.Things To Do In Santa Cruz

Week of June 12




Electric guitars and powerful amps may have aided the transition from old-fashioned blues to intense rock ’n’ roll, but the blues as it once was is still alive and well. Reverend Peyton and his Big Damn Band have been making sure of that for nearly 20 years. Since their inception in Indiana in 2006, this three-piece country blues outfit has toured nonstop, scoring three Blues Music Award nominations and studying under many of their heroes, including T-Model Ford, Robert Belfour and David “Honeyboy” Edwards. These are front porch blues connoisseurs of our time, rare birds not to be missed. Their latest record is called Dance Songs for Hard Times. ADDIE MAHMASSANI

INFO: 8pm, Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $17/adv, $22/door. 479-1854.


COUCH comes to Felton Music Hall PHOTO: Miranda-Niscuanti


Couch provides the perfect soundtrack for walking down the sidewalk on a late afternoon in the summer. Their warm and bubbly sound inevitably causes an extra bounce in one’s step—especially once the horns kick in, bringing a jazzy, funky sound to modern pop that embodies joyful expression. Even a song about what it feels like to be ghosted leaves the listener smiling and grooving to the beat. And no one can resist dancing when Couch performs; their high energy spreads to the audience, and soon, everyone dances and bounces together. ISABELLA MARIE SANGALINE

INFO: 8pm, Felton Music Hall, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. $25/adv, $30/door. 704-7113.




Jerry Garcia lovers, unite! The Santa Cruz Vets Hall is opening its mystical gardens to Deadheads this summer, hosting a monthly series with tribute band Tiger’s Tale. The band is named after Jerry’s guitar of choice later in his life (Tiger) and plays covers from the Jerry Garcia Band years. They don’t limit themselves to just Jerry songs, though; catch their covers of classic Motown, reggae and R&B hits as well. If the grooves hit right, go ahead and see them again. The series takes place one Friday a month for the rest of the summer. JESSICA IRISH

INFO: 7:30pm, Veterans Hall, 846 Front St., Santa Cruz. $11/adv, $15/door. 454-0478.



In the spirit of brazen generosity, the Santa Cruz Opera Project brings user-friendly operatic works into the community for a few bucks. They’re determined to break down barriers and win new fans for opera. Opening on June 14 is SCOP’s spun, edited and fine-tuned version of Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, starring the gorgeous voice of Diane Syrcle as Rodolfo. Be blown away by how much fun light opera can be, filled with seduction, trickery, silliness and delicious music. A glass of champagne and other goodies is included in the price of admission. Glorious music in a winery? Why not! CHRISTINA WATERS

INFO: 6pm, MJA Vineyards, 328 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz. $30. 421-9380.




In 1991, community leader Raymond Evans brought the hardy Juneteenth celebrations of his native Texas to his new home in Santa Cruz, and the city has never looked back. Juneteenth is a federal holiday celebrating the liberation of the last group of enslaved Black people in the United States, and has even more special local significance: Santa Cruz resident London Nelson (after whom the community center is named) was freed through this process after the Civil War. Juneteenth 2024 is jam-packed with basketball clinics, soul food, art vendors, a parade and much more, all scheduled between noon and early evening. AM

INFO: Noon, Laurel Park, 301 Center St., Santa Cruz. Free. 420-6183.


Drain plays the Civic Auditorium PHOTO: Eli Rae


The boys are back in town! And this time, they’re bringing a who’s who of friends in the hardcore scene to rain utter chaos on the Civic Auditorium. That’s right, Cody Chavez, Sammy Ciaramitaro, and Tim Flegal—known as the California cursed trio Drain—are returning for their biggest hometown show to date. Last year, they played to a sold-out Catalyst main room, and with this Saturday as the final stop on their Good Good Tour (with hardcore legends Terror and H20 along with some of today’s best in the genre like Mindforce, Angel Du$t, End It and Slugger), they’re looking to pack the historic Santa Cruz Civic. Our advice: get plenty of stretching in before hitting the pit! MAT WEIR

INFO: 6pm, Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., Santa Cruz. $50-$55. 420-5240.



This Saturday, head down to Streetlight Records for a special record release party featuring Hot Lung and Outpatient X, two of the local scene’s best new bands. Billed as an outdoor daytime show at the Felix Kulpa Gallery (behind Streetlight), it’ll also feature new work from a local artist (who wishes to remain anonymous). Over the last year, these bands have gone from fledglings to finely tuned punk machines. Outpatient X’s debut EP, Deceptive Optimism, delivers fast and loud skate punk from its catchy opening chords to the final, frantic heartbreaking screams of “Wake up!” on the closing track, “Gen.” Hot Lung’s debut LP, In Spite Of, captures a ’90s alt-rock/post-hardcore sound with introspective lyrics and brooding guitar riffs. MW

INFO: 2pm, Streetlight Records, 939 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Free. 420-9200.


Ekep Nkwelle will grace Kuumbwa PHOTO: James Asante


Twenty-four-year-old Cameroonian American vocalist Ekep Nkwelle belongs to the next generation of great jazz singers. Her vocal timbre evokes the great Billie Holiday, but she’s crafted a distinctive personal style with power, control and soulfulness. The Washington, DC, native is a Howard University and Juilliard grad who has performed with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and her own combo at major festivals as one of Wynton Marsalis’ latest discoveries. Nkwelle is working on her debut album and will perform at the San Francisco Jazz Festival the day before her first appearance at Kuumbwa. DAN EMERSON

INFO: 7pm, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $31.50/adv, $36.75/door. 427-2227.



3rd Street Band PHOTO: James Lynch


Not many singers can hit the Freddie Mercury high note and sell it, but the guys from 3rd Street Band? They’ve got it on lock. This trio of Louisiana dudes seem to be able to cover any song on a Top 40s list from the past seven decades, and they’re primed to get the crowd singing along. Their catalog stretches from Queen and Billy Joel to Montell Jordan, with some country music standards thrown in for the line-dancing crowd. Openers include Santa Cruz-based Universe, which describes their genre as “rocktronica” and shreds like the best of them. JI

INFO: 8pm, Catalyst, 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $17/door. 713-5492.


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