.Things to do in Santa Cruz

The Week of February 21




Born in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Lutan Fyah has been one of the rightful successors in reggae royalty for the past 25 years. A follower of Bobo Shanti Rastafarianism, Lutan Fyah’s music overflows with peace, love, unity, praise and plenty of smoke. Over his career, he’s recorded over 20 albums and produced over 200 singles. The prolific artist is staying on-brand in 2024 and has already released two singles (“Judgement” and “Soulmate”) as well as a collab album with Norris Man and The Messenjah called Dubwise Trilogy. No stranger to Moe’s Alley, Fyah returns this week with the Purity Attack Band and DJ Moi opening up. MAT WEIR

INFO: 9pm, Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.

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Attention rock climbers! For those who thought Free Solo was a fun ride, Reel Rock 18 is an unmissable serial adventure sure to bring up heart rates for any height-fearing soul who dares watch. The evening presents four climbing films, including one about a . . . deep water solo? It’s a phrase that sounds almost too wild to be real, but the documentary is here to prove it happened. Plus, there’s a film about a climbing community bonded during the horrors of war in Ukraine. Reel Rock 18 offers art and insight into the heights humanity can reach—a necessary watch for these times. JESSICA IRISH

INFO: 7pm, Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $25. 423-1854.



Santa Cruz is home to some of the greatest rock cover bands, and the John Michael Band is no exception. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Michael was practically born at a music festival. He began performing at age four and has never stopped. He is a wide-ranging and energetic vocalist, spanning R&B, blues, funk, Celtic, big band and even opera. He formed the John Michael Band in 2010 with other local greats like Vinny Johnson and Dylan Rose, and together, they’ve honed their magical ability to shift from Sublime to the Temptations and then throw in some Led Zeppelin without missing a beat. ADDIE MAHMASSANI

INFO: 6pm, El Vaquero Winery, 290 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville. $10. 607-8118. 




From singing in the local bars of New Mexico to playing a show at The Ugly Mug in Soquel, California, Max Gomez blends folk and Americana to perform original songs and reimagined covers, bringing refreshing and emotional perspectives (along with dashes of country and blues) to classic genres. Stand-out tracks include “Joe,” “What It Means” and “Make It Me.” As a performer, he mixes stories from his life with his music to create a soulful performance, drawing the audience into each tale and each verse. This show heralds new music coming out later this year. ISABELLA MARIE SANGALINE

INFO: 7pm, The Ugly Mug, 4640 Soquel Dr., Soquel. $30/adv, $35/door. 477-1341.



The Budos Band, instrumental rockers with soul, look like characters who would be very comfortable in a bar catering to the coolest dads in Silver Lake. As for the music, it abides by the following rules: horns welcome, bass necessary, jamming out to the groove assured. If the Budos wrote the soundtrack to a life, it would have to be the life of a surf rocker who is also a secret agent—meaning, there’s a sense of epicness with them that cannot be denied. Intriguing! JI

INFO: 8pm, Felton Music Hall, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. $32/adv, $42/door. 704-7113.




Since his performing debut in 1997 at the relatively advanced age of 27, blues-rocker Albert Cummings has worked his way upward through today’s great 12-bar string-benders one gig at a time. Inspired by a live performance by the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, Cummings released his debut album two years later, earning him comparisons to blues guitar titans like Albert and Freddie King and Jimi Hendrix. Cummings revealed an evolving, more eclectic style with a country tinge on his most recent album, Ten, with the help of Grammy-award-winning producer Chuck Ainlay. Cummings and his fans are looking forward to his upcoming album Strong, slated for release later this year. DAN EMERSON

INFO: 3pm, Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.




Quinn D’Andrea, Georgia Greene and Lauren Jones got what they were looking for when they enrolled in a popular music program at the University of Southern California: a successful band whose music speaks to people—specifically women—worldwide. With gorgeous, tight harmonies, raw lyrics and acoustic leanings, Trousdale is reminiscent of folk and pop trios like the Staves and the Chicks. They also give nods to ’70s-inspired rock ‘n’ roll, citing HAIM and Crosby, Stills, & Nash as influences. Their latest album, Out of My Mind, is a Day-Glo trip through heartbreak to self-acceptance. AM

INFO: 8pm, The Catalyst, 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $18/adv, $22/door. 713-5492.




Over the years, the city of Detroit has produced a lot of jazz luminaries, and vocalist Dianne Reeves ranks among them. A 2018 NEA Jazz Master, Reeves has all the essential qualities for excellence: a vocal instrument that is powerful, wide-ranging and precisely controlled; the natural authenticity to take ownership of just about any song she chooses to sing; and an in-the-moment, improvisational ability to make her a crowd-pleasing scat singer. Since earning a Grammy nomination for her first Blue Note record in 1987, Reeves has won five Grammys. And she’s a consistently great live performer who doesn’t need studio polishing to delight listeners. DE

INFO: 7:30pm, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $99.75/adv, $105/door. 427-2227.



What’s the secret to being a supercommunicator? Charles Duhigg knows; he wrote the book on it. Duhigg will be reading from and signing copies of his latest work, Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection. In it, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist explores how supercommunicators connect with people for more meaningful and effective conversations. Using a practical storytelling narrative, Duhigg teaches readers tips and tools to communicate with anyone, anywhere. The event is free, but Bookshop Santa Cruz requests attendees register online for a more precise head count (their site also conveniently has a way to preorder the hardcover for signing at the event). MW

INFO: 7pm, Bookshop Santa Cruz, 1520 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Free. 423-0900.


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