Week of August 30
THE SODA CRACKERS Country music is a divisive thing. Even those who love it often fight amongst themselves on what is–or isn’t–country. But for the ones who look to country for the Bakersfield sound, the outlaw ballads or country swing, Moe’s Alley’s Western Wednesdays could be their dream music series. This week Moe’s brings The Soda Crackers–a five piece band straight from Bakersfield that plays Western swing infused with a whole lot of fun. Steven Griswold and the California Convoy open the show. MAT WEIR
INFO: 8pm, Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 479-1854.
ENUFF Z’NUFF We all know that ’80s hair metal bands had excellent hair, but they also were pretty damn fine singers. Enuff Z’Nuff, a rockin’ band from Blue Island, Illinois, had their share of singles in the late ’80s. The videos for two of their most popular—“Fly High Michelle” & “New Thing”—show off their exquisite hair and lead singer Chip Z’Nuff’s pipes. It’s pure feelgood, headbangin’ music and will bring the entire audience back to a simpler time when the biggest issues of the day were choosing the optimal hairspray brand. Opening the show is local legend James Durbin, doing an acoustic set. James’s pipes are also otherworldly, and really go off when he’s singing metal, his all time favorite genre. AARON CARNES
INFO: 8pm, Felton Hall, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $20. 704-7113
PERCH Love it or hate it, pop punk is often people’s introduction to the world of rock music. Perch is one of Santa Cruz’s newest pop punk acts. They capture the essence of the genre: angst driven songs with longing lyrics of lost love, all set to upbeat, danceable tunes, and they keep it fresh with some heavier-than-normal riffs. Plus their singer, Kevin, “Lil’ Ben” Hogue has that “forever young” spirit and good looks to boot. Perch is the ideal group for fans of Pup, Jeff Rosenstock and Modern Baseball. Denver’s “really loud poetry” act Miniluv, Santa Cruz newcomers S.A.M. and veteran scene punks, Give You Nothing also take the stage. MW
INFO: 9pm, Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 423-7117.
RIVETS & RUST The band Rivets & Rust channel the ancient past right into the present with classic folk covers and fiercely honest originals. Formed in 2022 in Santa Cruz, the band features local singer-songwriter Tim Bennet on guitar and vocals, with keys by Angela Bennett, drums by Heather Clark, and additional guitar and bass by Glenn MacPherson, Eric Mauerman and Matthew Merrill. With roots in Minnesota, Missouri and Georgia, Bennett has rambled through some of the richest musical landscapes in the country. He brings it all to his multi-layered tunes. AM
INFO: 5:30pm, Discretion Brewing, 2703 41st Ave. Ste A, Soquel. Free. 316-0662.
KIRY SHABAZZ Kiry Shabazz might not be a household name, but give him time. This Cleveland born, L.A. based comedian’s star has been rising ever since 2017 when he auditioned for an open-call for the annual Stand-Up NBC Competition and won the whole shabang. The following year he performed on The Tonight Show, and since then has been featured on Bill Burr Presents: The Ringers and Epix’s Unprotected Sets. This is the second of three afternoons of comedy held at the London Nelson Community Center this month and a great way to end the summer with a lot of laughs. MW
INFO: 4:30pm, London Nelson Community Center Park, 301 Center St., Santa Cruz. $20. 420-6177.
ALABASTER DEPLUME Angus Fairbairn based his fanciful stage name, Alabaster DePlume, on what he thought he heard some angry strangers yell at him during a jam night in his early twenties in South Manchester. That was in the early aughts, when he was just discovering his unique fusion of poetry and saxophone. He followed up his 2020 breakthrough album To Cy & Lee Instrumentals, Vol. 1 with April 2022’s Gold – Go Forward in the Courage of Your Love, in whose improvisational immediacy critics have delighted. Pitchfork called it “a balm of spoken word and spiritual jazz, both strangely uncomfortable and strangely comforting.” AM
INFO: 7:30pm, Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 427-2227.
BIT BRIGADE Kids these days don’t realize how easy they got it now! Back in my day, if we wanted to watch someone expertly race through a video game, you had to go to a Bit Brigade concert. The good news is Bit Brigade still plays, and it’s several steps above watching someone play Fortnite on Twitch. For one thing, the group always plays old school video games. And, the band actually plays the music and sound effects along to the game. It’s probably one of the most amazing performances around, honestly. It’s so filled with nostalgia that it becomes this surreal experience that no longer feels retro. It’s unreal and fantastic. At this show, they’ll be playing The Legend of Zelda and Ducktales. AC
INFO: 8pm, Catalyst, 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $18/door. 713-5492.
LAUREN BRAZZLE ZUNIGA Lauren Brazzle Zuniga’s slam poetry is just as likely to elicit a belly laugh as they are a soft hmm of recognition, and her words are reliably titillating, confronting the realities, joys and challenges of queer sexuality in our society. Her performances have been celebrated on YouTube, at slam competitions, in high schools, and as tattoo inspiration. This week she’s bringing her humor and insights to Abbott Square Market. This event is an exciting opportunity for anyone with a poem in their soul; Zuniga leads the open mic, and the community is encouraged to perform alongside her. JESSICA IRISH
INFO: 7pm, Abbott Square, 725 Front St., Santa Cruz. Free.