ARTS AND MUSIC
THE BASTARD SONS OF JOHNNY CASH DUO The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash isn’t just another novelty act. Cash gave founder Mark Stuart permission to use his name and an invitation to record at his Hendersonville, Tennessee, home studio. “The Bastard Sons never were, and never will be, a Johnny Cash tribute band,” Stuart explains. “Our goal was always to find our own road and to continue to keep the sounds and traditions of American roots music alive.” The abbreviated iteration of the band, the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash Duo, brings frontman Mark Stuart together with Western Swing Hall of Famer Charlie Wallace, on dobro and guitar, of Santa Cruz’s Carolyn Sills Combo. Free. Thursday, Dec. 1, 8pm. Joe’s Bar, 13118 Hwy 9, Boulder Creek. drinkatjoes.com.
MIKE DILLON’S PUNKADELICK FEATURING NIKKI GLASPIE AND BRIAN HAAS Anything is possible with a power trio that features Mike Dillon on vibraphone, marimba, congas and bongos, Brian Haas on Fender Rhodes, piano, bass Moog and melodica and Nikki Glaspie on vocals, drums and cymbals. Punkadelick has three talents, each worthy of being considered the leader. “We try to challenge our listeners,” Dillon says. “We’re touching a nerve with people who maybe don’t want to see the same songs done in the same variations all night long.” Punkadelick’s forthcoming record Inflorescence, set to be released on Jan. 27, 2023, opens with “Desert Monsoon,” a swaggering fusion of Zappa, George Duke with a side of Parliament; vibes and light vocal scats give way to a funk anthem that sets the stage for the rest of the album. “We’re not afraid to be soft or to surprise,” Dillon says. “That’s what we all do in this band—get beyond our own conceptions of what music is supposed to be.” $17/$22 plus fees. Thursday, Dec. 1, 8pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. moesalley.com.
BUILT TO SPILL WITH PRISM BITCH AND BLOOD LEMON “I worked on [When the Wind Forgets Your Name] just every once in a while, and slowly over time, just ended up getting finished but never really felt super inspired, being alone, and the pandemic kind of took a lot out of me,” frontman Doug Martsch says. “It’s done, and I feel satisfied with it, but I’m not really psyched about it right now.” The record—BTS’s first release on the Sub Pop label—spins in various musical directions: There are classic, post-punk songs resembling the music Martsch says he grew up listening to in the late ’80s and early ’90s. “Never Alright” initially sounds like it could be a lost track off Dinosaur Jr.’s Bug before transforming into that quintessential BTS orchestra of guitars that fuel Perfect From Now On and then pivoting again into a drum and bass conglomeration of psychedelic synth and laser beams. Martsch might be the indie band’s one constant, but he continues to keep the music interesting. $36.75 plus fees. Friday, Dec. 2, 8pm. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. folkyeah.com.
THE CALIFORNIA HONEYDROPS “One day, we’re gonna release an album of all X-rated songs from all genres—country to hip-hop—under a different name,” California Honeydrops’ multi-instrumental vocalist Lech Wierzynski told me a few years back. I’m still waiting; in the meantime, the Bay Area group recently released Soft Spot, an excellent alternative. It’s been a long time since the Honeydrops began busking in an Oakland subway station, but they remain true to that spontaneity. The record also showcases the collective’s additions of Johnny Bones on tenor sax and clarinet, Lorenzo Loera on keys and Beau Beauilleu on bass. Soft Spot pulls from the well of soul music, classic R&B and New Orleans second line that the band thrives on while adding unexpected elements, including sousaphones, strings and space echoes. “This record is all about love and good lovin’ and other things that matter,” Wierzynski says. That could mean there’s some “X-rated” stuff in the mix. $37/$42 plus fees. Saturday, Dec. 3, 9pm. The Catalyst, 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. catalystclub.com.
REBIRTH BRASS BAND In their 40th year together, Rebirth Brass Band has enough street cred to be regarded as ambassadors of New Orleans. “Here in New Orleans, we have a saying: ‘You cry when you come into the world, and you rejoice when you’re going out,’” Rebirth Brass Band co-founder and bass drummer Keith Frazier told the Memphis chapter of the Recording Academy in 2014. “When you’re going out, you’re going home. That’s our rule—to keep people rejoicing until they reach their homecoming.” The outfit scored a Grammy for their explosive and inspired 2011 record Rebirth of New Orleans, a collective hug in the wake of Katrina. In 2020, the band picked up their second Grammy nom for Recorded Live at the 2019 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Flea summed up Rebirth’s perpetual sizzle after sitting in with the band at a 2017 gig at the Maple Leaf; the renowned venue has been home to hundreds of the group’s shows. “Unbelievable. Hard as hell. Free as a ray of light,” the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist said. “There is not a band on earth that is better. Stunning.” $30/$34 plus fees. Sunday, Dec. 4, 8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. feltonmusichall.com.
WINTER WONDERLAND AT THE BOARDWALK Santa Cruz County’s largest holiday celebration features tons of holiday family fun. On top of the usual rides, arcade games, mini golf, sweet treats and Boardwalk fun, Winter Wonderland also means it’s time for the beloved three-story Christmas tree to come out of hibernation. Of course, Santa will be on hand for photos, too! In addition to a rotation of classic holiday movies showing at 5pm on Dec. 3 and 4, the Santa Cruz City Ballet at International Academy of Dance will perform a mini-Nutcracker on the Boardwalk’s Colonnade Stage. Free (visit the website for special event days and times and to purchase tickets). Through Jan. 1, 2023. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. beachboardwalk.com/winter-wonderland.
FIRST FRIDAY SANTA CRUZ: CAFÉ IVETA ARTIST RECEPTION One of the many exhibits to check out is the collection of new watercolors and oil paintings by Christina Waters and Frank Galuszka. Both artists will be on hand at Cafe Iveta’s upstairs gallery. The work is described as “Colorful, mysterious and barely comprehensible; these artworks are intended to provoke and puzzle your existential coordinates.” Free. Friday, Dec. 2, 5-7pm. Downtown Santa Cruz. cityofsantacruz.com.
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