, the Humanities Institute at UCSC selects a book for the Santa Cruz community to engage with. This year, the book is Trust, Argentinian American author Hernan Diaz’s latest. Diaz has won a Pulitzer Prize, been a PEN/Faulkner finalist, and won the Whiting Award, but joining none other than Dua Lipa for a conversation about the novel was the real honor. Trust is set during the financial collapse of the 1920s, exploring money and politics. Associate professor of literature Zac Zimmer will be conversing with Diaz, and who knows, maybe the two of them will dance the night away. JI

INFO: 3pm, Quarry Amphitheater, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz. Free. 423-0900.





The indie music genre is quite expansive and often used as a catchall to describe a wide range of bands. Some are on the harder, experimental edge, and then there are the soothers, storytellers and healers. On this cathartic side, the Portland-based Glitterfox resides with its melodic tones and blending of influences. Formed in 2012, this prolific quartet has released four brand-new singles since the beginning of the year and dropped a new video for “Portland,” released in March. Opening the show is Oakland’s own Ameriana singer/songwriter Caitlin Jemma. MW

INFO: 8pm, Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $18/adv, $22/door. 704-7113.





Formed in 2015 in Toronto, Wine Lips exploded into punk and garage-psych glory in 2019 with the release of their album Stressor. After that, they took their uncompromising grit on the road for endless touring, breaking to record their 2021 follow-up, the magnificently titled Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party. Frontman Cam Hilborn brings psychedelic intensity, while drummer Aurora Evans anchors the sound with impeccable rhythm. They’ve won comparisons to other garage-psych legends like Ty Segall and Osees (FKA Thee Oh Sees). Their latest offering, Super Mega Ultra, does not sound like a band slowing down; if anything, it sounds like a band hitting its peak. AM

INFO: 8pm, Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $17/adv, $22/door. 479-1854


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