The end of December is full of music events in the Santa Cruz area that you won’t want to miss. “Winter Solstice” which includes Barbara Higbie, Liz Story, Lisa Lynne, George Tortorelli and Aryeh Frankfurter is a holiday music event at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center Friday, December 21st that will surely make you feel festive. Sunday, December 23rd, check out the sophisticated modern jazz duo The Le Boeuf Brothers at Don Quixote’s in Felton, followed by the guitar stylings of Peppino D’Agostino on Thursday December 27th. Finally, head down to the Rio Theatre on December 29th or 30th to see the White Album Ensemble perform The Beatles’ “Revolver” and “Let it Be” albums note-for-note. More Beatles for New Years Eve with The Sun Kings at Don Quixote’s starting at 9 pm.
As 2012 flips into Lucky 13, what better way to celebrate than with the music of The Beatles? For over a decade the Sun Kings have been thrilling audiences with their uncanny channeling of the Beatles’ music. With a repertoire of over 100 songs, the Sun Kings shine with spot-on arrangements and vocal harmonies, delivered with a driving energy that recalls the earliest Beatle shows yet covers the entire history of the band. You can expect to hear your favorite Beatles songs performed brilliantly on New Year’s Eve at Don Quixote’s in Felton. The evening begins with a special dinner, followed by champagne and party favors for the midnight hour. Doors open for dinner at 6 m.
Because Elvis is an international institution that can communicate across national and cultural boundaries, it comes as no surprise that El Vez - the self proclaimed “Mexican Elvis” – has come along. El Vez, aka Robert Lopez, has been kicking around the L.A. underground music scene for nearly 20 years. While his records are excellent documents of the El Vez phenomenon, the only way to get the full El Vez experience is to see his live shows, which feature his band The Spiders from Memphis and the lovely El Vettes. Toss in the holiday season and you have a “Merry Mex-mas” celebration as only El Vez can produce. The El Vez Christmas Show comes to the Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz Wednesday, July 19th. Showtime is 7 pm.
Last year I fell head over heels for Two Door Cinema Club’s album, Tourist History. Loaded with the electro-pop dance grooves I was looking for in a band, Tourist History was high energy and infectious, making it impossible to not want to groove along. Needless to say it set the bar pretty high for a followup album. Now available, Beacon expands our expectations of the musical range of TDCC. Find out for yourself when Two Door Cinema Club plays The Catalyst in downtown Santa Cruz Wednesday, December 5th. Showtime is 8 pm.
They’re also part of “Not So Silent Night” with Jack Black, Metric, The Shins, Of Monsters and Men, The Gaslight Anthem Friday, December 7th at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. Bursting with music, this show begins at 6 pm and will sell out soon.
From New York City, The Punch Brothers with Chris Thile will be in concert Friday, November 30, 2012 at 8pm at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz, CA. Rooted in the rhythmic structure of bluegrass, these four virtuosic musicians take their original acoustic music and songs to an edgier, energetic fusion with elements of classical music, pop, indie-rock, and jazz. The band features Chris Thile (mandolin and vocals), who recently received a no-strings $500,000 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship, giving him the freedom to pursue whatever he wants for the next five years! The other band members include Gabe Witcher (fiddle), Noam Pikelny (banjo), Chris Eldridge (guitar), and Paul Kowert (bass).
In 1972, Holly Near was one of the first women to create an independent record company, paving the way for women like Ani DiFranco and others. Her goal was to promote and produce music by politically conscious artists from around the world, a mission that Redwood Records fulfilled for nearly 20 years. Often cited as one of the founders of the Women’s Music movement, she not only led the way for outspoken women in the music world, but also worked for peace and multicultural consciousness. Throughout her long career Holly has worked with a wide array of musicians, including Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Arlo Guthrie, Mercedes Sosa, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, Harry Belafonte, and many others. Holly Near performs with a full band Saturday, December 1st at the Kuumbwa Center in downtown Santa Cruz. Showtime is 7 pm.