.Things to Do in Santa Cruz: March 29-April 4

Tropa Magica, Tom Russell, March to End Homelessness and More


DUANE BETTS & PALMETTO HOTEL WITH CHARLIE OVERBEY Duane Betts’—named after two of the greatest bottleneck slide guitarists ever—singles, “Taking Time” and “Downtown Runaround,” kicked off a world tour with the Devon Allman Project, fronted by the son of the late Gregg Allman. Betts reunited with his dad, Dickey, and his band for summer 2018 tour dates. At the year’s end, Betts announced the formation of the Allman Betts Band, officially uniting with Devon Allman and Berry D. Oakley, son of the late ABB founding bassist, Berry Oakley. The group recorded tracks at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in November for its debut album, Down to the River, released in June 2019. A world tour commenced in 2019 in New York City, and Betts continues to pick up more and more along the way. “There are traits that are inherent,” he says. “It’s in your sense of melody or with your phrasing. I think some of that stuff comes from hearing it a lot and from your instinct. I have my own identity, too, and that’s my identity, for sure. I don’t think you could really get around that history if it’s there. I’m honored and grateful to be a part of that legacy.” $20/$24 plus fees. Wednesday, March 29, 8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. feltonmusichall.com

TROPA MAGICA WITH THE MAUSKOVIC DANCE BAND One of the last times Tropa Magica was in Santa Cruz, they opened for Los Lobos. The duo, brothers David (guitar, vocals) and Rene Pacheco (drums, vocals), have felt a connection with Los Lobos since they first heard them on the La Bamba soundtrack. As natives of East L.A., they share a tight bond. As musicians, they share the same desire to use various influences to create something uniquely their own. And rules need not apply. “We call our music psychedelic cumbia-punk,” David says. “There’s not any category [of music] that we fit into.” Meanwhile, Amsterdam’s Mauskovic Dance Band has been experimenting with hazy rhythms and dubby percussive workouts since 2017. In the early days, the boys fused their love of Afro-Caribbean polyrhythms with a no-wave sound palette to create their own unique danceable chaos. Check out their 7-inch debut for Bongo Joe Records out of Geneva. It might melt your face. $22/$26 plus fees. Friday, March 31, 9pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. folkyeah.com

NNAMDÏ WITH LUKE TITUS NNAMDÏ developed an early passion for music when he began playing saxophone at 10. Though he struggled with asthma in early childhood, it didn’t prevent him from growing into a top player who’s garnered several awards. NNAMDÏ has been a mainstay in the indie community for years, especially in Chicago, where he was named “Chicagoan of the Year” in 2020 by the Chicago Tribune and has spent time touring with Wilco—Jeff Tweedy is a fan—and Sleater-Kinney. Other fans include Kacey Musgraves, Jeff Rosenstock, Danny Brown, Moses and Sumney. $12/$15 plus fees. Saturday, April 1, 9pm. The Catalyst Atrium, 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. catalystclub.com

TOM RUSSELL Nearly a decade ago, before releasing his ambitious folk opera/frontier musical, The Rose of Roscrea, Tom Russell explained how he approaches songwriting: “Head on,” he began. “I pick up the guitar or sit down at the piano and pound away. Mostly getting nowhere, but I put myself in the position every day and pray the muse will throw a few brilliant lines. I paint. Then go back at it the next day. It’s mostly hard work with occasional flashes of illumination and the eternal struggle for a rhyme or idea that isn’t a cliche. Arriving at something that might make a listener pull their car over.” The singer-songwriter, painter and essayist has recorded 35 albums and published five books. Also, Russell’s tunes have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Ian Tyson and probably hundreds of others. Russell bursts with experiences you’d never imagine, including working as a criminologist in Nigeria during the Biafran War. $39/$44 plus fees. Saturday, April 1, 8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. feltonmusichall.com

HERO’S JOURNEY Santa Cruz Symphony’s “Hero’s Journey” showcases the juxtaposition of heroic journeys by Gandhi and Beethoven and symbolizes their evolution and triumph of free will against fate. The performance will feature the west coast premiere of “Seven Decisions of Gandhi” by composer and violinist William Harvey, founder of Cultures in Harmony. $40-110 plus fees. Saturday, April 1, 7:30pm. Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., Santa Cruz; Sunday, April 2, 2pm. Henry Mello Center, 250 Beach St., Watsonville. santacruzsymphony.org

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IMMANUEL WILKINS QUARTET Saxophonist and composer Immanuel Wilkins is filled with empathy, conviction and bonding arcs of melody. Listeners were introduced to this riveting sound with his acclaimed debut album, Omega, named the No. 1 jazz album of 2020 by The New York Times. The album also introduced his remarkable quartet with Micah Thomas on piano, Daryl Johns on bass and Kweku Sumbry on drums, a tight-knit unit that Wilkins features once again on his stunning sophomore album. The 7th Hand explores relationships between presence and nothingness across an hour-long suite of seven movements. “I wanted to write a preparatory piece for my quartet to fully become vessels by the end of the piece,” says the Brooklyn-based, Philadelphia-raised artist, who Pitchfork said “composes ocean-deep jazz epics.” Wilkins and his bandmates reveal their collective truth by peeling themselves back, layer by layer, movement by movement. “Each movement chips away at the band until the last movement—just one written note,” says Wilkins. “We’re all trying to get to nothingness, where the music can flow freely.” $42/$47.25; $23.50/students. Monday, April 3, 7pm. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. kuumbwajazz.org


MARCH TO END HOMELESSNESS The debut event is a partnership with Santa Cruz Community Health, Housing Santa Cruz County, Abode Services, Homeless Garden Project, Front Street Inc., Families in Transition, WINGS, Pajaro Valley Shelter Service and others. In addition to the 1-mile march, the festival will feature live music, food trucks, vendors and partner resource tables. Attendees can join the procession with their bikes, scooters and strollers while maintaining safe practices in the crowd amongst walkers. The event is a milestone and the first of its kind in Santa Cruz County. Come together to stand up against homelessness. Free. Saturday, April 1, 10am-2pm. Corner of Cathcart and Cedar, Santa Cruz. housingmatterssc.org/march2023

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