They started out in England in the early 1960s with several brief incarnations, including The Blue-Sounds. When that didn’t have much of a ring, they became the Yardbirds, named for those down-and-outs who hung around rail yards and glancingly for Charlie “Yardbird” Parker. Their hits-filled career was relatively brief, especially when it came to comparing them with other bands of the British Invasion, but their history is one of the richest in rock ’n’ roll.
Over the course of its history the band contained three of the Rolling Stone’s Top 10 guitarists of all time: Eric Clapton (No. 2), Jimmy Page (No. 3), and Jeff Beck (No. 5). Along the way, they also contributed guitar techniques (such as “fuzztone”) that have helped define the instrument.
Saturday night (Nov. 7) the current configuration of The Yardbirds comes to Harrah’s Tahoe. Their planned spring tour had to be postponed, but fall finds them in a few brief appearances. Yardbirds’ crowds seem genuinely excited to hear “For Your Love” (from the days before Clapton left because he felt the band had gone too commercial and away from its blues roots), “Over Under Sideways Down,” and “Heart Full of Soul (from the Beck tenure before he was ousted reportedly for being a no-show too often and being temperamental).
After a hiatus and several other attempts, original guitarist Jim McCarty (himself a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer) has held sway over a changing sea of players. The ones scheduled to perform Saturday are McCarty, bassist Kenny Aaronson, harpist/percussionist Mike Scavone, guitarist John Idan, and the newest member, just-added Boston guitarist Johnny A. (7:30 p.m.; $44; Ticketmaster)
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
As if that’s not enough guitar history for one weekend, William Awihilima Kahaiali’i – better known by the shorthand Willie K – is at Cache Creek. The Hawaiian legend has had considerable influence on a generation of players. He’s had no new albums since 2013’s “Twisted Ukulele,” but his live shows contain new touches. He moves from genre to genre effortlessly and smoothly, so expect blues, rock, smooth jazz, and, of course, some ukulele and slack key guitar. Sway one minute and rock the next. (8 p.m.; $35, $49; cachecreek.com)
Thunder in November is the annual benefit put on by the Placer 10-35 Foundation, which helps Placer County peace officers and their families in time of personal or professional tragedy. This year’s concert – the fourth of these fundraisers – focuses on country music and features Jackson Michelson, Stephanie Hogan, and Rob Carona on Saturday, Nov. 7, at Thunder Valley (7 p.m.; $20; thundervalleyresort.com)