I have this theory that people who sing together in bands end up sounding more like each other over time. In the case of Shook Twins, that was inevitable. The duo—identical twins Katelyn and Laurie Shook—has DNA on its side. And they use it to create some dreamy, gorgeous harmonies. It feels like an audio shower, drowning you in spine-tingling goosebumps. These days, the sisters play with a couple other members too, giving them a full string ensemble sound that harkens to Appalachian finger-plucking sound in an entirely modern, and dare I say, exciting, way. They share the bill with the Sam Chase & the Untraditional. AARON CARNES
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $10/adv, $14/door. 479-1854.
A supergroup of guitar slingers, Guitar Army sees blues rocker Robben Ford joining forces with country bluesman Lee Roy Parnell and Australian guitar virtuoso Joe Robinson for a night full of blistering fretwork and aisle-filling rock and grooves. For the trio’s upcoming show at the Rio Theatre, each artist will perform a 20-minute individual set, then the supergroup will fire up its engines as a six-piece for a 40-minute collaborative performance. The evening promises to be a celebration of guitar mastery and a showcase for three of the finest shredders around. CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $35/gen, $50/gold. 423-8209.
Ska-punk has been the bread and butter of these Solvang ska-punkers since the band’s formation in 1995, but their influences are wide reaching, and include reggae, Dixieland jazz, Latin music, hardcore and whatever other genres they feel like tossing in. The band’s last album, 2014’s Dirty Rice, continues the whirlwind of genre-mashing that the seven-piece has delighted in the past two decades, and the members sound like they’re having more fun than ever. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 429-4135.
THE SOUL REBELS FT. TALIB KWELI
Hailed as “the missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong,” eight-piece brass ensemble Soul Rebels Sound System has performed with a range of artists, from Marilyn Manson to Bruno Mars. The New Orleans-based collective will hit the road with Ms. Lauryn Hill after they finish touring with rapper and activist Talib Kweli. Live hip-hop backed by a brass band can’t help but breathe new life into the genre, giving shows a full sound and palpable energy that couldn’t be achieved otherwise; the Soul Rebels’ rendition of Kweli’s hit “Get By” gives the song the robust sound it deserves. Splitting the bill for the night is Oakland’s own innovative icon Del the Funky Homosapien, founder of hip-hop collective Hieroglyphics and lyricist for Afrofuturist collective Deltron 3030. KATIE SMALL
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 429-4135.
FRIDAY 9/23 & SATURDAY 9/24
SANTA CRUZ GUITARS 40TH ANNIVERSARY
In 1976, Richard Hoover and his two co-founders launched Santa Cruz Guitar Company, a boutique outfit dedicated to handcrafting the finest quality guitars, without compromise. Forty years later, Santa Cruz Guitar Company is world-renowned for its mastery of the craft. This weekend, the company celebrates its ruby anniversary with two nights of music: a local showcase at the Kuumbwa on Friday night, featuring Bill Coulter, Keith Greeninger, Sharon Allen and more, and an all-star tribute on Saturday at the Rio with Colin Hay, Don Edwards, Eric Skye and several others. CJ
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $15. 427-2227. 7 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $25. 423-8209.
A Bay Area supergroup that brings together a dazzling cast of players, Azesu draws on the musical abundance of Latin America filtered through a sensibility honed in jazz. At the forefront is the Venezuelan-born Bay Area vocalist María Márquez, who possesses a sensuous cello-like sound that’s as striking as it is instantly recognizable. She’s joined by Venezuelan percussionist Omar Ledezma Jr., reed master Sheldon Brown, pianist Jonathan Alford, drum maestro Alan Hall, and the band’s founder, Peruvian-born bassist David Pinto (former music director for Afro-Peruvian legend Susana Baca). With a repertoire that ranges from Peruvian festejo and Venezuelan merengue to Cuban boleros and Brazilian bossa nova, Azesu is a pan-American festival unto itself. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 8 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $20. 334-7044.
Caveman is most known for the song “In the City” thanks, in no small part, to actress Julia Stiles who starred in the video. It shows a couple enamored by the excitement of New York City, only to discover an unsettling darkness lurking underneath the surface. Caveman’s music is a perfect accompaniment: Simple, folk-rooted, but startlingly layered with haunting harmonies and chilling synths. It’s the kind of surreal song that, if you close your eyes, makes you feel like you’re floating in air. This subtle complexity mixed with pop hooks is all throughout the band’s catalog, particularly its later work. And the dystopian sci-fi themes are in no shortage. New album Otero War is packed with them. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 429-6994
Grammy-winning cumbia collective Grupo Fantasma formed in 2000 in Austin, Texas. The nine-piece funk orchestra’s incendiary live show, described by the Boston Phoenix as a “sprawling feast for the ears” has brought them to major festivals and venues internationally, including two tours to Kuwait and Iraq to entertain US troops. Bassist Greg Gonzalez told GT that their most memorable gigs were with Prince. In 2007, they opened for the late icon in London, to a crowd of 20,000. “We followed that up immediately with an all-night after-party/jam session show at the Indigo club with Prince and his band.” The collective’s pre-performance ritual involves tequila shots and warm-up stretches. “We’ve played at Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz before and we always enjoy it. The venue sounds great and is intimate, plus the audience is always receptive and full of beautiful people.” KS
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $17/adv, $20/door. 479-1854.
The Fruit Bats, one of the pioneering acts of the indie-folk genre, draw inspiration largely from 1970s radio rock. With catchy melodies, sing-along hooks and a summery, feel-good vibe, the band fits nicely between Fleetwood Mac, Supertramp and the Dead. Led by singer-songwriter/frontman Eric Johnson (former guitarist of the Shins), the Fruit Bats take well-crafted songs that stand nicely on their own and give them a more complex and layered sound in the studio. The band’s latest offering, Absolute Loser, is being touted as Johnson’s most honest and confessional album yet. CJ
INFO: 8 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $15. 335-2800.
IN THE QUEUE
PEOPLE’S BLUES OF RICHMOND
Psych-rock three-piece out of Richmond, Va. Wednesday at Catalyst
Bay Area classic country and rockabilly. Wednesday at Crepe Place
Former New Christy Minstrel and artist behind the hit song “Eve of Destruction.” Friday at Rio Theatre
EDGE OF THE WEST
Santa Cruz-based Americana jam band. Friday at Moe’s Alley
Indie singer-songwriter and former member of Kurt Vile’s band. Tuesday at Don Quixote’s