It’s been a few decades since the heyday of the guitar hero, but Milwaukee-based axeman Greg Koch has the instrumental chops to stand out from the crowd and become a twenty-first-century guitar hero. Koch tends to favor Telecaster guitars, often echoing the sounds of the late great Telecaster master, Albert Collins. Koch has released 15 instrumental albums as a bandleader, attracted tens of millions of views for his YouTube videos, and, in 2012, Fender Guitars included him in their list of “Top Ten Unsung Guitarists.” The trio also features organ player Toby Lee Marshall, and Koch’s son, Dylan, who holds down the drum chair. DAN EMERSON
INFO: 8pm, Felton Music Hall, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. $22/adv, $26/door. 704-7113.
SISTERS WITH TRANSISTORS
Sisters with Transistors is an all-archival documentary on the history of women in electronic music—a record of what women were up to during the development and composition of that music. Electronic music had its early pioneers, and, as it tends to happen all too frequently, the women who were members of that pioneering group have been . . . underreported. Avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson narrates this true story of how women have shaped and defined what electronic music is today. Anderson is a reliable source for this information; she lived it and helped define what the genre is today. JESSICA IRISH
INFO: 8:30pm, Indexical, 1050 River St. #119, Santa Cruz. $10. 627-9491.
DAN HORNE & SEAN THOMPSON’S WEIRD EARS
In a collaboration of sorts, Dan Horne will merge his Grateful Dead-inspired jams with Sean Thompson’s Weird Ears surfy-psych rock. It’s a bill tailor-made for Dr. Dog, Woods and Mac DeMarco fans, with two bands that know how to sustain a jam session. Before forming Weird Ears, Thompson was a staple in the Nashville scene, known primarily for his fretwork. Horne, on the other hand, is all about vintage boogies. They’ll each perform solo and then fuse into a supergroup. One thing is certain about this rock ‘n’ roll evening: it’ll be a groovy time. JI
INFO: 8pm, Felton Music Hall, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. $17/adv, $22/door. 704-7113.
This month’s First Friday festivities bring a special record release show: Smoke Chaser’s 2023 debut album, Alazapul, is out on vinyl. The band has built a following over the past several years, winning folks over with their adept musicianship and psych-pop sensibilities. Their first single, “Highway One,” provided fans with a dreamy, sultry soundtrack to Summer ’22, celebrating Big Sur and Henry Miller (and his carnal pleasures). Guitarist Jon Spivak and singer-songwriter Ryan Masters bring similar literary leanings and hedonistic vibes to the band’s first full-length offering, an album that NPR describes as “a 10-song fever dream of wildly catchy California indie rock.” ADDIE MAHMASSANI
INFO: 5:30pm, Streetlight Records, 939 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Free. 421-9200.
It’s hard to imagine a duo crackling with more electricity than the Kills—Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince’s ongoing rock collaboration. With blues and punk influences running deep, Mosshart and Hince have churned out song after song in that sacred (to this writer) realm of art so emotionally dark it’s somehow bright as lightning bolts. They’ve also kept evolving, pushing past the lo-fi garage rock of their early-aughts records to explore fuller, more layered sounds. After a seven-year hiatus, they are back with God Games. It’s got a bit more polish but no less raw power. AM
INFO: 9pm, Catalyst, 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $47/adv, $57/door. 713-5492.
Get ready for the roots sound of one of reggae’s strongest voices as Mykal Rose returns to Moe’s Alley this week. After gaining stardom as the lead singer of the legendary Jamaican reggae group Black Uhuru (from 1977 to 1984), Rose became an international sensation as a solo artist. With over 30 albums already in his repertoire to draw from, Rose released Judge Not last year, an album of 12 new tracks, including the title song, previously only found as a seven-inch single. Bay Area reggae rockers Pacific Vibrations and DJ Moi will open the show for those prepared to get their dance on. MAT WEIR
INFO: 9pm, Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $30/adv, $35/door. 479-1854.
MARK HUMMEL’S ALL STAR HARMONICA BLOWOUT
Veteran California-based blues harpist and vocalist Mark Hummel has been taking his Harmonica Blowouts on the road since 1990, featuring a lengthy list of great blues players, most of whom are no longer around. The real star of this event will be Danish-born harmonica virtuoso Lee Oskar, whose instantly recognizable sound helped make the band War one of the biggest-selling rock groups of the ’70s. Others on the bill include Grammy-nominated Louisiana bluesman Kenny Neal, B.B. King-style blues rocker Chris Cain and former Fabulous Thunderbird Bob Welsh. Andrew Alli, a harp phenom attracting international attention, will open the show. DE
INFO: 4pm, Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way. $40/adv, $45/door. 479-1854.
For the first week of Black History Month, Bookshop Santa Cruz offers an exclusive reading of Leta Miller’s new book, Union Divided: Black Musicians’ Fight for Labor Equality. A Professor of Music Emerita at UC Santa Cruz, Miller provides an in-depth look into the unionization of Black musicians in the early Twentieth Century. She also looks at racist tactics used by workers and unions to keep out individuals of color and the work put into making the American Federation of Musicians desegregated. The event is free, but attendees can preorder hardcover copies for the author to sign on Bookshop Santa Cruz’s website. MW
INFO: 7pm, Bookshop Santa Cruz, 1520 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Free. 423-0900.
BLUE NOTE RECORDS
In international jazz, nobody does it better than Blue Note Records. For over three-quarters of a century—85 years to be exact—the label founded by German-Jewish immigrants has been known as THE place for premier jazz recordings, producing albums by many of the genre’s pillars, like Hank Mobley, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Freddie Hubbard and, well, the list keeps on going. This Wednesday, Blue Note Records’ own Blue Note Quintet (led by six-time Grammy nominee Gerald Clayton) will perform on an exceptional evening to celebrate the label’s rich history as it makes way for another century of America’s most innovative music. MW
INFO: 7pm, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320-2 Center St., Santa Cruz. $57.75/adv, $63/door. 427-2227.