I am going to ignore the holiday altogether, as far as my music beat goes, because virtually no one books shows on that day. I will instead make a couple of suggestions for those of you who celebrate or discard this gluttonous holiday. Firstly, be nice to other people whether they are your family or strangers. Feeding your loved ones is nice, as is spending time with them, but be kind. Try not to have a blowout. And if you can spare a little, consider giving some goods or even your time to the needy. The St. Vincent DePaul Society and the Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation can likely use some help. There are people with very little who are hurting out there, alone. A little kindness goes a long way on the holidays, particularly the colder ones. Try it out.
Have a full week.
Let's ease back into the nightlife after the holiday with some simple and fun shows for those of us with potentially stretched waistbands and exhausted social niceties through familial gorging. The popular Lionel Bart musical Oliver! Begins its three-date run at the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts tonight at 7 p.m. Come enjoy the story of Oliver Twist as it undergoes a cheeky and musical reimagining suitable for the entire family ($14-$25 depending on one's age and student status).
If you are looking for something a little more intimate, you can listen to the Celtic tunes of Whoops! for free at Cafe Mokka at 8 p.m. Perhaps a warm drink or a stint in the sauna or tubs will pair nicely with the dulcet tones of this interestingly named group.
And finally, tonight at the Palm Lounge at 9 p.m. you can dance, shuffle, or drink your way through a skillful set by Claire Bent & Citizen Funk, a local multi-generational crowd pleaser whose music I always enjoy in spite of my curmudgeonly temper toward typical public square fare. The band is uncomplicated and tight with a broad book of chops and Claire has the voice to raise the roof and tie the rafters into little bows (price TBA).
Tonight still falls within the magisterium of the late-November holiday so there's a good chance that not everyone in our college-rich towns have returned from abroad. However, for those of you who are in the area, here are a couple of dance parties to either work off a meal or work up an appetite to. At 9 p.m. at Humbrews, the ever-solid Soul Party convenes for a late-year session of shake, shake, shake. Come join the usual suspects as well as special guest DJ K NUTZ for a sticky icky vinyl groove-on ($5).
At 10:30 p.m. at The Alibi, it's another session of that popular post-punk, new wave, dark and cool aesthetic rebel dance off called Radio Clash ($2). Regular solid rock anchor DJ Blancatron is joined by DastBunny and Green Beans in an effort to answer the unanswerable New Order question: How does it feel?
The Bob Clark film A Christmas Story has in its 35 years entered into the yuletide pantheon of movies that everyone knows, whether by viewing it or just sheer cultural osmosis. It serves as a nice holiday companion piece to another Bob Clark work, the proto-slasher film Black Christmas. I like to watch them back to back for peak emotional whiplash. Anyway, the more wholesome A Christmas Story, based on the delightful Jean Shepherd novel In God We Trust: All Other Pay Cash has been turned into a musical that's being put on by the good people at the Ferndale Repertory Theatre. Catch the matinee today at 2 p.m. and see firsthand what evil comes from coveting a Red Ryder Air Rifle, among other delights ($10-$18 based on age and academic status).
The Redwood Curtain Brewery hosts a free Bluegrass Open tonight at 7 p.m. While I have never been a huge fan of bluegrass music, I do love the synergy of people coming together to play and share in a common love, so I can't do anything but endorse this egalitarian jam. Plus, it's a Monday night in late November, it's lonely out there in the foggy frozen streets and we could all use some communal jocundery. Have at it!
Ghost Ring is a Portland trio fronted by Kay Morrisette that plays a warm and sad kind of regret crystalized into beautiful folk songs like frozen waves on a dead shore. Blood Hunny is their long lost local twin. Together the groups unite for an evening of reverb bliss at the Siren's Song at 8 p.m. tonight ($5 suggested donation). Come hear the edges sanded away by weary reflection while the bedroom burns downs the mansion. Portland's Sean Farrell opens.
Humbrews hosts the return of The Travelin McCourys tonight at 9 p.m. ($30/$25 advance). These bluegrass masters are offshoots of the bluegrass master himself — Del McCoury. When not functioning as crack backing players for the Del McCoury band itself, these next-gen pickers hit the streets to play the music they love for the world at large. If you like bluegrass played with an ethereal tightness only rote memory and musical DNA can provide, then come check this one out.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collin Yeo used to get pretty sad on this holiday but the kindness of friends, loved ones and strangers has helped chew up that nasty gristle. Thankfully, he lives in Arcata.