Tommy Castro and Coco Montoya have made their marks encasing their formidable blues chops in individual styles that embrace forms outside the traditional 12-bar. A frequent visitor to these parts, the San Jose-bred Castro coupled his early blues education with a study of the soulful regions charted by Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding. Proximity to the Bay Area proved beneficial for both pursuits and, bolstered by both monster guitar moves and frontman-grade vocals, Castro scored local legend status by the early ’90s. Since then, he’s released a dozen-plus albums on which his chops and pipes vie for attention with his and his partners’ extremely solid material. Painkiller (from 2007) and the new Hard Believer are must-haves. Since his 1995 solo debut, Gotta Mind to Travel, Albert Collins protégé and John Mayall alum Coco Montoya has amassed a respectable catalog of his own. Muscular, energized blues-rock fare is his calling card, marked by fiery, focused lead work, powerhouse vocals and an undeniable penchant for minor keys. With the possible exception of Robert Cray, no blues balladeer/guitar-slinger takes to the dark chords as consistently as Montoya. Last heard on Dirty Deal in 2007, his ’90s output is nicely sampled on the recently released The Essential Coco Montoya. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124, beachlandballroom.com). Tickets: $20 advance, $22 day of show. — Duane Verh
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