El Niño has been churning up some weird and wonderful things out of the ocean lately, including a venomous sea snake that hasn’t been seen in Southern California in 30 years until earlier this month when it made what was a surely a crowd-pleasing appearance at a Ventura County beach. Locally, the weather phenomena has taken a detour inland and dredged up 90s-era alt-rock stars, eerie Southern folk bands and a few other musical curveballs for your enjoyment. If anyone asks, blame El Niño.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21
Crawling out from the depths of Austin, Texas, this folk-punk group are taking their act west for the first time. Their rolling and melodic sound is punctuated with abrasive punk and hard rock riffs, creating a miasma of sound that is jarringly beautiful. These guys are super fun live, don’t miss them at mid-town hotspot the Crepe Place, with locals Rat King and Joan & the Rivers. 9 p.m. Tickets: $8.
Eli Meltzer or the artist formerly known as Smoov-E, is one of hip-hop’s most interesting characters. With his signature off-key singsong rap voice Smoov-E created a niche market with his weird flow, suggestive content, and pioneering video style. After signing to Andre Nickatina’s I-Khan label in 2010, the artist now goes by “Eli” and focuses more on singing and songwriting rather than rapping. 9 p.m. Tickets: $15/$20.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23
Swing music expertly played by local ensemble, featuring a mix of jazz, funk, swing, and rock. Playing together since 2011 the group features a full horn section. Let them provide the soundtrack to one of those unexpected, unforgettable Santa Cruz nights. Swing Happy Hour is from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $5 at the door.
It is a regular headbanger’s ball this Friday at local dive The Blue with metal bands, From Hell, Eviscerate, Stormbat and Bleed By Example. If the band names don’t clue you in, these guys bring it pretty hard. Party on, Garth. 8 p.m. Tickets: $5 at the door.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24
Formed in 1990 at the start of the alternative rock revolution, Failure set themselves apart from the crowd with their inventive use of synths, guitar effects and strong production values. The band broke up in 1997, with frontman Ken Andrews going on to work as an engineer/producer on albums for Pete Yorn, Paramore, and others. The band reunited in 2014, recorded a new album, The Heart is a Monster and hit the road. Check out our interview with Ken and then see them in the flesh at The Catalyst. 9 p.m. Tickets: $20/$22.