Quickly — if you're an early bird who picked this up on Wednesday, know that the Jambalaya has Shigeto, Beacon and Nitemoves tonight. You dig electronica, minimalist R&B-influenced instrumentation and explorations of the way simple melodies and rhythms can grow into more complex relationships? Great. You'll want to be there. Showtime's at 10 p.m., more info at jambalayaarcata.com.
Tonight (Thursday): Decisions, decisions
I will now tell you about tonight, but first you might want to sit down if you're not already. Do you need a cup of coffee or a sandwich? Because for some reason, Thursday is nuts with shows. Okay. Ready? You've got your known quantities — Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell at the Van Duzer, Leftover Salmon at the ATL — and then three other options that all sound promising.
1. Folk punk in Blue Lake
First up, Matt Pless and Francie Moon infuse Mad River Brewing Company with Maryland folk punk starting at 6 p.m. Regarding Pless, "punk" in this sense is another word for "quirky" a la Jonathan Richmond — as a sort of category, not a soundalike — with songs like "Mad Child's Lament" ("she shuts her eyes and all the world drops dead"). The way Pless blends sincerity and rawness appeals. Give a listen at mattpless.bandcamp.com/album/tumbleweed.
The opening track on Moon's Morning Red album, a rough and haunting track called "Carolina Mountains" raised the hair on my arms, arrested me. Goddamn, but I love that feeling. Get tingly at franciemoon.bandcamp.com and then in person at the beloved Blue Lake venue.
2. Singer-songwriters at the Playhouse
Complicating matters are two Arcata shows. Fortunately start time for both is 8 p.m., so if you moderate your Mad River beer intake, you can zip over to A-town where West Coast singer-songwriters John Elliott and Eleanor Murray celebrate a dual album release at the Arcata Playhouse. Now, Elliot's name might not ring familiar at first, but his music certainly should — it's been soundtracked by Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill and Californication. Anais Mitchell fans will know Elliot as Hades from Mitchell's "California Sings Hadestown" tour. His new effort, Good Goodbyes, is the eighth in a series of albums expanding preconceived ideas of what folk, pop and rock music can be. Elliots' influences encompass a corresponding diversity — Bruce Springsteen, Guns 'N' Roses, Michael Jackson, Wilco, Radiohead and, natch, fellow Minnesota native Bob Dylan.
Murray has shared the stage with artists including Tune-yards, Mountain Man and Kimya Dawson — appropriate companions for someone whose music similarly resists easy labeling and knits jazz rhythms with Appalachian melodies. The title track of her new album, Bury Me Into the Mtn, is both melancholic and comforting. Just exquisite. Please note, if you are sensitive of soul or recently brokenhearted, you may find yourself especially, as they say, moved. Tickets are $10 general, $8 Playhouse members and $6 students. See arcataplayhouse.org for more.
3. Alt-bluegrass in Arcata
And on to your other A-town option! Olympia's The Pine Hearts provide an ideal soundtrack to fall with their version of alt-bluegrass at Redwood Curtain Brewing Company, along with locals Raising Grain. A little bit of longing, a fair bit of back-porch, a suggestion of get-up-and-dance, that's The Pine Hearts. Just right for a rain-scented North Coast night. And it's free. (Note: If Thursday's choices dizzy you, know that The Pine Hearts also play The Siren Song on Friday at 9 p.m.)
Saturday! Euro-pop and stoner rock at the 'bi
Flagstaff's Greco provide the Euro-pop and Seattle's Ancient Warlocks (!!!) bring the stoner rock at the Alibi Saturday night for another $5, 21-and-over show that'll keep you up late as the music doesn't start till 11 p.m. or so. Fans of Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age should make a point to get out to this for some agreeably primitive, hypnotic rock that'll make you do that thing where you close your eyes and shake your head to the droning beat.
Singer-songwriters at the Playhouse, Saturday version
Also on Saturday, fiddler and singer-songwriter Sara Milonovich returns to the Arcata Playhouse. Milonovich is also a successful composer and bandleader, as well as a sought-after accompanist. Quick bio summary: "She began playing when she was 4 and by 9 was leading her own band, left school at 16 to hit the road, found a busy career as an accompanist and collaborator with such artists as Richard Shindell, Pete Seeger, Eliza Gilkyson, Cathie Ryan, Mountain Quickstep and Antje Duvekot."
Clearly the woman has cred. Joining Milonovich are multi-instrumentalist Greg Anderson and New York singer-songwriter Liana Gabel. Doors at 7:30 p.m., showtime at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 general, $13 Humboldt Folklife Society and Arcata Playhouse members and are available at Wildwood Music, Wildberries or 822-1575. For more, visit arcataplayhouse.org.
Tuesday jazz fix
The new Redwood Jazz Alliance concert season continues on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at the Arcata Playhouse with the Claudia Quintet, the New York-based "post-jazz" ensemble led by drummer and composer John Hollenbeck. Based on what major media outlets have to say about this band and the RJA's stellar track record when it comes to bringing jazz geniuses to Humboldt County, I feel safe in saying that if you're into cutting-edge jazz music, you'll want to go to this show. Show starts at 8 p.m., tickets are $15 general, $10 student or senior. More info at arcataplayhouse.com.
Tuesday, cont. Why not go to Hayfork?
The listing reads, innocuously, "Bay Area bands performing acoustic sets, rowdy sing-a-longs and shenanigans." Intriguing, right? And then one looks at the band names — Thee Hobo Gobbelins and Ghost Town Gospel — and curiosity grows. A listen to Thee Hobo Gobbelins both intrigues and terrifies in a Nightmare-Before-Gypsy-Music kind of way. Then a zip to Ghost Town Gospel's page shows a song titled "Drown Me in Bourbon" and shades of DM3 have one seriously considering driving out to Hayfork — Hayfork!
Yes, I know, I know. Yes, it's all a bit Twin Peaks-y. But this could be the weirdest night you'll ever have, so I had to tell you. Gig's at Northern Delights coffeehouse, starts at 8 p.m. and is free.
Upcoming shows to know
Heartthrob rockers The Blakes return to Hum Brews, Thursday, Oct. 10, Hank 3 tears up the Mateel, Wednesday, Oct. 16 and Todd Clouser lands in the Jambalaya, Monday, Oct. 21. Advance tickets available to all shows available via the respective venues' websites.
Send your event listings and high-res photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Rock on! •