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Stop Using Jazz as a Weapon: Henry Butler could totally come after you with this piano for missing his show. But hey, it's cool.

You Totally Flaked!

Dude, I was looking all over for you at the Henry Butler show last Thursday at Moe's Alley--where the hell were you? And to think (as Mr. Tim Greenwood says) that Santa Cruz used to be a bohemian town full of people who would come out to see good music--tsk, tsk!

I should point out that I don't usually get all uppity about this kind of thing, but it really was a bummer to watch this blind New Orleans R&B legend and swingin' piano innovator try to work the Audience Lite. Even without a full house, though, Butler had no problem proving that he's a freaking genius on the piano, his long-fingered hands hammering out a surprisingly blues-intensive set, fluttering around the keys like moths near a strobe light. It was almost a good thing he didn't have a backing band--the full, swinging sound might have shed an even harsher light on the lack of people there. And don't even think for a second that I can't hear what you're thinking right now--you're going to hell for that, you evil mother! I'll see you there, but I'll also tell you one thing right now: you don't have to be able to see your audience to know how big it is. He knew. He knew.

Farewell, Michael Jones!

Poet-about-town and longtime DJ of the KZSC radio show A Place at the Table Michael Jones is leaving Santa Cruz soon, but not before giving a farewell performance at the 418 Project on Saturday, July 19. He's headed for Boulder, Colo., to earn his master's degree in writing and poetics at Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and damn is that a mouthful or what? I'm feeling a bit discombobulated just writing that last sentence, which is probably why he's going and not me. Anyhow, he'll be joined by the a capella trio Dis Moi, along with Molly Heartwell and a dance performance by Kaya Nati. The festivities begin at 8pm, and admission is a sliding scale deal, with all proceeds going towards Jones' moving expenses.

Get Yo'self Some Cultcha

No doubt the masses of Santa Cruz will be at the Catalyst on Sunday, July 20, to hear the word and sound of Culture featuring OG frontman Joseph Hill. Militant in his political beliefs since the band's inception in 1976, Hill is still creating relevant and energetic roots reggae, recently collaborating with the Firehouse Crew and musicians from Shaggy's band for his newest release, World Peace. As per usual, the message is all about peace, love and, of course, praise to Jah Rastafari and the ganj.

In the Bottom of the Animal

Unlike the clunky and labor-intensive Manual Animal, Santa Cruz's homegrown and heavily metallic Automatic Animal delivers a surprisingly polished ride of ass-kickingly technical hard rock. Like every good band should, they pay homage to their greatest influences: Queens of the Stone Age, Black Sabbath, Tool, Rush and Corrosion of Conformity all make the list, which goes a long way toward explaining where the band's stoner-prog-hard-rock sound comes from. They'll be performing at the Mediterranean on Saturday, July 19, along with the all-femme NYC hard rock trio Bottom. Fuzzplow and AM Preacher also perform.

Mike Connor

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From the July 16-23, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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