.Things to do In Santa Cruz

Week of 10-4-23



FLY FISHING FILM TOUR If you’ve never seen the intricate dance of a fly fisher’s line upon a peaceful river, you’re in luck: the annual Fly Fishing Film Tour is coming to town. The self-described “traveling roadshow of the best fly fishing films in the world” covers an impressive spectrum of fly fishing experiences, with footage gathered in fish-packed waters around the globe. In addition to top-notch cinematography, the organizers encourage local conservation efforts and community-building, promising a live emcee, raffle prizes and local fly shop presence. Even if it’s not your thing, go in honor of your grandpa. ADDIE MAHMASSANI

6pm, Aptos Grange, 2555 Mar Vista Drive, Aptos. Free. 688-3974.


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NIGHT BEATS The psychedelic garage rock universe of Night Beats continues to expand with Rajan, the project’s sixth and latest album. The record’s name is a loving nod to Night Beats founder Danny “Lee Blackwell” Rajan Billingsley’s mother, who, in the Indian tradition, passed a shortened version of her surname—Sundarajan—on to her son. Psychedelic Baby Mag says that the album “lands somewhere between Spaghetti Western film score and psych pop-opus.” It’s a swirling combination of jazz, blues, soul and hip-hop that starts with a banger called “Hot Ghee.” AM

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


Lucky Chops

LUCKY CHOPS All the hits, but brass, brass, and more brass. Lucky Chops is a six-person ensemble of saxophones, trombones, trumpet, drums, and a sousaphone. The band rocks out to covers of all the best pop, Motown, and funk of the past and present, as well as originals. Listening to Lucky Chops feels a bit like getting booted back to the height of ska, when trombone players were rockstars and skanking was king. Openers Coffee Zombie Collective bring a bluegrass energy to their covers, spanning from The Flaming Lips to Bruno Mars. The theme of the night is: everything familiar is new again. JESSICA IRISH

9pm, Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. 21+. $25/adv, $30/door. 831-479-1854.



SECRET EMCHY SOCIETY Ever wonder what if Buck Owens and Nick Cave had a secret, queer love child born somewhere along the dust of Highway 5? The answer lies much closer than Bakersfield, as the Secret Emchy Society comes straight out of Oakland. Formed by Cindy Emch, the “First Lady of Queer Country” according to the Huffington Post. Secret Emchy Society came together at the last minute, literally, when her friend threw her onto a show with a 45 minute set without notice. Emch told the house band to follow her lead and the rest is history. Part Americana, part honky tonk, some hellbilly for spice and wrapped in a tortilla of dark story telling. MAT WEIR

8pm, The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $12. 429-6994.


SANTA CRUZ COMEDY FESTIVAL When DNA, the local king of the comedy scene, lost his fledgling experimental club a year into Covid, he could’ve walked away from it all. Instead he continued his yearly comedy fest with the mission to bring together Santa Cruz through laughter. Now in its 10th year, the Santa Cruz Comedy Fest opens on Wednesday and continues for the next three days. It culminates on Friday with three big name headliners: Louis Katz, Marcella Arguello and Moshe Kasher. But have no fear, the entire festival is filled with comedians of all ages, stages and rages with local and not-so-local performers appearing at 10 different venues downtown like Streetlight Records, The Blue Lagoon, and Rosie McCann’s. MW

8pm, Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave.,Santa Cruz. $25. 423-8209.



BREWGRASS FESTIVAL 2023 Is there a better way to spend your Saturday than sipping craft beers and vibing to bluegrass bands? That’s a rhetorical question, because of course that’s the best way to unwind from a long week of working for The Man. The Roaring Camp Railroads has a solid lineup of killer bands at this year’s Brewgrass festival including Rattle Can, Wolf Jett, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Goat Hill Girls, and Hot Buttered Rum. As far as beers go, there will be a bunch of breweries pedaling their ales. Shanty Shack Brewing Co, Humble Sea Brewing Co, Hop Dogma Brewing, and Buena Vista Brewing Co. AARON CARNES

1pm, Roaring Camp Railroads, 5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton. $65/adv, $75/door. 335-4484.



BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE After three decades, we’re still not quite sure how to label the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Psych rock? Garage? Shoegaze? Experimental shoegaze psychedelic garage rock? Originally formed in San Francisco by Anton Newcombe, this wild musical experiment has put out a plethora of different music over 20 albums that encompasses everything listed above and more. As tumultuous as their music is, their personal relationships and wild off-stage antics that sometimes make it on stage have earned them notoriety in the media and an almost mythological status in underground music. Fun fact: their tambourine player, Joel Gion, not only used to be a Santa Cruzan but also worked for several years at Streetlight Records. MW

8pm, Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $30. 423-8209.



MUSTARD PLUG Mustard Plug have been playing ska-punk since the early 90s. The Grand Rapids, Michigan bunch toured non-stop in the late 90s during the mainstream ska-boom. They weren’t one of the bands with a hit on the radio, but they had a huge cult following. In the 2000s, they kept the ska flame burning with their ironically titled “Ska is Dead” tour that showed that the music still drew big crowds. But something interesting about the group—their records got better the longer they remained a band. Their latest, Where Did All My Friends Go?, is an incredible album. It was recorded by The Descendents’ Bill Stevenson and released on Sept 8 by the hip new ska label Bad Time Records, showing that Mustard Plug are still making relevant music in 2023. AC

8pm, Catalyst, 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $23/adv, $26/door. 713-5492.


HIROMI Grammy-winning pianist Hiromi releases her 12th studio-album, Sonicwonder, this month to the delight of jazz aficionados around the world. Hailing from Japan, the virtuosic star consistently delivers high-energy live performances, blending post-bob with prog-rock and stride, a style that ragtime players like Mary Lou Williams and Fats Waller championed. Sonicwonder takes the composer’s innovation to the next level with funk grooves and synthesizers in the mix, bouncing fluidly between jazz and dance club vibes. “The word ‘wonder’ has a lot of meaning,” Hiromi says. “It fits the musical view that I have for this project…it is definitely a new adventure for me.” AM

7pm & 9pm, Kuumbwa Jazz, 320 Cedar Street, Santa Cruz. Sold Out ($42-$63). 427-2227


  1. Why don’t you have anything here about Dub Congress at Moe’s Alley on Friday night? They were on the cover of the GoodnTimes in 2004 after winning Best local band. The show on Friday will likely be sold out, you guys paying attention?

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