Regarded as Scotland’s foremost folk troubadour, Archie Fisher has been an ambassador for Celtic music for the last 40 years. With roots in the rich British folk scene that birthed the Incredible String Band, John Renbourn, Steeleye Span and more, Fisher is a quiet standout of the genre whose work celebrates the beauty of the Scottish border country. Fisher’s song “The Final Trawl,” has been covered by numerous artists, including the Clancy Brothers. His most recent album, A Silent Song, was his first offering since 2008’s Windward Away. CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $15/adv, $17/door. 335-2800.
INSPECTOR & CALIGARIS
Ska is huge in Mexico and South America. Seriously, bands there play to giant crowds. Not to mention, the music has seeped its way into the mainstream vocabulary. Most rock bands play a little bit of pop, ska, reggae and cumbia. For anyone interested in seeing a little slice of this subculture, two of the best bands, Mexico’s Inspector and Argentina’s Caligaris, are sharing a bill at Moe’s Alley on Thursday. It’ll be an exciting show, particularly because this is an intimate setting for these groups, and these bands are sure to cut loose. Speaking Spanish isn’t a prerequisite for dancing your ass off to these super fun grooves. AARON CARNES
INFO: 8 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.
Slightly Stoopid is a slightly stupid band name—luckily, the music is much better. The group was signed in the mid-’90s by Bradley Nowell of Sublime to his Skunk label. Certainly, Sublime was an influence on the band’s blend of reggae, rock, funk, dub, punk and hip-hop. But Slightly Stoopid took the music in its own direction, and became a big influence on the emerging fusion-rich Cali-reggae scene. The member’s hometown, San Diego, is a hot spot for cali-reggae—as is Santa Cruz. AC
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $31.94. 429-4135.
The Hot Toddies are Heidi, Erin and Sylvia, three best friends who have been playing music, drinking whiskey and writing songs together since 2005. The three women infuse their sunny brand of indie beach pop with high-pitched harmonies, a sense of humor, and guitar riffs reminiscent of early White Stripes. The Oakland-based trio’s lyrics represent a gender-role reversal; their female gaze reveals a feminine twist on teenage sexual angst. The lyrics for their song “Jaguar Love,” for instance, describe a young girl going on a joyride in an attempt to lose her virginity, and are delivered with so many sickly sweet shooby-doo-wops that you might miss the meaning. KS
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10/adv, $12/door. 429-6994.
John Mayall is a legend of British blues, a musical tradition a lot of American blues fans don’t entirely understand. It’s well known that his group the Bluesbreakers, which formed in the early ’60s, launched the careers of musicians like Eric Clapton, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, and countless others. But it’d be more accurate to say that Mayall actually created the entire blues scene in England—a lot of young British musicians loved old American blues records, but he showed them that they could create their own version of it. While many of his protégées went on to create an exciting revival of rock ’n’ roll in the mid-to-late ’60s, Mayall stuck close to a traditional blues sound. AC
INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $35. 423-8209.
Rapper Denzel Curry is also known by the stage names Aquarius Killa, Raven Miyagi, and his most recent title, the Black Metal Terrorist. He’s a self-made underground hip-hop artist of the digital age, who gained a rapid grassroots following online when he released his first album at age 16, after being expelled from an arts high school in South Florida. He self-released a second studio album, Imperial, in March, and the single “Ultimate” was featured in an Adidas commercial. Curry will be joined in the Catalyst Atrium by artists Boogie, Yoshi Thompkins, and Sadistik. KATIE SMALL
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $16/adv, $18/door. 429-4135.
Bay Area singer-songwriter Sean Hayes is more interested in substance than flash. This approach shines through in his honest storytelling and straightforward delivery both on stage and in the studio, where he prefers a documentary style of making records. As he told GT last year, a recording is “more a snapshot of what’s going on in my life” than something made to sound like a million dollars. With refreshing authenticity and openness, Hayes is one of the songwriting gems of the Bay Area and beyond. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.
A winsome jazz vocalist and accomplished pianist with superb taste and an impressive catalog of albums dating back to the early 1990s, Karrin Allyson is a beguiling performer with five Grammy nominations to her credit. With a new album of holiday tunes, Yuletide Hideaway, and a ravishing album of Rodgers and Hammerstein standards, Many a New Day (Motéma Music) featuring pianist Kenny Barron and bassist John Patitucci, she’s got plenty of recent material at her fingertips. For her Bay Area dates (she also plays Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society on Sunday) Allyson is joined by guitarist Rob Fleeman and Seattle bassist Jeff Johnson, a superb player known for his work with heavyweight pianists like Jessica Williams and Hal Galper. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $30/adv, $35/door. 427-2227.
IN THE QUEUE
Legendary reggae and dancehall artist. Wednesday at Moe’s Alley
BUTCH HANCOCK & RORY
Standout Americana singer-songwriter and his son. Thursday at Don Quixote’s
AMERICANA TRIPLE HEADER
Miss Lonely Hearts, McCoy Tyler & the Moonlighters, and the Naked Bootleggers. Friday at Moe’s Alley
California banjo celebration featuring Danny Barnes, Joe Newberry, Bill Evans and more. Friday at Kuumbwa
Renowned New Orleans trombonist and bandleader. Saturday at Catalyst