Winter is a notoriously slow time in the music industry, most bands are either huddled up in some cozy studio recording their next masterpiece or taking time off to spend time with their families, leaving Santa Cruz music lovers with little in the way of live music shows. Just kidding. We got a reggae legend, one of the hardest thrash bands this side of the Mississippi and a bonafide hip-hop legend coming to Santa Cruz this week. If you want a break, move to the Midwest.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2
An albino raised in a Jamaican orphanage, Yellowman (real name: Winston Foster) was already at a considerable disadvantage when he began his musical journey on the streets of Kingston. Yet, the artist was soon making a name for himself in the dancehall scene with his voluptuous beats and natural stage presence. At the height of his career, Yellowman was considered one of the biggest reggae acts out of Jamaica since Bob Marley, producing as many as five albums a year. Throughout the last few decades, taking breaks to battle jaw cancer, Yellowman has remained a constant force in the international reggae scene. The legend arrives in Santa Cruz for a special performance at Moe’s, with The Sagittarius Band. 21+. 9 p.m. Tickets: $20/$25.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4
While they have only been a group for two years, Steep Ravine has already carved out a niche for themselves in the folk scene at home and abroad. After releasing their debut album Trampin’ On in 2013, the group set off on an audacious tour through the U.S and Canada, winning over hearts and beards everywhere with their beautiful yet gritty, ethereal and acoustic folk set. Upon returning home to the Bay Area the band has been focused on recording their new album and playing local shows, one of which is this Friday at Kuumbwa. Patchy Sanders opens. 9 p.m. Tickets: $12/$15.
A man that needs no introduction in the Bay Area-rap game, innovator, investor, and entrepreneur Earl “E-40” Stevens will be on stage doing what took him from the streets of Vallejo, all around the world (even spending time with Sheiks in Dubai), and back to our door step-rapping. Whether as an original member of The Click, founder of Sick Wid It Records, or as the artist who brought us “Tell Me When To Go,” a stand-by track at every high school dance for the last two decades, E-40 is a name that will go down in Bay Area music history. Don’t miss your chance to see him live at The Catalyst, with Jay Lozoya, DJ Aspect. 16+. 9 p.m. Tickets: $25
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5
When an artist describes their sound as “dripping wet love drops of nasty mind melting sonic bliss” it is natural to be intrigued, but what keeps people listening to Phutureprimitive isn’t his clever sonic descriptions, but his incredible talent in making lush electronic music. Throughout his 20 year career on the decks and producing, Phutureprimitive has stayed relevant by continually innovating. His latest project, Searching for Beauty in the Darkest Places, takes some of his older tracks and re-imagines them with a faster, dancehall vibe. At the Catalyst Atrium, with Bass Physics, Alex Kane. 18+. 9 p.m. Tickets: $15/$19.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6
Formed in 2009 when they were students together at the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles-based, Together Pangea, create head-banging, thrash rock. While their music progresses at an almost maniacal pace, the three-piece never loses a grip on their sound. Listening to them live is sort of like riding the Willy Wonka boat down a post-punk river. The experience feels slightly menacing, but you know you’ll make it to your destination in the end. See them in action, with White Reaper and Watergate. 9 p.m. Tickets: $5 at the door.