.Things To Do In Santa Cruz

Week of July 4 2024




Aptos is famous for its Fourth of July parade, which may have been the world’s shortest at one point in history. Nowadays, it takes a respectable amount of time for all the participants to march from one end to the other. Still, the parade is a perfect way for parents of kids and/or dogs to spend their Independence Day, with flag waving, much cheering and potentially a horse in the mix. When the parade is over (it takes a little longer than you might think!), the celebrations continue at “Party in the Park,” where attendees can enjoy shopping, eating and live music. JESSICA IRISH

INFO: 10am, Aptos Village Park, 448 Granite Way, Aptos. $5 donation. 688-1467.



DECKED OUT Diggin’ Trails members (from left) Mat Warren, Don Mackessy, Sean James (standing), Johnny Dodd and Lauren Miroyan PHOTO: ADAM KELLY


Diggin’ Trails is blazing its way down the mountains with a bit of bluegrass, some country, a pinch of punk and a lot of rock ’n’ roll. The five-piece band finds a lead in John Dodds, whose twangy voice immediately gets feet stomping. Don Mackessy’s banjo adds old-timey texture, while Sean James drums forcefully. For a preview of the show, the band’s 2023 album of raucous originals, Over by June, is the place to go. With songs like “Cannery Row” and “Bixby,” Santa Cruz crowds will feel right at home. [see this weeks A&E feature] ADDIE MAHMASSANI

INFO: 8pm, Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.



The Charities are up from Hermosa Beach to get the crowd at Moe’s Alley dancing with their signature eclectic mix of funk, soul, Motown, disco and other sounds you can shake your ass to. Plan to arrive on time, as you won’t want to miss the opening act, when Sweet Lew of San Francisco kicks things off with his brand of “radical soul love.” DJ Archive 65 will be on hand from Salinas to fill the gaps. KEITH LOWELL JENSEN

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




The Ameripolitan Awards are a big deal for country music that sounds like authentic country music, as opposed to the jingoistic truck commercials too often served up on “country” stations these days. This year’s winner in the Western Swing category is Santa Cruz’s own beloved country, hillbilly, rockabilly outfit, the Carolyn Sills Combo. Come see what the fuss is about when they take the stage at El Vaquero Winery, a perfect place to have a glass or two of vino before kicking up some dust under the stars. KLJ

INFO: 5pm, El Vaquero Winery, 2901 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville. $10. 607-8118.



Say this three times fast: three free bands! That’s not just a tongue twister but also what Discretion Brewing has on tap this weekend for their annual Independence Day celebration. The day kicks off with local Americana trio Dirt Rakers, who hails from the Santa Cruz Mountains. Later, the vibe shifts (subtly) from rootsy to bluesy with Virgil Thrasher, who can often be found performing around Capitola as one part of the Back Porch Boys. Rounding out the celebration is Seven Shades of Grey, a classic rock band from the South Bay that really knows how to get the party going. AM

INFO: Noon, Discretion Brewing, 2703 41st Ave., Ste A, Soquel. Free. 316-0662.




Born José Luis Maldonado Ramos, Guadalajaran rapper C-Kan has been dropping heat for almost 20 years, and he’s only 36. At the age of 12, his father died, sending C-Kan into a life on the streets. Surrounded by violence and drugs, he found his refuge in hip hop. C-Kan has strong beliefs about the Mexican government and its powerful manipulation of the public through the media, citing that social media is the answer. Because of this, C-Kan has utilized his socials to build his celebrity. He also claimed he wouldn’t step foot in the United States while Trump was president, so hip hop fans might want to get on it, as the fate of the November election still seems uncertain. MAT WEIR

INFO: 9pm, Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $35/adv, $40/door. 713-5492.




In what can only be described as an explosion of melodies, rhythms and sounds, Las Cafeteras invigorates listeners with their passionate music. They fuse genre, language and culture into one unified performance. Traditional instruments such as the jarana, requinto, quijada and tarima are transformed into modern, electric instruments. Las Cafeteras provides a contemporary take on folk music in the truest form. Each beat reverberates in your bones as you’re pulled into the story of each song. Listen carefully, and you will hear the five languages they sing: Spanish, English, Spanglish, justice and love. These modern troubadours know no borders. ISABELLA MARIE SANGALINE

INFO: 8pm, Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.




For those of us who kept on chooglin’ (if you know, you know) throughout all these years, the wait is over, as local stoner psych rock outfit Highness returns for a single night of space dosing! Throughout the early twenty-tens, Highness was one of several staples in the music scene that always drew a Who’s Who crowd of tattoo artists, poets, musicians, bartenders and Caffe Pergolesi baristas—the finest longhaired tattooed kooks this town has to offer. Highness is reuniting for a double bill with Seattle grunge-riff trio Wild Powwers, who are touring on their latest release, Pop Hits & Total Bummers Vol. 5, released on July 2. This show will remind the people that haircuts are for cops. MW

INFO: 9pm, Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 423-7117.



Olivia Gatwood doesn’t only write poetry, though she is beloved for her lyrical takedowns of the patriarchy and the infantilization of women. Keep the subject matter and swap the poetry for prose to glean Gatwood’s first novel, Whoever You Are, Honey, which explores womanhood and identity with Santa Cruz as its backdrop. There’s something particularly satisfying about reading a book set somewhere familiar, and what could be more familiar than West Cliff Drive? Gatwood will be in conversation with fellow feminist writer Liza Monroy. For anyone who loves stories of women, friendship and secrets, this event is unmissable. JI

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


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