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03.17.10

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Phaedra

DOUBLE BUBBLE: Art pop sensation Xiu Xiu, all squeaky clean for this Friday's show at Crepe Place

Music Calendar

March 17 - 24, 2010


WEDNESDAY | 3/17

TATER FAMINE

Don't let the mandolin fool you. Tater Famine is an energetic, Hank-meets–Bad Religion hybrid mixing punk rock substance with country sensibilities. The Santa Cruz trio of acoustic guitar, stand-up bass and mandolin found its sound in 2006, when the auditory restraints of the members' apartment complex forced them to take a punk-unplugged approach, replacing their electric instruments with acoustic ones and developing an old-meets-new punkabilly style. Since then, Tater Famine has toured the country, released a debut CD and played around the Bay Area and West Coast extensively. Crepe Place; $7; 9pm. (Cat Johnson)

MOLLY'S REVENGE

Molly's Revenge is a lively Celtic band from here in Santa Cruz that nevertheless seems to have one foot firmly on the Emerald Isle. The group blends traditional instrumentation—bagpipes, whistle and fiddle—with that of contemporary acoustic folk music like guitar and mandola. The group has an impressive ability to pen modern compositions that sit comfortably within the Celtic musical tradition, a skill that has garnered Molly's Revenge attention from NPR and Celtic music fans on both sides of the pond. Don Quixote's; $12; 7:30pm. (Paul M. Davis)


FRIDAY | 3/19

XIU XIU

People tend to either love Xiu Xiu or hate Xiu Xiu. As San Jose natives, the group finds plenty of love here on the Central Coast and a devoted following among DIY music fans worldwide. But between the chaotic, synthed-up art pop of its rotating cast of musicians and frontman Jamie Stewart's flamboyantly depressing lyrics and throaty vibrato, the music admittedly has a bit of a learning curve. But like an old scotch, the band's complex tunes are better savored than swigged, and watching Stewart live is like watching a dapper Steven Morrissey behave like a mud-caked Trent Reznor. Crepe Place; $12 adv/$25 door; 9pm. (Curtis Cartier)

BASSEKOU KOUYATE and NGONI BA

If he grew up in the American South, perhaps he would have been a banjo player. Instead, Bassekou Kouyate grew up in Mali and plays the ngoni, a small stringed wood-and-animal hide instrument that, with a few tweaks, could easily contest an opposing plucker in a serenade of "dueling banjos." A peer of the great Bla Fleck and the Bjrk-endorsed mbira whiz Toumani Diabate, Kouyate and his band Ngoni Ba have pushed the traditional instrument to new heights using an intricate hand flourish technique and dabbling in electric guitar effects and feedback in his experimental sound. Rio Theatre; $18 adv/$22 door; 8pm. (CC)


SATURDAY | 3/20

LES YEUX NOIRS

Formed by the violin-slinging brothers Eric and Olivier Slabiak, Les Yeux Noirs is a French outfit that draws upon Manouche Gypsy jazz, Romani music and klezmer for a sound that's rooted in tradition but surprisingly contemporary. Credit their willingness to dust their arrangements with slight electronic touches and a freewheeling, global aesthetic that draws in influences from across many borders. There is a simultaneous sense of joy and pathos in the performances of Les Yeux Noirs, making for a lively, ebullient blend with unexpected depth. Kuumbwa; $20 adv/$25 door; 7 and 9pm. (PMD)

INFAMOUS STRINGDUSTERS

For award-winning progressive bluegrass band the Infamous Stringdusters, "winter tour" means "annual ski trip." The Nashville-based ensemble takes off every winter and heads to the Rockies to play music for the bluegrass-loving mountain folk at night and take in the powder during the day. This year's tour, however, took an unexpected turn when vocalist and bass player Travis Book hit a tree and broke his leg, bringing the ski-centric schedule to a grinding halt. Now the Stringdusters are bringing their unique improvisations, instrumental virtuosity and stunning harmonies to the Santa Cruz Mountains for a tradition-meets-today, string-dusting good time here in hiking-biking-surfing country. Don Quixote's; $15; 8pm. (CJ)


SUNDAY | 3/21

JUG BAND JAMBOREE

In the right hands, a jug turns into a wind instrument and a discarded guitar neck and pie tin become a banjo. Santa Cruz's fourth annual Jug Band Jamboree aims to preserve the roots and creative elements of the jug band as it evolved in the Deep South of the 1920s. Modern-day jug bands have been summoned from local hills and far coasts, and they come bearing washboards and jugs as well as banjos, guitars, ukuleles and kazoos. The Club Zayante Jug Stompers are the pride of the locals; they join an array of bands playing ragtime, Delta blues, Tin Pan Alley favorites, field and work songs and "hillbilly hokum" with a truly homemade twang. Don Quixote's; $10 adv/$10 door; 2–9pm. (Maria Grusauskas)


MONDAY | 3/22

JOE LOVANO's US FIVE

When Joe Lovano blows his sax, the world listens. As one of the premier practitioners of the tenor saxophone and an accomplished clarinetist, flutist and drummer, Lovano is something of a jazz godfather. For his current tour, Lovano has assembled Us Five. James Weidman mans the keys while the two celebrated drummers Francisco Mela and Otis Brown III play tug-of-war on the skins and hats and no less than the White House-approved bassist Esperanza Spalding hammers home the low frequencies. Kuumbwa; $25 adv/$28 door; 7pm. (CC)


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