Sound Tribe Sector 9 performs at UC Santa Cruz's Quarry Amphitheater.
Wallace Baine

Weekender: Quarry’s star turn, Karate Kid coming to town and a Bonny Doon earworm

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Weekender with Wallace Baine

Hi friends,

Wow, that was an amazing show from Sound Tribe Sector 9 at the Quarry last weekend (more on that later). Don’t listen to the gloomies out there with their “summer’s almost over” laments. There’s plenty of summer left. Get out there and enjoy it.

Now, on with the show:

This Just In!

Remember “The Karate Kid”? Gen Xers certainly do. The star of that 1984 coming-of-age classic, Ralph Macchio, will be coming to the Rio Theatre in a show presented by Bookshop Santa Cruz on Oct. 21 to talk about his new memoir of “The Karate Kid” phenomenon. Also newly booked, the great Celtic band the Tannahill Weavers comes to Michael’s on Main in Soquel on Oct. 27, Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore come to Felton Music Hall on Nov. 19, local singer-songwriter Marty O’Reilly does a solo show at Kuumbwa on Sept. 30, and a really underrated Americana blues/rock duo called Little Hurricane returns to Moe’s Alley on Sept. 24.

Check out my carefully curated and constantly updated planning guide, Down the Line, for the staggering riches and amazing choices awaiting Santa Cruz audiences. It’s our look ahead at the best shows, concerts and events through the rest of the year at clubs, stages and venues all over the county.

The logo for Baine's Nine


Here they are, nine necessary know-abouts for the week ahead. In honor of one of August’s biggest musical events, we’re calling it the B (Sector) 9:

  1. A musical giant is visiting us all soon. Booker T. Jones has his fingerprints on many of the greatest musical moments of the past 60 years. And he plays two shows at Kuumbwa just for you and me.
  2. Let’s see — art, wine, beer — yep, Scotts Valley’s got it all covered this weekend.
  3. It’s the “Fringe” show, a Santa Cruz Shakespeare tradition in which SCS interns stage a retelling of Greek myth.
  4. Looking for a “sampler plate” of the best Santa Cruz County has to offer in folk/country/Americana? Saturday, Sunday, Fairgrounds, I’ll see you there.
  5. Watsonville is a damn fine town and too few people realize it. A Saturday afternoon wine, beer and art walk might change that.
  6. He’s been here a ton of times, but Santa Cruz audiences can’t seem to get enough of the brilliant Paul Thorn.
  7. His real name is Vernor Winfield MacBriare Smith IV, but the world knows and loves him as the one-and-only Mac DeMarco, who visits Santa Cruz on Tuesday.
  8. Hawaii has a real jewel in the bluesy singer-songwriter Paula Fuga. Discover her next Wednesday at Moe’s Alley.
  9. Did you know the punk rockers Agent Orange adopted their name because they were from Orange County? Forty years on, one of the West Coast’s pioneering punk bands marches on at Moe’s.

WANT MORE B9 PICKS? Find recommendations from Team BOLO — Wallace, Max Chun and Will McCahill — here

The Quarry’s amazing summer

Last Saturday, I was among a couple of thousand other people at the Quarry Amphitheater on the UC Santa Cruz campus to hear the transcendentally chill music of Sound Tribe Sector 9, in the first summer of the Quarry as a major new concert venue.

On the long walk up from the parking area to the venue, I was idly chatting with a visitor from San Francisco who had never been to campus before. One of her companions joked, “I want to see a banana slug,” but as the newcomers began to explain what they were about to experience, I kept hearing variations of “Yeah, it’s like Red Rocks in the redwoods,” and “Yeah, it’s kind like the Greek (in Berkeley), but smaller.”

Yes, that might sound like hype and it does the Quarry no favors comparing it to two of the country’s most awesome outdoor concert venues. But the Sound Tribe show was amazing as advertised and, though we shouldn’t sell the band short, the Quarry had a lot to do with that.

The venue is more modest in scale than those high-profile comparisons. But it felt like the ideal showcase for STS9, a national touring act that actually calls Santa Cruz home.

Jose Reyes-Olivas at the Quarry.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The venue’s manager, Jose Reyes-Olivas, told me the two back-to-back STS9 shows, as well as the Carla Morrison concert back in June, served as test runs for the Quarry as a major concert venue, and everything went as hoped.

“Most people from the production end of things felt remarkably satisfied,” he said in the Quarry’s inaugural-season aftermath. “It was just that smooth.”

The Quarry is a unique venue in that its primary use is for UCSC events and student activities, at least between September and May. “We’re never going to be like the Mountain Winery [in Saratoga],” Jose said. “We’re never going to do 35, 40 shows a year. Our goal is serving the campus and serving the community as well. And I think our formula is a good formula because everyone gets benefits from it.”

Now, the Quarry will return to its campus-first orientation. But, Jose told me, locals can expect more shows at the Quarry next summer. He said he hoped STS9 would make the venue a regular stop on its schedule, and he’s already jumping into programming for next summer. With the Morrison and STS9 concerts, the Quarry can now show interested touring acts that it is able to handle the demands of a big-name artist.

“We have every reason to believe we will be back next summer but with a bigger programming schedule,” he said. We’ll keep an eye out for bigger things at the “The Q” — does anyone call it that?

Earworm of the Week

We in Santa Cruz County know well the community of Bonny Doon, but how many of us know the band Bonny Doon? Our EWW this week discovers “Long Wave” from the foursome Bonny Doon. The song’s laconic, faintly melancholic vibe and its beach-Zen lyrical approach (“I have a feeling/That time is a long wave”) might convince you these guys just have to be locals. The home-movie look of the band’s video that screams Northern California cements the case. But, shockingly, Bonny Doon is actually from the city that gave the world Stevie Wonder, Eminem and The White Stripes. That’s right, this Bonny Doon hails from Motown itself, Detroit. Makes you wonder: Has Bonny Doon ever visited Bonny Doon? There is a song on the band’s 2017 self-titled debut album called “Never Been to California.” What gives, Bonny Doon?


Where in Santa Cruz County Am I?

So how well do you notice the little things when you’re out and about across Santa Cruz County? We’ll post images from places that are accessible to the public somewhere in Santa Cruz County. You tell us where it is, as specifically as you can … or, better yet, send us your own photo of the same thing.

A cupola on a building

Does the image above ring a bell? Hint: It’s been in the news recently.

A plaque with instructions how to sign "peace" in American Sign Language and "peace" in Braille

Last week’s answer: This was a tough one. The “peace pole” has become a popular community project in many small towns, but this specific reminder (above) of how to communicate “peace” in Braille and American Sign Language resides in the lovely but often overlooked community of La Selva Beach.

The "peace pyramid" in La Selva Beach

After you’ve enjoyed the breathtaking vistas overlooking the ocean, visit the tiny Triangle Park on Playa Boulevard, La Selva’s main street. The community-made “peace pyramid” is there in the park, near Solano Avenue. It’s a wonderful spot to sit and meditate on the serenity of La Selva.

That’s all I got, friends. Come at me with comments, ideas, complaints, or thundering insights. Thanks to all Lookout members for your faith and support, and please, spread the word on what we’re doing.