Live: Siren Solstice, Feed Me Jack Art Show: 我畫畫 - Amy Estrada A Series of Intersecting Lines Live: Son of Aurelius & Inanimate Existence

Live: Siren Solstice, Feed Me Jack

When it comes to music, I am a snob and a critic. I like jazz, but hate 98% of it. I also like indie-rock, but only about 5% of what I hear. I like most genres, but if I’m honest, I think that 95% of all the music being recorded is derivative and not worth my time.

The Kuumbwa Jazz venue has started hosting indie-rock shows, and their seventh show in this “Kuumbwa Club” series was Siren Solstice and Feed Me Jack. Props for Kuumbwa branching out, but they have a stellar jazz reputation to protect. Local indie-rock shows seem like a risky proposition for a club bringing world-class jazz and world music acts to the Central Coast.

Do you get where I’m going with this? I was nervous. I was nervous I wouldn’t like what was going on. I was nervous that the Kuumbwa was now lowering the bar once a week to broaden their audience.

I was wrong.

Kuumbwa Club Crowd

Siren Solstice: Zack the drummerOnce Siren Solstice opened the packed house (200+) with their take on West Coast Jazz, with a dash of funk, I was drumming the table till my fingers were sore. The crowd was on their feet, the sax was skronking and I was wondering why I don’t get out to see jazz more often than I do.

Next thing I know, Feed Me Jack is tuning up, now the crowd is seething, now the saxophone is being blended by a delay pedal. I was three songs in, and still trying to decide exactly how to place them, when I just gave up and went with the flow. After that, I caught the Grizzly Bear influences, the Animal Collective vocal primitivism, and even some guitar interplay that reminded me of some of Foals earlier work.

Feed Me JackIt really is a miracle that Feed Me Jack sound as good as they do. In the hands of 98% of the rest of the indie-rock populous, compositions for drums, bass, 2 electric guitars, keyboards and saxophone would be disastrous mush. Probably only 2% of bands have found their sound early enough in their career to do a Little Dragon cover and make it their own.

Feed Me Jack are easily in that 2%, and I left the Kuumbwa grinning, energized and ready to tell people about this new band I just heard.

Live: The Wild, You Blew It! and The Front Bottoms

I was nervous heading to The Crepe Place for what I thought was going to be an indie/folk show. My fears were assuaged while I was waiting in line, chatting with Annie about who she was there to see. The Front Bottoms are a punk band? *relief washes over me* So with my hopes renewed, I entered one of my favorite venues to see You Blew It!, The Wild, and The Front Bottoms. (more…)

我畫畫 – Amy Estrada

You missed a loud little event last Friday. Or maybe you didn’t, but most likely you did if you run in my circle of friends. You see, Friday night there was a show that was entirely DIY, entirely warm and inviting, and entirely successful, as far as I can tell.

Having never even heard of Amy Estrada, I received a random friend request on facebook back in July. My facebook account is for personal purposes only, but for some reason I made an exception as a blogger friending an artist. I’ve been hearing about this even for a few months, and decided I should definitely see what Amy was all about. (more…)

A Series of Intersecting Lines

It hasn’t taken long for Tim Strouss to arrange a solo show, but Tim Strouss has not had your typical artists development. Since he began painting a year ago, he has taken a disciplined approach to painting, art education, and technique. He’s painted nearly every day for the past year, and it shows. (read our interview here)

Tim’s first show, at The Abbey Coffee Shop as a First Friday event, does not disappoint. As a bit of an insider, allow me to offer some context and perspective into his work and encourage you to take a look for yourself. (more…)

Live: Son of Aurelius and Inanimate Existence

August 29th was a very bad day for me. I don’t mean a spilled coffee, got flipped off in traffic kind of day. I mean, a loved one who lives far away had unexpected, serious surgery kind of day. I had the option to go to a show at the Catalyst, or stay home and do… what?

Inanimate Existence is a band some friends had been telling me about for months. I knew they were Technical Death Metal, with atmospheric passages, and their drummers kick was faster than most automatic weapons (more…)

Live: The McCoy Tyler Band

One thing we do for good friends, is make exceptions; try new things. Clinton Brown is something of a legend in my mind; the consumate professional. While my band, An Officer and Two Gentlemen, was recording, Clinton was one-taking compositions with tempo and time-signature changes. (I was endlessly tracking feedback overdubs) We lost touch with each other until about two weeks ago, due to travel, children and a host of other excuses. He told me his new band was playing a cd release show at Don Quixotes in Felton.

This is where the exception comes in (more…)

Interview: Gina Tuzzi

I met Gina Tuzzi at her Stripe Men showing in July. Her work immediately struck me as displaying an immense amount of skill, vision and openness. Seriously, the detail in these drawings will blow your mind.

Gina was kind enough to answer some questions, and give me a closer look at the thought and care that goes into her work. She was just as open and gracious as I expected.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you become an artist?

I’m Gina. I’m Santa Cruz born and raised and currently live and work in Oakland. I’m a full time artist, and part time framer. I’m a Libra and a daydream believer.

My earliest memories of making art are from when I was 5 or 6 and I would replicate the album cover art from my parents vinyl collection on computer paper (the kind that was like a long accordion with the perforated edges). The first time I remember feeling like an artist was when I made my first collage in my neighbor  Phoebe’s painting studio, I was probably 8. (more…)

Interview: Justin Angelos

After my initial interaction with Justin Angelos’ work at Stripe Men, I really wanted to interact with him a bit. His work is so rooted the kind of nostalgia and abstracted relationships we have with celebrities that I felt like I wanted more. Maybe I knew I would never get an answer from O.J., Bruce Lee or Sylvester Stallone, but Justin was in reach.


Show Review: The Men, Skin Like Iron, DNF and Destruction Unit

• Destruction Unit’s on-stage antics
• Seeing the frontman of DukeNukemForever get body-checked into an amp
• Getting spit on during The Men’s intense set

This June 25th show was on my calendar for a couple of months, but it wasn’t until a week before the show that it was announced this would be the last show for this venue, the Pioneer. Hugely disappointing, given that this was one of the only outlets for hardcore and extreme music in the area. Santa Cruz needs all-ages venues to revitalize the music scene, and provide an outlet for all forms of musical expression. Musical expression is never going to go away; only go underground (or noisily setup in your neighbors garage).

Show Review: The Backup Razor, Benedict Arnold and Trashkannon

When I heard that The Backup Razor was playing a show for their 5th anniversary as a band, I thought I had better get down to the Blue Lagoon to check it out. I mean, I had just interviewed Jesse, and realized I had never seen TBR play. Plus, somebody had to document the momentous occasion. (more…)