There was a time when African-American musicians didn't play much rock guitar. Sure, Robert Johnson paved the way with his devil blues, and Chuck Berry rocked us around the clock. Jimi Hendrix turned the world upside down with his gorgeous distortion and ferocious chops, and Funkadelic's Eddie Hazel spun our heads around. But black rock pretty much faded away in the 1980s. So much so that musician Vernon Reid cofounded something called the Black Rock Coalition to give black rock a boost. Reid's band, Living Colour, brought together hard rock, funk, jazz, and progressive rock in quite a package and sold more than 4 million albums. Reid has guested with folks such as Mick Jagger, the Ramones, B. B. King, Carlos Santana, and Public Enemy. Ask Reid his influences and he'll tell you the Sex Pistols, Ornette Coleman, King Crimson, Tool, Kool and the Gang, and the Flintstones. Tonight at Johnny D's, Reid brings that mind-set and his latest band, Masque, to the stage. (Bonus trivia: Most people think Reid comes from Brooklyn, N.Y., but he was actually born in the UK.) The show starts at 9 p.m. with Julien Kasper opening. Cover: $16.
17 Holland St., Somerville, 617-776-2004.