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Extra Large March 15th

“Extra large what?” Well, this isn’t a “what”, it’s a “who”. Local favorites Extra Large have been called “uniquely Santa Cruz” by serving up their supersized sound of reggae, Latin, hip-hop, funk, and rock for years. Voted “Best Band” for many years by Santa Cruz Weekly and Good Times readers, Extra Large blends original material with creative takes on covers that are so funky you just gotta dance. Find out in person when Extra Large plays at Don Quixote’s International Music Hall  in Felton Saturday, March 15th. Showtime is 7 pm. Check out this selection from their first album “Dance to the Spin” https://soundcloud.com/vlealxl/dance-to-the-spin

Marling

Laura Marling

This post (and picture) comes courtesy of DJ Compost, one of the hosts of KZSC’s “Dead Energy” program.

Full Disclosure: The last time I saw Laura Marling in concert, it was before I came to KZSC. I used  a fake press pass to get into the 21+ venue. With a hand-crafted and surprisingly legitimate looking photo ID badge and the acting skills of Nicholas Cage on a good day, I somehow got into the show. When I told Laura about it after her performance, she called me a “fucking genius” and told me of her own experiences as an underage music aficionado in England where she’d sneak into shows with nothing more than fake DJ equipment and confidence. A bonding moment to remember. I recently saw Laura again at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco and this time, as a real media-type person. Laura walked on stage to a microphone stand three inches taller than her pixie-like self. Standing on her tiptoes, she timidly chimed “hello,” before beginning to play. I thought she’d adjust her mic to better accommodate her height, but she never did. It seemed strategic for the self-proclaimed and endearingly awkward folk singer to hold her head craned upwards where her eyes could easily travel to the ceiling. She opened with the first four songs from her new album, “Once I Was An Eagle”, each one blending seamlessly into the next, which built to the fifth and angriest track on the album, “Master Hunter.” Laura joked that if she were us, she’d be rioting against hearing new material, then played a pair of brand new songs. Apologizing for her lack of bantering skills, she laughed ironically then announced, “Now for the hits”  and played gems from her previous three albums plus a beautiful Townes Van Zandt cover of “For the Sake of the Song.” Laura let us get to know her during the next hour and a half, but only as much as she wanted, keeping parts of herself hidden away-dark, mysterious, vulnerable and inviting at the same time. Closing with “Where Can I Go?” from “Once I Was An Eagle”, Laura cooed gently: “I am cold and I am bright/ It’s a curse of mine to be sad at night.” At 23 years old, she seems to bare more of the world on her shoulders than she should have to; a blessing and a curse as a songwriter. She voices an honest vulnerability that is absolutely inspiring as if she’s swallowed up the entire world and spat out the good in beautiful prose and the bad in fiery spurts of fury. Find out more about Laura Marling at her website and listen for her on KZSC.

Fab 4guitar

Beatles Unplugged March 14th

If you haven’t seen The White Album Ensemble, you should. They reproduce music that The Beatles recorded but did not perform (“Rubber Soul” through “Abbey Road” albums). The Kuumbwa Jazz Center, with its great acoustics and grand piano, provide a perfect setting for an intimate concert of Beatles songs “unplugged” – acoustic instruments with an accent on vocals and harmonies. Special guests include vocalists Tammi Brown and Alysha Antonino along with percussionist Steve Robertson. The White Album Ensemble’s “Beatles Unplugged” show comes to the Kuumbwa in downtown Santa Cruz Friday, March 14th at 8 pm.

mike b

Bloomfield Box Set Revisits 60′s Icon

In the 1960′s there were few guitarists more prolific and higher profile than Michael Bloomfield. Cutting  his teeth with blues masters like Muddy Waters, session playing for Bob Dylan’s famed Highway 61 and backing him up at the legendary “electric” Newport Folk performance of 1965, then serving an essential role in the white rediscovery of the blues with the Paul Butterfield Band before playing at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival with his own band Electric Flag. What could be considered a career of legendary status for most, it was not a bad decade for Mike. In the 70′s he continued to do session work, collaborating frequently with fellow Dylan alum Al Kooper. Plagued by constant insomnia and personal demons, Bloomfield would die of an overdose in 1981. In an effort to elevate his old friend to the legend status he deserves, Al Kooper put together “From His Head to His Heart to His Hands”, a 3 CD box set showcasing some of his finest work. The DVD documentary, ” Sweet Blues” is included as well, profiling Bloomfield at work through all phases of his professional career. For anyone interested in blues, the San Francisco music scene in the late 60′s or the blues revival in America, this is as good a place as any to start. And when you hear his electric guitar, give a nod to Michael Bloomfield.

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Concert Calendar

So many concerts…so little time. How do you decide? With live music happening every day in the Bay Area and Santa Cruz, it can be tough to keep up. You can get an audio overview of what’s happening on KZSC’s Concert Calendar. Heard every weekday at noon, The Great 88 covers the music scene in Northern California in about 2 minutes. More details and choices can also be found on our Events Calendar page.