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January 10-17, 2007

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Bunny Waller

Blackheart Man: Reggae royalty Bunny Wailer will headline the Santa Cruz Dayz celebration at the Civic.


A New Way Forward

By Bill Forman

COMING ATTRACTIONS Music fans can take solace in the fact that the semi-annual live performance drought that takes place when the students leave town is finally coming to a close. And right on cue, local promoters are booking fistfuls of new shows.

The old-school reggae fan in me is most thrilled about the newly announced headliner for the second day of the annual Santa Cruz Dayz '07 celebration of Bob Marley at the Santa Cruz Civic. None other than Bunny Wailer himself will head up the bill on Saturday, Feb. 24. Given the departure of both Robert Nesta Marley and Peter Tosh from this here mortal coil, Bunny is the last Wailer standing, and his solo album, Blackheart Man, still ranks among the best reggae albums of all time. Granted, Bunny has since floundered from time to time on record, but the opportunity to see him live, particularly at a celebration like this one, is golden. Other top-flight artists on the two-day bill include Midnite, Steel Pulse, Eek-A-Mouse, Culture, Morgan Heritage, Gladiators, Twinkle Brothers and more to be announced.

Meanwhile, over at the Catalyst, some relatively last-minute bookings have sweetened the schedule, including conscious hip-hop artist KRS-One (Jan. 18); Sacto's answer to Jakob Dylan, Jackie Greene (on Jan. 20, filling in for Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter's spawn Shooter Jennings, who's been moved back to May 12); and good old Willie Nelson (Feb. 23).

Other coming attractions in Santa Cruz clubland and beyond include Dar Williams at the Kuumbwa (Jan. 27), Miho Hatori of Cibo Matto (Feb. 11 at the Attic), Neko Case at the Rio (Feb. 16), the Blasters at Moe's Alley (also on the 16th), Taj Mahal with Los Lobos at the Civic (Feb. 17), David Lindley at the Kuumbwa (Feb. 19), Pato Banton at Moe's (March 3), a reunion of the original Sebadoh lineup (March 7 at the Attic) and Holly Near at Don Quixote's (March 10). And that's just the next two months.

CHANTED, I'M SURE While MūZ doesn't ordinarily spend a lot of time chanting--except at P-Funk shows, of course--it was hard to pass up the lure of Portland's Shantala, whose new CD, the Love Window, brought us out to the Cayuga Vault Sunday night for some good old-fashioned devotional odes to Krishna, Kali and various other Hindu deities. Heather Wertheimer's gorgeous vocals, undiminished by an incipient cold, and husband Benjy's Indian percussion were perfectly suited for the intimacy of the venue. Local cellist Elaine Kreston, whose Rumicello opened the evening with poems by the Sufi poet set to music, adeptly provided additional accompaniment. Having put 100,000 miles on their van touring these past three years (at shows "not always as blissful" as their Santa Cruz gig), the couple expressed their "secret wish" to live here, a desire obviously shared by the warmly receptive crowd. "But for the time being," mused Benjy, "our van is in Santa Cruz, so it's home." The Cayuga Vault plays host to another Northwestern outfit, albeit of a more neoDylanesque variety, when the Ian McFeron Trio plays there this coming Sunday.

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