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Music Calendar

May 26 - June 2

Wednesday | 5/26


When big-name rapper Nas hits the Catalyst with roots reggae staple Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, it won't just be another hip-hop show with a reggae opener to warm up the crowd. Nope, these two are bandmates now. On the just-released record Distant Relatives, the duo focus on their shared love of African culture to craft a message of unity around Marley's falsetto toasting and Nas' heroic rhymes. The pairing is unprecedented in its scope in that many MCs have incorporated reggae, but no superstars have combined it with their own work under a double bill both in the studio and on the road. Aside from the novelty, however, the end result is quality head-nodding hip-hop with crisp reggae melodies and a positive message. Catalyst; $39.50 adv/$44 door; 9pm. (Curtis Cartier)

Thursday | 5/27


Attention, Santa Cruz prog rock fans! Stop the hunger strike, put down the protest banners. Mountain Animal Hospital's long awaited sophomore LP, Better Children, is complete. And the verdict: it kicks ass. The crew will be on hand at the Crepe Place this weekend to perform live and distribute the coveted discs like methadone at a heroin clinic. For those unfamiliar with SC's favorite indie rock mad scientists, MAH uses plucky guitar scales, ambitiously nasal vocals and complex chord progressions for a sound that might be described as Minus the Bear being caught in a Cave In on planet Mars Volta. Crepe Place; $8; 9pm. (CC)

Friday | 5/28


Moby Grape remains one of the heaviest rock bands in the history of the genre, the acid-rock behemoth by which lesser bands are judged. Much of that can be credited to Jerry Miller, the band's guitarist. Miller—who Rolling Stone once declared to be "one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All-Time"—is a player who taught the likes of Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton a few tricks. An ad hoc supergroup featuring John Oxendine and Santa Cruzan Dale Ockerman of the Doobie Brothers, the Jerry Miller Band finds Miller serving up barn-burning guitar riffs while reaching ever-deeper into his blues roots. Don Quixote's; $10; 8pm. (Paul M. Davis)


The musical collaboration of beloved songwriter M. Ward and indie it-girl Zooey Deschanel, She & Him has the rare distinction of being an actor's side-project that doesn't suck. While actors' musical endeavors rarely have any legs, She & Him are hitting the road to support their second critically acclaimed release, Volume Two. M. Ward's earns his distinction as a producer and arranger with these songs and Deschanel proves a stunning chanteuse and songwriter as the duo pays tribute to the pop music of bygone eras while digging deep into the American folk tradition for inspiration. There's a heartache to the band's work—which seem to evoke the realization that there's no such thing as an endless summer—that is transfixing. Rio Theatre; $22 adv/$25 door; 8pm. (PMD) 

Saturday | 5/29


It takes some stones to declare yourself "New Orleans' funkiest," as Dumpstaphunk has in its press materials, but it may just have a legitimate claim to the title. Perhaps it's genetic: the band was founded by cousins Ivan and Ian Neville, whose respective fathers, Aaron and Art Neville, know more than a few things about funk and soul. Dumpstaphunk is absolutely its own band, however, and credit's due the band's elastic dual-bass arrangements and ebullient live sets, which are certain to bring a little taste of New Orleans to the Moe's Alley tonight following a blistering Santa Cruz Blues Fest performance. Moe's Alley; $20; 9pm. (PMD)


An international group in every sense, Onola uses guitars, keyboards, dancing and a jazzy big-band-style horn section to deliver a colorful type of Afrobeat, incorporating not only funk and West African highlife music but a touch of reggae and Latin music as well. The band is made up of versatile musicians from various corners of the globe (including some who played with the Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti) and is led by the Nigerian-born local artist Danjuma Adamu, whose work has appeared in releases under the Putamayo World Music label. Fernwood Resort, 47200 Hwy. 1, Big Sur; free; 9pm. (Sean Conwell)

Sunday | 5/30


He started out as a rock & roll drummer, but Coco Montoya's destiny was to be a great blues guitarist. In the '70s, Montoya was mentored by the electric blues legend Albert Collins while drumming for Collins' band. Later, in the '80s, he became a member of the Bluesbreakers (the same band that Eric Clapton played with before forming Cream). After striking out on his own in the '90s, he earned a W. C. Handy Award, the most prestigious honor for blues musicians, for the "icy hot" style of guitar playing he learned from Collins. He plays tonight after an afternoon appearance at the BluesFest. Moe's Alley; $20; 9pm. (Sean Conwell)

Wednesday | 6/2


When the Ventures' infamous hits hurtled to the top of the charts during the '60s surf rock craze, it was Nokie Edwards who carried them there. His lead guitar barreled through classics like "Pipeline" and "Hawaii 5-0," embedding itself forever in that signature surf rock sound. In the wake of his latest album, Hitchin' a Ride, Edwards tours California with a headful of hits from the '50s, '60s and '70s and an incredibly attractive guitar he built himself. Don Quixotes; $15 adv/$15 door; 7:30pm. (Maria Grusauskas)

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