I promised more… Here’s The Hum Feb. 5-9 part two…
The activists at EPIC ask, “Love good music? Interested in local wood craftmanship?” You know I do. The Environmental Protection Information peeps have a benefit coming on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at the Arcata Playhouse, 7:30-10 p.m. with Axon Orchestra, a Django-inspired trio with FabriceMartinez on violin, DustyBrough on guitar, and MilesJay on stand-up bass.
I know Fabrice from Fishtank Ensemble, who I’ve heard at the Playhouse years ago (and loved). Also, “this event will also feature the release of a year-long project of two hand-crafted, horse drawn ‘gypsy wagons’ that will be rolled out for the first (and possibly only) time in Humboldt before they get shipped to Topanga Canyon.” I suspect Fabrice is pivotal in all of this, but I wonder how it happened without my hearing about the “project.” Show up early, 6:30-ish, for a pre-show soup/bread meal (sound like a Crib thing).
Whomp Wednesday has moved to the Miniplex, at least Feb. 5, this week with the “cyberdelic extra terrestrial music producer” Tripzy Leary from Vancouver, BC, “Morphing together psychedelic alien synesthesia with rich analogue bass frequencies that are spread across cyberspace…”
There’s also Minnesota at the ATL..
…and Pink Talking Fish at HumBrews, bands I talked about in the paper last week.
At HumBrews Thursday (2/6) they have That1Guy (aka Mike Silverman) on his Magic Pipe, a strange homemade contraption that started out as a double bass and mutated with various gadgetry. He also plays the Magic Boot and the Magic Saw, with more electro-magic. It’s hard to explain. Best to see him do his magic.
Also on Thursday, Elwood, a folk and soul musician from La Grande, OR, plays at Redwood Curtain Brewing Co. starting at 8 p.m.
The Thursday concert at the Old Steeple with iconic singer Iris DeMent and special guest Ana Egge is totally sold out, which is the case with a lot of the shows there.
Hawaiian slack key master Led Kaapana is there Saturday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m. There tickets available for that one.
This weekend plus: Feb. 6-9, at Blue Lake Casino, they have the 11th Annual Inked Hearts Tattoo Expo, where you can meet tattoo artists and watch them work, or get a tat yourself.
Somewhat unrelated, they have the “first ever” Sushi Eating Contest at Sushi Blue Saturday at noon. (Registration on Friday at noon.) “Contestants will be challenged to eat a large amount of sushi (some quite spicy) in the fastest amount of time,” (three minutes or less). The prize? More sushi (a gift certificate, so you can share) and 200 bucks.
Semi-related, music, music, music, with ace cover band The Undercovers on Thursday (playing well chosen covers), then on Friday, Bleach, “the Bay Area’s most authentic Nirvana tribute band, and Saturday, the SoCal beach/rock/reggae band, Safety Orange, who are slightly Sublime-ish.
Saturday, Feb. 8, the Miniplex rocks heavily with Big Business. “They play heavy rock. On that, we can all agree. Things get tricky when you try to classify exactly where on the musical spectrum the dynamic duo’s racket falls. ‘I guess psychedelic heavy metal punk rock? I don’t know,’” says drummer Coady Willis, formerly of Murder City Devils. As of press time the mandatory local openers is “TBA,” but I’d suggest White Manna. Ask Colin, he’ll know.
At the ATL Saturday, it’s a “Decades Dance Party” with Gabe Pressure, GMNIITE and Copperton3 spinning music from decades past (take your pick).
“Dust off those poodle skirts, flapper dresses, zoot suits, tweed pants, bell bottoms, jump suits, and come out to hear timeless hits remastered.” Plus at midnight, a special performance with pianist Bailee Barnett with the ATL Dance Team. (Yes, they’re back.)
At HumBrews, same Saturday, MONEY, Humboldt’s own “homegrown Pink Floyd tribute, is planning on doing the full Animals album, with lights and projections by Shawn Lei.
Sunday I’ll be watching the Oscars with friends, but there are big parties in several places that show movies: the Minor and the Miniplex in Arcata, and the Eureka Theatre in Eureka where Absynth will be performing, maybe in tuxedos. Dress up for the Red Carpet, talk about films you maybe saw on tv. Whatever.
If your not going to watch the Oscars, up at the Van Duzer Sunday CenterArts has the Hot Rats Live! World TourPlus Other Hot Stuff 1969 flash from the past with Dweezil Zappa and company playing masterworks by Frank. Kevin will be there. (He may even be writing something. No one tells me what’s going on.)
What’s Cookin’? plus reggae for Bob, a benefit for the Playhouse “and more”
If you’ve been following the Hum for awhile, either since a quarter of a century back when it started, or lately, well, lately I’ve been nostalgic about the good ol’ days. I haven’t talked much about the real beginning of my writing career, such as it is. I was a Humboldt grad, but never a journalism student.
I was earning a living cooking, when a late reentry college student, a guy named Guy Cross, started a monthly entertainment newspaper called Edge City.
He knew me as the chef at the Silver Lining…
(We once did a cooking video together)
…and he knew I liked music “and more,” so he asked me to write for the fledgling paper about whatever I was interested in.
One of my early assignments was to go to a local reggae concert. The 2nd annual BobMarleyFestival at the Eureka Muni had Aswad, JudyMowatt and a fine Humboldt band, Rod Deal and the I-Deals, all brought together by the late Queen of Humboldt reggae, Carol Bruno. The show was in February in celebration of Bob’s birthday, Feb. 6, always a good time to hear reggae.
This year on Thursday, Feb. 6, which would have been Bob’s 75th birthday, El Gee and Booty Shakin Productions offer “A Celebration of Bob Marley’s Life” at the Arcata Theatre Lounge featuring Tarrus Riley, Dean Fraser and The Black Soil Band and a special Bob Marley Tribute set featuring our own Ishi Dube, Madi Simmons and Vidagua (with Madi’s daughter, Lorenza)and DJSarge OneWise.
Headliner Tarrus Riley is a top flight reggae singer/chanter, and saxophonist Dean Frazer’s bands are always tight as a drum.
The reason that festival in the early ’90s came to mind was not because of Jamaica, but because of the late Rod Deal, who wrote timely anthems about what was happening in SoHum, like “2,000,000 Acres,” about the fight against the destruction of the redwood forest, and “Helicopters,” about the CAMP days when the government was raiding farms in the woods. He sang, “Helicopters are causing us to be afraid for life. Helicopters, one or two are always in sight. Helicopters, they’re violating our constitutional rights.”
A few years back Ishi, a Humboldt homegrown guy who was raised in SoHum, pulled that song out of the past for a remix, renaming it “Choppers,” and reminding us of a time when the herb was totally black market, before it was rebranded as cannabis, when the War on Drugs was fought by people on both sides wearing camo as more than a fashion statement. I’ll be surprised if Ishi doesn’t play that anthem on Bob’s day.
BTW, in advance of the big show, Tarrus Riley will be in town for a meet and greet Wednesday (2/5) from 5-7 p.m. at Proper Wellness Center in Eureka at 517 5th St. Can you guess what they sell there to help you to get well? (Yes, they also deliver.)
Another flashback from my personal past came in an email inviting me to an Arcata Playhouse benefit dance party coming up Saturday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. with Home Cookin’. I hope I don’t have to tell you too much about all the good things happening at the Playhouse, where in addition to a great variety of music shows, they host “theatre by all ages, for all types,” and “and more” like oversized puppets, an Artists in the School program, their teen program Apprentice Entertainment, etc.
Haley Davis, the new Playhouse publicist noted, Home Cookin’ is “composed of legendary local musical veterans, Joyce Hough, Gary Davidson, Fred Neighbor and Mike LaBolle serving up savory musical entrees with a saucy backbeat.” (A food reference is mandatory.)
For me, to start with, I’d probably put Fred second on the list, since he’s married to Joyce, and they’ve been in bands together for around 50 years. I’ve been dancing to their music for decades. In a way, they were also instrumental in the founding of the Hum.
In 1993, Edge City had changed hands and I was writing for a younger editor, Chris Lauer. I had shifted my work at the monthly to interviews with big name artists who were coming to town, everyone from Jimmy Cliff and MickeyHart to RayManzarek and MichaelMcClure. I pitched a local story about an anniversary show at the Jambalaya — the club was marking 20 years since it was founded by Fred and Joyce, who took over the bar formerly known as Dan and Jerry’s at a time when they were the house band, Freddy and the Starliners.
They weren’t really cut out to be club owners, a hard, mostly thankless job (just ask Pete Ciotti, who just sold the same club), but their various bands still played there.
Anyway, Chris wasn’t interested in an interview with a local band, so I shopped the idea around. Jack Durham, then the B-section editor for the Arcata Union liked my idea. (BTW, Jack is now the publisher/editor of the Mad River Union.) That was one of the first pieces I did for a paper other than Edge City. Ultimately, it led to my longstanding Hum column, which started in the original Union.
Bouncing back to the times when Fred and Joyce owned the Jam, they eventually sold it to Andrew Cairns, who then sold the club to their friend Chloe Damus and a couple of others. It was a golden time for the Jambalaya culturally with musicians like Elizabeth Cotton, Etta James, Robert Cray and The Meters gracing the small stage, and too many local folks to mention, along with poets reading their work.
A friend and Westhaven neighbor of mine, Dixie Gorrel, started serving home-cooked meals at the Jam Fridays. The dinners became popular enough that it led to her starting a full scale restaurant in Westhaven, calling in Larrupin. The rest is more Humboldt history.
I mention this for a couple of reasons: First, the Jam is scheduled to reopen under new ownership in mid-February. (You probably read about it in the Union last week.) Second, another old friend of mine, Darcey Lima, who worked with me at the Silver Lining, has been doing something along the lines of what Dixie did years ago, but at the Logger Bar in sunny Blue Lake.
Darcey’s Dinner runs from 5-7 p.m. the first and third Friday of every month, with occasionally an extra bonus. There’s a meal Feb. 7, (The Stallions plays songs by Ween after at 9 p.m.), then there’s Darcey’s Special Valentine’s Day Dinner Feb. 14. Date night? That night, Eyes Anonymous plays “cheesy love songs and songs about break-ups.” Sounds romantic, right?
A little more reminiscing about the early days of the Hum, 25+ years ago: One of things I wrote about was a one-man-show called Writing My Way Out of Adolescence by my old friend, Jeff DeMark. The first in a long line of stories “and more” from the Blue Lake raconteur. He’s still doing the same sort of thing, only different. He dropped me a email recently saying:
“I’m doing a show at the Westhaven Center on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m. The band is Inscrutable Rabbit and includes my [twin] brother Paul and John Dillon on guitar. John gigged in bands in the Bay Area for many years: funk, pop, jazz, etc. He moved up here maybe 18 months ago. He is the brother of Amy Dillon, who is married to artist Jack Sewell of the old Sewell Art Gallery. Tim Breed will also be playing with us. He is currently the drummer in the [Trinidad country western band] Tidepool High Divers and led the Psychedelvis Band,” who mixed Elvis tunes with Bowie covers, to interesting effect. “We will be doing almost exclusively original songs, a bunch of mine, others by Tim and John. And I’ll be performing a couple of stories and maybe a poem or two, also.
“One of the stories is about Doug Sahm. Maybe you know this, but I got to know him at Slim’s [Boz Scaggs old nightclub] in SF, and he started coming up here, going to Crab’s games and hanging out semi-regularly. He died of a heart attack at age 58, 20 years ago this past November, and I want to pay tribute to him.
“The other story is called ‘PickleAnarchist,’ about working at McDonald’s. I wrote it for the Dell’Arte ‘Stories in the Tent’ event and they performed it with Jeff Kelley telling the tale. I’ve only done it once, so it’s very fresh.
I asked about the band’s name
“The Rabbit is a small sculpture I bought at a New Orleans flea market on Frenchman Street a few years ago. I liked the look of him and the title, “Don’t Underestimate Me”, made it imperative to buy it. So many people feel underestimated and the Rabbit is there for people. I call him Inscrutable because if you look at his face it’s an inscrutable gaze.
These lyrics from the Rabbit say it all:
“The Rabbit is a freedom fighter
puncturing inflated balloons
filled with ego gas
nobody needs that crap. Nobody knows what they’re doing
even if they act like they do
they’re just as confused as you
so just keep going.”
“So that’s the scoop. Any publicity will be much appreciated. Thanks, Jeff.”
I wrote what amounts to another column about the rest of stuff going on around the north county area, but I guessing Jack will balk at the amount of ink and paper required to put it in the paper. Plus, we haven’t really figured out how AB-5 is going to effect my work, ‘cause freelancers like me are in the crosshairs, but that’s a rant for another column. (See part 2.)
As July inches toward August, and the peaches are ripe, and the college students start trickling back into town, it seems like as good time as any for a festival of one sort or another. And there are a bunch of them, perhaps too many in fact.
Let’s start with something I’m moderately involved in, something called a “FleART Market” in the Creamery District. “Join local vendors on Sunday, July 28th 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for a special day of not just any old flea or art market, but a flea AND art market, where art, weird stuff, and cool junk is itching to be sold.”
I actually bought an EZ-Up a few years ago for a similar Creamery event where I turned it into a makeshift photo studio. This time I think I’ll do 3D portraits this time. And I have too much stuff in my life, especially CDs, so I’ll have some of those.
Expect “traditional booths,” and a “brand-new innovative idea, the Express Fifteen Aisle,” with sellers offering 15 items or less (like in the grocery store).
They promise “musical minglings” by Space Socks and The Blue Lake Choir (both involving Arcata Playhouse founder Jackie Dandeneau), and Humboldt Drummers with Jesse J (as in Jonathan), who is fresh from a summer Humboldt Drum Camp. Also the Pubis finally open so you can check out their new space, and their wood-fired pizzas, pub fare and local beer.
Along with stacks of CDs, you’ll be able to listen to Foot Fall, a collection of ambient music pieces created by Timmy Gray for a Creamery Festival in 2013. The work is a sonic “soundscape” of the Creamery and thereabouts, intended to be put on your portable music player so you can listen while you walk around the space that inspired it. It’s very cool, like its creator. Downloads available free of charge.
Also Sunday, July 28, the 59th annual Westhaven Wild Blackberry Festival. Yes, the 59th. Let that sink in. It’s a firefighter benefit, for the Westhaven Volunteer Fire Dept. held at the Westhaven Fire Hall and “proudly sponsored” by the Westhaven Ladies Club, from 10 a.m, ’til 4 p.m. Traditionally the “ladies” bake a bunch of homemade pies (they warn, “hurry because they sell out quick”) along with berry jams. There’s bbq, and kids stuff including fire trucks and Smokey the Bear, plus “artisan vendors” and music by The Sand Fleas (10 a.m.), Moonstone Heights, That Buckin’ String Band and Rinky Dink String Band “in that order.”
The ongoing EurekaSummerConcerts (6-8 p.m. at the foot of C St.) continue Thursday, July 25, with the Johnny Young Band, a “rockin’ country” band (or a “country hits” band depending on who you ask).
Aug 1 (again a Thursday) catch hot Cajun fiddler Tom Rigney and his band, always popular at the Redwood Coast Music Festival.
Friday, July 26, the Miniplex has Pieces, a duo collaboration that Hudson Glover explains, “toys with the boundaries of noise, dance, pop, psychedelia, and digital glitch. Rose Cherami and IDHAZ rarely have the time to leave the Bay, but we are lucky to have them up here. They will both be be doing solo sets and will then perform together so you can get the full taste of what their label/collective True Indigo has to offer.”
Hudson goes on to note, “Local support will be coming from Comma Comma,” of which Mr. Glover is a member. “Alex (upright), Henri (sax), and I (synth/rhodes) will be debuting two compositions that we’ve been working on for several months inspired by late ’60s minimalism and space music with liberal use of polymeter and key changes.” Sounds good to me.
The 30th annual Roll on the Mattole runs noon to midnight Saturday, July 27, out in Petrolia at the Mattole Grange, a fundraiser for the Honeydew Volunteer Fire Company. There’s a “Firefighters Challenge” VFD muster (hose contests), things to eat and drink, crafty booths and music, music, music…
With IshiDube and the Tuff Riddim Band (reggae), Rosewater (jazzy Dead tribute), Black Sage Runners (rock a la Cream etc.) The Bandage (alt. something), and locals, Mattole Muddstompers, Potholes 3 and Bodhimind (you’ll have to fill in genres). “Please no dogs, no glass containers, and no overnight camping at the Grange.”
Eureka declares Saturday “Get Out and Play Day 2019 on July 27” (#gopd2019 *for Jada who doesn’t care for #hashtags). There’s playful stuff all over town, but Sequoia Park seems to be a focal point with Blue Rhythm Revueproviding a soundtrack followed by a movie/cartoon at 8:30 p.m. Spiderman into the Spider-Verse.
Local rock and/or roll band, Wild Otis, hits Redwood Curtain Brewing Co. Saturday (again 7/27) starting at 8 p.m. That’s Norman Bradford and Rick DeVol on guitar & vocals (both from Dead On), with bassist Dan Davis and drummer Jimmy Moore as rhythm section.
At Blondie’s, touring Zen Mountain Poets are joined by locals band LodeStar, with Goodshield Aguilar and Linda Faye Carson. (Linda also hosts CampChair Concerts at noon Sundays at the foot of F St. in Eureka. BYO chair.)
Zen Mountain Poets are a “psychedelic neo-prog folk jazz” combo from San Luis Obispo County referencing Ram Das saying they’re “who’s here now and who hears now… a gathering of musicians, poets, artists, dreamers, manifesters, dedicated to expressing heartfelt original songs that take our audiences on journeys.”
LodeStar played with unrelenting passion at the recent Humboldt Folklife Festival, moving from the Street Stage last year (shown above) to rock the Main Stage. You get the picture (now). LodeStar @ 8 p.m. Saturday with Poets @ 9:30.
You are officially invited to “join Soul Party regulars DJ Red, #JAYMORG, and Funky T-Rex for another record slinging session at Humbrews Saturday (7/27) starting at 9 p.m. This time it’s a “summer, summer, summer time party!” whatever that means. As always, “still a 100% vinyl affair.”
The Trinity Alps Chamber Music Festival comes to the Morris Graves Museum of Art, Sunday, July 28, at 2 p.m. with Mendelssohn, Schubert and more modern classical pieces. If you’re out East, they’re also at the Hyampom Community Hall Friday, and at the Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center in Weaverville on Saturday.
A little later Sunday at the D Street Neighborhood Center, the All Seasons Orchestra plays classics for its annual Summer Concert (’tis the season). They note, “ASO welcomes players of all ages. If you play a musical instrument and love to make beautiful music, [this] is your opportunity to participate in a community orchestra.” They rehearse Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.
Experience psyche music of varying shades at the Miniplex, Monday, July 29 (8 p.m.) The bill is topped by JJUUJJUU, “a rotating ensemble of domestic & international collaborators, wrangled by Los Angeles-based musician, Phil Pirrone and collaborator Andrew Clinco (aka Drab Majesty mastermind Deb Demure)” of Desert Daze festivals fame.
Local support comes from “space-rock cosmonauts” White Manna, whose Cardinal Fuzz album, Ape on Sunday,’ was recorded in Freshwater. I picked up a copy of the vinyl edition, but couldn’t get them to cut loose with one of the purple vinyl special edition, which is now sold out, as well as the CD version. I think you can get a copy of the record at the show, or download it on Bandcamp.
Once again the Manna boys are paired with Opossum Sun Trail. “This is 21st century Cosmic American Music,” according to a Savage Henry review, with “hints of twisted Ennio Morricone, the sound of a spaghetti sauce stain on a Nudie-esque cowboy shirt.” How does a dirty shirt make noise? You’ll have to ask the Savage who wrote that. (Me.)
That’s all for now, see you at the FleART Market for festive fun.
Mojave Green and Lone Star Junction, “two of the most kick-ass Humboldt bands around” offer “an evening of rockin’ Outlaw Country covers and originals that are sure to supply the necessary soundtrack to your beer drinking Thursday night,” June 13, at The Jam (for a change).
The Eureka Summer Concerts Series celebrates a 22nd season of free shows Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. at Madaket Plaza @ the foot of ‘C’ St. in Eureka.
Starting June 13 with R&B by Fargo Brothers, then June 20 reggae with Irie Rockers. (BTW, they killed opening for Mykal Rose the other day.) Lots more to come in the series, including more “tributes.”
June 27 Nate Botsford (Crossover Country)
July 4 Clean Sweep (R&B/Funk)
July 11 Britnee Kellog (Hot Country)
July 18 Journey Revisited (Journey Tribute Band)
July 25 Johnny Young Band (Favorite Country Hits)
Aug 1 Tom Rigney (Cajun/Zydeco)
Aug 8 Big City Swing Committee (Retro Swing)
Aug 15 Heartless (Heart Tribute Band)
In McKinleyville that same Thursday evening (6/13), it’s the other Chamber Mixer, this one for the Humboldt County Cannabis Chamber of Commerce. Bring your business card, buy some raffle tickets at Satori Wellness. You don’t need to be a member to attend, alternating between NoHum and SoHum.
Friday, June 14 is an Arts! Arcata night.
Friday (7 p.m.) Northtown Books welcomes Jacqueline Suskin to read from her new poetry book, The Edge of the Continent Volume Two – The City. You may recall in Vol. 1, she wrote of Humboldt and thereabouts as she sold freeform work at the Poem Store at the Farmer’s Market and elsewhere.
The further adventures find her heading south, a “move through the struggle of finding beauty, purpose, and joy in urbanity, and in doing so discover the infinite inspiration that exists in a place as unique as Los Angeles.”
Now she says, “Humboldt here I come! Heading north to Arcata for some river time and a few special book events: Friday the 14th reading at 7pm @northtownbooks and Sunday the 16th 5-7pm @creative.sanctuary for a writing workshop and potluck celebration to follow! Can’t wait to see all of my forest folks!”
Rancher Rick Levin sez, “Wow…..what a week of heat! But the weather is cooling and that’s gonna make a beautiful evening for Cadillac Ranch Under the Stars out in Blue Lake on Friday, June 14th at The Mad River Brewery from 6:00 – 8:30. Y’all Come!”
Returning to O-Day Saturday, The Basement has PD3 (L to R: Fred on guitar & Junior on bass plus Paul DeMark on drums).
Saturday evening (6/15), it’s the first Outer Space outdoors “Forest Show” of the season. “Meet in the big grass field at Redwood Park at 5:30 p.m. The walking audience takes off at 6” to hear Mash YellowBird, Blood Hunny, Cornbread Willie “and more!” The O-Space folks ask, “Please respect the forest! This show is a safer space for all creatures big and small, animals and plants alike.” Email email@example.com with any questions.
Mazzotti’s on the Plaza has smokin’ reggae on that night by the “legendary” Warrior King and The Rootz Warriors from Jamaica on their “Nuf Fraid Tour.” It’s a 21+ show, doors at 9:30 p.m. hosted in partnership with Proper Wellness Center, a medical cannabis dispensary in Eureka.
Same Saturday at the Blue Lake Casino presents Cherry Poppin’ Daddies in the Sapphire Palace. Remember “Zoot Suit Riot” from 1997, a song that helped kick off the neo-swing movement? Frontman Steve Perry is still at it.
Last year the Eugene-based band released Bigger Life, which Perry says has, “songs that will allow us to touch base with our punk/ska audience [as we] continue to play the all swing, classy theater type shows that are our bread and butter.” So, neo-swing/ska/punk? Why not?
Sunday, June 16, at 3 p.m. at Graves Museum, catch “For the Love of Cohen: Leonard Cohen Tribute Concert,” an intimate afternoon of classic songs by one of my favorite songwriters. Laura Hennings and Patti Hecht aka Gin & Laura are joined by Jerryl Lynn Rubin (piano), Matt Wardynski (clarinet), Randy Carrico (bass) and Jonathan Claasen (drums) for songs they love. “Hallelujah!”
It’s golden. Last weekend it was the 50th anniversary of the Kinetic Sculpture Race and there was much gold to be found. (Somehow this was the second Golden Anniversary Race, and K-Universe explained that, but I didn’t buy it.)
Kinetic time is over for this year, but there’s plenty of other stuff going on this weekend, stuff I’ll miss since I’m heading to my hometown, Walnut Creek, to party with other members of the Las Lomas High School Class of ’69. Yes, it’s our golden anniversary class reunion.
Friday, May 31, while I’m off having dinner and taking pics of my old classmates, there’s a Humboldt Folklife Society BarnDance at the Arcata Vet’s Hall with the usual suspects involved — The Striped Pig String Band and caller Lyndsey Battle — with a very special guest caller Nigella Baur, who happens to be graduating from high school. Supervisor Mike Wilson’s daughter Nigella (who I know as Ella) has been calling squares for awhile (she also plays in a rock band, Petty Education). The Folklifers invite you to “come celebrate spring and the end of school,” (and Ella’s acceptance at UC Berkeley). Doors at 6:30 p.m. with instructed dancing from 7-10 p.m. “No experience or partner needed, and all ages welcome.”
Friday is also Art Night Kick-off day for the 21st annual North Coast Open Studios. The semi-countywide event was started in 1999 by local artists Sasha Pepper and Susan Fox “to create an opportunity for visitors to view art, talk with the artists, explore the creative process, and expand their art collections.”
The main OS tour days are this Saturday and Sunday and next (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 1 & 2 and 8 & 9), but a bunch of eager artists are open an extra evening from 6-9 p.m. A schedule of Friday night-specific artists is available in the info packed NCOS guidebook (with maps), also online at www.northcoastopenstudios.com.
With Humboldt’s rep for colliding events, is should also be noted that NCOS Art Night overlaps with Trinidad Art Nights, also running from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, June 1, with galleries open, the Circus of the Elements fire show…
music by Jesse Jonathan’s kids’ Blue Dragon Steel Band and others, and only a couple of NCOS artists.
When you look at that map of artists, you may wonder why there’s no one from SoHum listed. Years ago, when they expanded to two weekends, I warned them that all the artists from South County set aside the first weekend in June for the annualSummer Arts & Music Festival put on by the Mateel Community Center. It’s in the 43rd year this year June 1-2 at Benbow State Recreation Area along the “majestic” Eel River, south of Garberville.
The fest features more than 150 craft, food and non-profit booths, with over 70 performances on four stages with the focus on local bands, dance troupes, DJs and kids stuff. The non-local headliner on Saturday is reggae/world beat chanter/activist Nattali Rize on her Ever Rising Tour. Sunday it’s three SoCal Sublime-influenced bands touring together: Tomorrows Bad Seeds, The Aggrolites and Long Beach Dub Allstars, a band that’s about as Sublime as you can get, while no longer including any members of the original trio.
Looking for your Dead fix? Sunday at 1:15 p.m. it’s “a SAMF exclusive,” US Blues with “an all star cast of Humboldt County musicians” paying tribute to the “Pigpen era” of Grateful history. That’s Andy B from Cold Blue Water and Piet Dalmolen from Money, Full Moon Fever, etc. on guitars and vocals (FMF plays Friday, 5/31 at the Wave). There’s Norman Bradford from Wild Otis on bass, Object Heavy’s B Swizlo on keys, and Alex Litzinger from Miracle Show on drums.
I wish I was there to reminisce about that time the Dead played at Las Lomas High (with Pigpen), but my old radio buddy Gregg McVicar is putting together a ‘60s mix for the party, something he does daily for “UnderCurrents,” a nationally syndicated public radio feed. It used to be broadcast on KHSU right after Gus Mozart’s “Music Box,” but I’m not sure if it’s still on or what the deal is now (or what the future holds for our beloved station).
Speaking of tribute bands, Night Moves: Tribute to Bob Seger & Creedence Clearwater Revival plays at Wave Lounge (@ Blue Lake Casino) on Saturday, June 1. The 6-piece band is basically a twofer adding CCR tunes to The Silver Bullet Band songbook. Of course Credence was a local fave when I graduated from Las Lomas, coming from elsewhere in Contra Costa County (El Cerrito) and peaking in 1969 with their big hit, “Proud Mary.”
Thursday, May 30, at Siren’s Song, sort of along the same lines (but without covers), The Blank Tapes, which is the nom de band of L.A.-based multi-instrumentalist, MattAdams, who “has produced over a dozen albums of ‘60s inspired folk-rock-surf-psych-soul-pop” for various labels, including the latest, Candy. Also on the bill, TERMINATor “total babes” from Seattle with a new EP, Visual, and for local support, Mojave Green described as “Eureka Spaghetti Western Americana Rock-N-Rollers who always put on a great show!!” (I concur.)
Arcata’s Mazzotti’s has started doing shows, mostly reggae, like Jesse Royal who plays Monday, June 3. He’s a Jamaican up-and-coming singjay, whose debut album, Lily Of Da Valley, came out on the New York-based label Easy Star Records, best known for Dub Side of the Moon (reggaefied P-Floyd covers).
More reggae Wednesday, June 5, at Humbrews when “legends will be in the building,” specifically TheMykal Rose + Sly & RobbieSummer Groove Tour with an emphasis on the Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner era of Black Uhuru. Who is coming over? Natty Dreadlocks. “Oh I can see you brought some herb for me, Natty Dreadlocks.” Locals Stevie Culture and DJ Tanasa Ras open the show.
Before we leave reggae, let’s talk Reggae on the River for a minute. Several headliners were announced last week and instantly caused a stir. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley is at the top of the bill, not surprising since he and his partners bought a controlling share in High Times, who started putting on RotR last year.
“It is now an honor to be a part of the High Times legacy that I’ve been a fan of for so many years,” said Jr. Gong in an official statement.
Toots and the Maytals are naturals having played RotR many times. (Toots was one of the first to use that word on a song, “Do the Reggay,” a single that was a hit in 1968 (when I was a junior).
Then there was Sizzla, who can’t seem to shake his history of homophobia. Protests were lodged immediately (his scheduled Mateel show was cancelled last year) and just as quickly he was kicked off the Reggae bill. High Times apologized saying, “We were not aware of his history (candidly I don’t know the artist) but as soon as we were alerted to his unfortunate past we immediately pulled the plug. Sorry…” Never mind.
Tourettes Without Regrets: Humboldt! Is coming Saturday, June 8 to the Arcata Playhouse offering, “A night of dirty haikus, rap battles, wild aerialists, burlesque, comedy and much more,” according to SF Weekly. Main man slam poet Jamie DeWolf is a former local (“born and raised in Humboldt”) who brings a troupe up from the Bay Area for multifaceted fun including an Open Freestyle Rap Battle with a $100 cash prize and an Open Poetry Slam with another cash prize. Expect circus acts, kinky mayhem, “and MORE!”
It’s a busy weekend at the Playhouse with another show Sunday, June 9, featuring San Francisco-based Supermule, a collective of disparate players exploring traditional American music on banjo, guitar and fiddle, plus and keyboards, with former local Mike Emerson tickling the keys.
You probably know Mac’s face, although you may not know who he is. You’ve undoubtedly seen an ad for his upcoming concert since there’s a larger-than-life photo of him on a billboard along the northbound 101 safety corridor outside of Eureka. It shows Mac Demarco, a 20-something dude in a hoodie with a gap-toothed grin, and tells us he has a show in the Sapphire Palace at the Blue Lake Casino on Wednesday, May 15.
Mac popped up in my Facebook feed last week, a post from Happy, an Australian music mag I follow, with a link to his latest YouTubeage. They explain, “Mac DeMarco has shared a new video for [the song] ‘On The Square,’ the latest taste from his upcoming album Here Comes The Cowboy. We’re not sure what on earth’s going on in this video, but it’s great.”
As noted in a company bio, “Panache has existed as many different entities in the music industry since then. We originated as a music zine, born out of the pure love of discovering bands that both inspired and shook your soul. Eventually Panache evolved into a North American booking agency when we started organizing tours for bands nationwide.
After existing as an agency for over a decade, Panache expanded into music management to help our uniquely talented artists find the guidance they needed to develop their art into sustainable, healthy, long-lasting careers.”
They’ve been handling the successful Ty Segall since in 2012; Mac DeMarco joined their roster in 2013.
There’s much more to Michelle’s story, a move to NYC, a bad van crash, recovery, etc. before eventually coming home to California. Panache today is described as “a collective of independent minded music lovers who pride ourselves in thinking outside the box [as they] bridge the gap between DIY culture and commercial success while always keeping the artist’s best interest and integrity to heart.”
Mac and Panache‘s Michelle are truly DIY personified.
I’m sure this will be a cool show. The opening act was supposed to be Instagram phenom Melanie Faye who loves guitars, Jimi and rainbows. However, Mac and co. report, “Some sad news – unfortunately, Melanie Faye can’t join Mac on tour this May… (but you can see what you missed)
“However, [Aussie pop singer] Holiday Sidewinder will join for all of Melanie’s dates (except Seattle)!
Check out the updated tour poster above made by the talented Robert Beatty. Doors @ 8 p.m. Showtime @ 9. Ages 16+ and they note, no chairs, “standing room only.”
Blue Ox Historic Village’s 16th annual May Day Artisan Faire is coming up over Mother’s Day weekend, May 11 and 12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the foot of X Street in Eureka. Michael and Monica tell you all about it…
The event features live music, storytellers, local food and libations, a kids zone, and more. Saturday includes live music from Dale Winget…
Blue Ox Village is a Historic Park and Millworks that’s been a pride of Humboldt County for 45 years. Blacksmithing, pottery, fiber arts, woodworking, and much more happen at the Blue Ox, and May Day is the public’s chance to check it all out, and maybe even sign up for a discounted day-of workshop during the event.
This 2019 event is the second year organized by Dayl Hollenbeck, daughter of Blue Ox founders Eric and Viviana. “Growing up in this community, I got to experience first hand what a unique and magical area this place can truly be,” says Hollenbeck. “The May Day Artisan Faire is just one way we at the Blue Ox Village try to support our community and all the talented artists and craftspeople in the area.”
“If you have ever been interested in trying one of our workshops,” Hollenbeck adds, “now is the perfect time to come out, get your hands a little dirty, and celebrate Mother’s Day and welcome in spring!”
For more information on the May Day Artisan Faire, visit www.theblueox.org or follow Blue Ox Historic Village on Facebook.
As you may or may not remember, 29 years ago the Redwood Coast Music Festivalwas known as the Redwood Coast Dixieland Jazz Festival. The transition happened slowly, first by adding what was considered “alternative” bands to an all traditional jazz lineup. A couple of other things happened when Deborah Lazio was handling booking. (I have to admit, I don’t remember the exact sequence.)
Big name non-jazz acts were hired as headliners, and a spin-off outdoor blues fest, Blues by the Bay, was added for Labor Day weekend.
While BbtB was popular, especially with the baby boomer demographic, it lost money, and was discontinued a few years ago. (Acres of Blues is trying keep that spirit going at Redwood Acres, but that’s a story for another day.)
While there’s still an audience for Dixieland, its old fans are dying off, and the fest had added more pure swing, zydeco and R&B acts, basically all sorts of acts, like at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. At some point “Dixie” was dropped and for a few years it was known as the Redwood Coast Jazz Festival. In 2014, “jazz” was dropped from the name, as blues became important to the lineup and Western Swing was added. Redwood Coast “Music” Festival was born.
At this point it seems like the RCMF has completely merged with Blues by the Bay. The big name acts come from the blues world and you can go to the fest and hear no “jazz” at all, if that’s what you want to do. Really, with music in six venues, there’s too much to choose from.
My blues loving friend deejay Good Rockin’ Derral Campbell is afraid he’ll have a heart attack from a blues overdose. “Oh geez this lineup is stuffed with virtuosity and fun. It’s gonna be time for some very tough calls. Little Charlie’s gonna be wearing at least three hats 1) the Charlie Christian thing Saturday at 3 (Sat. at the Sequoia Center); 2) Two nights of performing with Carl Sonny Leyland… fascinates me with the prospects for high humor and hijinks (Fri./Sat. @ the Muni); and 3) A reunion w/ Rick Estrin and the Nightcats. Charlie and Kid Andersen at the SAME time? (Sat. 9-ish at the Muni) You know, all my college roommate buddies have had heart attacks now, and I know I’m playing on house money myself. And I may be pushing my luck this Friday night. I’m not excited though.”
Here’s what Little Charlie Baty, has planned, he’s the former leader of the Nightcats and will play with Rick Estrin and his former bandmates, as well as with Carl Sonny Leyland and others… well, I’ll let him take over.
“One of my big moments is rapidly approaching,” says Charlie. “It might be my biggest moment – you never know. This weekend I will be appearing as a Special Guest or Guest of Honor or a title with some sort of honorific attached to it at the Redwood Coast Music Festival in Eureka CA.
“My work starts on Friday. I will perform with the legendary pianist/vocalistCarl Sonny Leyland and his combo, during a set of blues and swing. Then I will rest for a few minutes and then reunite with Rick Estrin and the Nightcats for a brief spell. If all of that excitement doesn’t kill me, I’ll return the next day to perform a special Tribute to Charlie Christian set with a hand-picked combo of 7 or 8 people – drummer Jeff Hamilton, bassist Sam Rocha, trumpet player Marc Caparone are just some of the players and we will also be joined by vocalist Dawn Lambeth. Then another set or two with Sonny Leyland. I get tired just typing about it.
“There will be so much talent at this festival. Curtis Salgado will be there. My friend Geoff Miller and the Twilight Drifters will be playing. Pianist John Cocuzzi will be swinging until the girls come home. It is such a fun festival – traditional jazz, blues, rockabilly, swing, and probably all sorts of other music that I’m not up on. Over 200 musicians will be performing. I’ll get a chance to play with some of the most talented swing and trad cats out there. Plus I’ll get a chance to ham it up with Rick Estrin and Kid Andersen again, listen to Lorenzo Farrell’s soulful organ playing, and enjoy the steady pocket of Alexander Pettersen.
“Then there’s trying to keep up with Sonny Leyland. What a talented soul and just a plain nice guy he is! I love the way Dawn Lambeth sings – a beautiful voice without a bunch of unnecessary frills – she just has a way of selling a song with her voice. And, finally, I’ll be able to release this catharsis of Charlie Christian songs and ideas that have building up inside me for months.
“Now you’re caught up – check the oil, check the tire pressure, fill up the car with gas, pack a light bag and head up to Eureka. You’ll be glad that you did!”
KHUM’s blues deejay Chas Lewis recommends “Aki Kumar, Carl Sonny Leyland and Charlie Baty, Anthony Paule Soul Orch w/Wee Willie Walker” (all blues of course).
As Charlie mentioned, there’s a couple of sets by Curtis Salgado, who was the template for “Joliet Jake,” John Belushi’s character in the Blues Brothers. They hung out in Eugene when Animal House was filmed, and Belushi basically lifted Curtis’ act, both the songs and his attitude. That happened while Curtis was in first incarnation of the Robert Cray Band, where he served as brash front man for shy “Young Robert.” Curtis went on to serve as lead singer for Roomful of Blues and by the early ‘90s, he had his own band. In 2010 he was one of the headliners for Blues by the Bay after winning a Blues Music Award for Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year. He’s played here a couple of times with Mark Hummel’s Blues Harmonica Blow-Out (and will do so again elsewhere), but lately he’s been playing with guitarist Alan Hagar.
Sarah Marina says, “When picking bands, consider venues. I like pairing them like wine and food for a tailored experience. 🙂 Ex: Morris Graves Museum for an intimate and lofty artistic moment as opposed to the vibrant mass of energy at the Muni. Same band in each setting is a different experience altogether. Same venue with each band… also unique.
“The other factor is guest artists rotating through each band. I heard [fiddler] Tom Rigney duel it out with Brian Casserly [trumpet] a couple years ago and that was an on fire duo. They are back at the Adorni Saturday night to do it again and I expect it to be a great show if you don’t mind missing a portion of the Muni blues.”
Speaking of blues, my friend Katy Stern says, “Don’t miss Anthony Paule and Frank Bey,” part of the big blues-orama Saturday at the Muni (with Curtis as “special guest). Everyone has their faves.
It ain’t cheap, they have different prices depending on if you’re just going to one day, but $30 is the cheapest. Please note: ticket sales locations are at the Muni and Adorni venues ONLY. Will Call is at the Adorni venue. If you can’t afford a ticket, there’s always the free show Sunday morning with our own Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir singing at 10 a.m. at the Adorni. And Les Craig notes there’s music all over Old Town, “We’ll be on the Gazebo Saturday from 11 to 1, courtesy of Eureka Main Street.”
“People all over the world (everybody), join hands (join), start a love train, love train… The next stop that we make will be soon…” The O’Jays
After working as a music writer for several decades now, I’ve assembled a massive collection of records, CDs, etc. I wish I could say they’re well-organized — alphabetized or whatever — but they’re not, not at all, except a side collection of music by local artists. One corner of my office is dedicated to shelves full of CDs by Humboldt-based artists (and a few tapes), A to Z selections by artists from Absynth Q and Afromassive to Yer Dog and Robert Ziino.
The other day I was talking with my friend, the musician/deejay Lyndsey Battle, about local bands. She was thinking about doing a segment of her show on KHUM show featuring locals. I invited her over and we started going through my stash looking for music by folks that she hadn’t heard. We didn’t get far, maybe to the end of “D”s with the rare Dynamite Sweater demo. When she returned the discs, I asked what she’d liked best. The first one she mentioned was one she hadn’t heard before, the eponymous album by Barking Dogma, with none other than Tim “Timmy” Gray on drums and vocals, among others.
Now as it turns out, Arcata Playhouse is hosting a benefit for Timmy Friday, May 3 (doors @ 7 p.m. showtime @ 7:30). The musical evening, titled “Get On Board the Love Train,” will raise money for his medical expenses. As Joyce Hough explains, “Several years ago [he] was diagnosed with a rare degenerative brain disorder which has restricted his ability to pursue his widely recognized talents as a musician and sound engineer/designer.”
Even if you don’t know his name, chances are you’ve heard Timmy’s work. In addition to Barking Dogma, he was a member of Lance Romance (a long time ago), The Bayou Swamis, The Joyce Hough Band and other bands. He also recorded a mess of local bands, and served as music director for Dell’Arte for over 20 years.
The upcoming Mad River Festival will feature “Turning Gray Skies Blue: The Music of Timmy Gray” with directed by Dell’Arte artist director Michael Fields. The Dell’Arte Company will celebrate “a lifetime of work” by their resident sound designer, with a “concert for the ages” featuring music he wrote for Mary Jane: The Musical, Blue Lake: The Opera, Wildcard, Grasshopper and the proverbial “much more!” (June 21, 22, 28, & 29 @ 8 p.m.)
Friday’s show at the Playhouse features the aforementioned Lyndsey Battle with Cory Goldman…
Old Dog with MartyDodd, GaryDavidson, Tom Pexton, and Dave Deason…
and a solo set by guitarist/handyman Jeff Landon, who just happens to be replacing the gutters on my house as I compose this column. (He’s also been working on a new song for the show that I can’t tell you about.)
Closing the show will be dance music by Home Cookin’ with Joyce Hough,Fred Neighbor,Mike LaBolle, Gary Davidson (again) and Timmy.
“Join us for an evening of celebration as we lend our friend Tim a hand on the Love Train,” says Joyce, adding, “You can also assist Tim at GoFundMe: gofundme.com/timgraylovetrain.” Advance tix recommended. Get ‘em at Wildberries or online at brownpapertickets.com.
Coming to Humbrews Thursday, May 2, it’s Sepiatonic, an “electro-vaudeville” outfit from Portland, Ore. somehow combining “brass, bass, beats, bellydance, and burlesque.” A local connection is oneKarolina Lux, who says, “Hellooo Humboldt peeps! ‘Tis I, your long-lost returning HSU Marching Lumberjack bellydancing trumpet-playing friend 😉 back with my band/dance project Sepiatonic, and we are ready to RAGE the face off Humbrews… We have house/bass beats, we have brass, we have bellydance and babes. Please come by…xoxo”
If you know your Humboldt art history, you know that the deep roots of the amazing art umbrella org Ink People Center for the Arts lie in founder Libby Maynard’s printmaking. Their latest project is a back-to-the-roots thing, the Old Town Ink Lab, a “makers space for print media and literary arts” opening in Eureka at 212 G Street. The space will feature several printing presses, as well as work stations, tools, resources, and equipment for public use. They mark their Grand Opening Friday, May 3, from 4 to 6 p.m. when the public will have an opportunity to say hello and make their own prints on one of the presses at no charge.
Deadhead alert: Friday (5/3) at Humbrews catch Garcia Birthday Band (aka GBB) allegedly “the premier Grateful Dead Tribute in the Pacific Northwest,” based in Portland, formed in 1999. They play on days that are not Jerry’s b-day.
At the Alibi, late that same Friday, “a rockin’ night of heavy psych music” by The Freeks from L.A. and CV from Eureka. “Music at 11 p.m. sharp. Bring earplugs.” Nuff said.
You might know the soulful folksinger Chris Webster from her Sacto band Mumbo Gumbo. She plays without them at the Arcata Playhouse Saturday evening (5/4, 8 p.m.) backed by the extremely accomplished accompanist Nina Gerber, who is best known for her role as Kate Wolf’s guitarist.
The Humboldt State Calypso Band, led by Professor Eugene Novotney, plays that same Saturday in HSU’s Fulkerson Recital Hall (also @ 8 p.m.) For 33 years they’ve been dedicated to “maintaining an accurate and authentic connection to the roots of the steel band movement, and to the innovative musicians of Trinidad,” with this special show dedicated to the memory of the late Clifford Alexis, a native of Trinidad & Tobago, who built and tuned the first set of steelpans made for the HSU Calypso Band and played with them dozens of times. Yes, of course, they’ll be playing one of his tunes, also one dedicated to him.
Okay, that’s all for now… Take a dip in the pool with Visible Cloaks…
If you live in Humboldt, you can imagine why four-twenty is such a big deal here – and it has nothing to do with blackbirds baked in a pie. For the uninitiated, 420 (or 4:20, or 4/20) is code for getting baked, as in the consumption of marijuana, or to be P.C. cannabis. Exactly why that number is lost somewhere in a smoky mist of lost memory cells for some.
The urban legend website Snopes.com debunks the theory that 420 comes from the California penal code section relating to marijuana use and pooh poohs the notion that there are 420 active chemical compounds in pot (for what it’s worth, High Times says there are 315). The folks at Snopes guess that the term came from a group of Marin County teen stoners who gathered every afternoon at 20 after 4 to share a smoke. (Was it pure chance that the initial legislative deal implementing California’s medical marijuana initiative Prop. 215 was Senate Bill 420?)
Whatever the source, the time and associated date have become synonymous with herb culture, which means it is an auspicious day to do something that stony types might want to attend, with special attention to jammish music, Dead stuff and, of course, reggae.
It’s 4/20 time at Humbrews, with Deadheads gathering for Hammond B-3 organist Melvin Seals and JGB in day two of a two-night run. (You’re supposed to know Melvin played keys for the Jerry Garcia Band.)
On Saturday, the Wave at the Blue Lake Casino celebrates 4/20 with The Miracle Show. You are invited to “bring back those flashbacks of that indescribable feeling that a great Dead show gave us all,” (for those not at the JGB show).
All day (noon-midnight) Blondie’s celebrates RedwoodStock on 4/20 with La Mancha, Over Yonder, Jade Moon (from L.A.), Los DuneBums, Cornbread Kelly. Flying Hellfish and Tonalites.
Forever Found (in Eureka) celebrates the “End of Prohibition” with a big reggae-centric bash with Rasta vet Don Carlos, plus Woven Roots and Object Heavy and local DJs and live artists galore. (Starts at 3 p.m.)