A Tucson, Arizona-based rock ’n’ roll outfit, La Cerca pulls in elements of ’90s-era indie rock, lo-fi soul, classic rock and jazz to make something that sounds like it was created during a time when Pavement, Built to Spill and Sonic Youth were the reigning tastemakers. With distorted guitars, melodic and sweet vocals, and catchy hooks, these guys are a throwback to all that was good about the alt-rock underground. Their 2014 album, Sunrise for Everyone, which was recorded in Tucson’s famed Waterworks Studios has been called the band’s “grand statement and masterpiece.” CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.
TODD MOSBY & THE NEW HORIZONS ENSEMBLE
Described as a genre-defying guitarist, composer and improviser, Todd Mosby blends jazz, bluegrass, folk and the classical music of North India into an otherworldly sound. A virtuoso artist, Mosby plays the Imrat guitar, a 20-stringed hybrid of the guitar and sitar, and is the only guitarist to be included in the famed Imdad Khani Gharana, India’s royal family of ustadt sitar dating back 500 years. Mosby’s New Horizons Ensemble comprises Grammy-nominated fretless bassist Michael Manring, celebrated multi-instrumentalist Premik Russell Tubbs, and Grammy-winning percussionist Jeff Haynes. CJ
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $12/adv, $15/door. 335-2800.
SOUL TRACK MIND
Donovan Keith was a clean slate when he arrived in Austin in 2008. Up to that point, he’d never fronted a band, and couldn’t play an instrument. But in no time, he and a group of musicians he’d met were the hottest soul revivalists in the city. Rather than going for sweet soulful ballads or funky dance jams, they harken back to the hard-edged, horn-driven R&B sound, mixing in just a dash of blues, funk and pop while they’re at it. It’s catchy and accessible for folks who are keen on ’60s R&B, but don’t like to dig through crates. They’re like the Black Keys version of classic soul music. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m. Pocket, 3102 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz. $10. 475-9819.
STEPHEN “RAGGA” MARLEY
Bob Marley had a lot of kids. Ziggy has been the most visible, but there are several other talented Marleys out there. Stephen “Ragga” Marley certainly deserves the attention he’s been getting. Son of Bob and Rita Marley, he’s racked up several Grammy awards, and his special skill is something he didn’t get from his father—he’s a ragamuffin master. For years, Stephen had been involved with other Marley projects, but it wasn’t until 2007 that he released his own solo record, Mind Control, and it rightfully soared to the top of the reggae charts. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $28/adv, $32/door. 429-4135.
CAROLYN SILLS COMBO
Local powerhouse Carolyn Sills is the real deal of throwback country music. She has enough soul, heart, style, and swag to convince audiences and listeners that they may have been transported to an era where country swing ruled the waves, juke joints were the place to be, and heartache had a kick like a mule. On Friday, Sills and her combo of ace musicians drop their new album, Dime Stories Vol. 2, a record packed from start to finish with all the lonesome wails, tongue-in-cheek humor, and late-night reflection you’d expect from a classic country gem. If you’re a local roots fan and you haven’t yet heard Sills, it’s time to get tuned in to one of the most exciting acts around. Also performing: Miss Lonely Hearts and the McCoy Tyler Band. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 423-1338.
FRIDAY & SATURDAY 5/27 & 5/28
English Beat has been coming through town a lot lately. Maybe it’s because Dave Wakeling, the leader of the English 2 Tone band (part of the U.K.’s late-’70s ska revival movement) lives in California now. And man, he has been having fun lately. It doesn’t matter who’s backing him, Wakeling brings the infectious ska dance party spirit of English Beat’s phenomenal three albums to life on stage. Compared to other ska bands from their era, English Beat dipped much more heavily into the New Wave realm and wrote some of the best pop songs of their time period. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Fri: $23/adv, $28/door; Sat: $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.
JOHN KAIZAN NEPTUNE
The Japanese end-blown wooden flute known as the shakuhachi possesses an instantly recognizable sound that evokes sylvan settings, wind-rustled leaves and timeless reveries. But in the hands of John Kaizan Neptune, the ancient instrument takes on countless new identities. Born in Oakland and now based in Japan, he’s become one of the world’s most respected shakuhachi practitioners, and for this Japanese Culture Fair of Santa Cruz fundraising concert he’s performing with a stellar cast of musical explorers similarly versed in Japanese traditional forms, jazz and improvised music. He’s joined by drummer Robert Belgrade, koto master Shirley Muramoto, Eien Hunter-Ishikawa on xylophone, and Kyle Abbott, an evangelical champion of the shamisen, a traditional Japanese three-string lute. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $20-$40. 427-2227.
Featuring nine musicians, it’s no wonder Chilean reggae artists Gondwana named their band after an ancient, pre-Pangea supercontinent. For almost 30 years, the group has embraced a strong path of peace and love, spreading the word of Jah through a mixture of Latin and reggae melodies. Not only will they get the crowd dancing, but their message of love is sure to fill plenty of hearts. MW
INFO: 9 pm. Moe’s Alley. 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.
IN THE QUEUE
Long-running Hawaiian fusion outfit. Wednesday at Kuumbwa
Atlanta-based rapper and head of Awful Records. Wednesday at Catalyst
ONE LANE BRIDGE
Acoustic trio comprising William Coulter, Aria DiSalvio and John Weed. Wednesday at Don Quixote’s
Guitar-based, experimental, improvisational, electronic project. Thursday at Crepe Place
MUSIC AND COMEDY
Standup comedy meets music with Richard Stockton, Cynthia Carle and Daniel Cainer. Sunday at Don Quixote’s