This was a week of contrasts for me, many of them bittersweet. While I appreciated the sunshine on my face all week, I don't relish wearing T-shirts in February. We need our winter rain and snow, and sunny days in midwinter do not auger well for the new year. I don't want to have another cycle of drought and wildfires out here in the Far West. On a whim, I tried consuming some older cultural artifacts from my youth that I remember loving way back when, and was depressed to find they did not age well and I had moved on in my tastes. To wit: While I am a huge fantasy nerd and roundly enjoyed rereading Tolkien's The Silmarillion last month, I found sadly that the Narnia saga by C.S. Lewis did not captivate me upon revisiting. Similarly, a couple of evenings ago I took a chance on re-watching The X-Files, my favorite show as a sci-fi and horror obsessed teenager, and was pretty let down there, too, shocked by how bad David Duchovny's acting was. "Dammit, Scully, there are two ends to my range, talking monotone and yelling monotone! Don't expect me to crack my saturnine composure just because you are being attacked by a humanoid liver fluke." At least his acting is better than his songwriting. Do yourself a favor and leave that Google search blank. I am not a nostalgic person by nature, I tend to genuinely distrust the sappier backward-gazing emotions that so much of our culture is built on. But I won't pretend I wasn't a little disappointed to find the magic gone for me in those gems.
On Sunday I covered a memorial jam for a gone-too-soon local musician and classmate from high school, cellist Mike Lee (you can read it at www.northcoastjournal.com for the whole story). I might not be a nostalgic person but I am also not a rock, and I was genuinely moved by our cadre of talented local funk musicians' joyful response in the face of the cruel spectre of mortality. The best memorials are celebrations of what makes living so powerful and important — a contrast of lights in the shadows of our saddest days. And that day began with an afternoon of rain but by the time I was walking home at the end, I was treated to the sun and a real sunset. And that felt just right. Have a lovely week.
The Jam presents a YAMS (Your Arts & Music Syndicate) curated pint night with a debut album release party for new dance rock band The Apollo Era at 9:30 p.m. with support provided by local power trio Blacksage Runners and the trippy pop spin of Paradise Inc. ($5).
Humbrews is having a night of funk and hip hop as Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli founder Chali 2na returns to Arcata at 9:30 p.m. to spit rhymes in his distinctive baritone. Local funk heavies Object Heavy provide support. $20/ $18 advance.
At the same hour over on G Street, there's a trifecta of dance music DJs descending from on high — or the greater Los Angeles area — to preach the posterior moving gospel ($23/$20 advance). G. Jones has a back-to-back set with Eprom while Ana Sia opens the night's festivities.
Kaptain Kirk's Kosmic Koncoction is a one-man band noted for playing fun covers of a wide variety of pop and rock songs. He opens the evening of free music at The Logger Bar tonight at 9 p.m. before relinquishing the stage to the live debut performance of The Stallions, a local cover band in the key of Ween. Can't see Dean and Gene and company? This'll be the next best thing.
It's not a debut show but it is the first show of the year for local funk and soul outfits The Velvet Touch and The New Traditions, formerly The Dubba Dubs ($5). Come down to the Jam at 9:30 p.m. to see the 2018 editions of these two local hot rods.
It's a wine and jazz matinee at Morris Graves Museum today at 3 p.m. A mere $5 gets you in the door to hear Jerry Moore on piano supporting Doug Arrington's vocal stylings during which time you can sip local wines and schmooze in the circular galleries of our own little art house. After the sets, there is an open jam for those of you with the foresight to have brought instruments you know how to play.
Jazz bassist and composer Ben Allison returns for an 8 p.m. show at the Sanctuary after a long decade away from Arcata ($15). He brings with him his backing band Think Free in support of his latest album of self-composed tunes Layers of the City. The church-y ambience of The Sanctuary should provide a nice vibe for his cutting edge contemporary instrumental jazz sounds.
Local group Dogbone styles itself as a group of musicians playing what they call "feral jazz." What does that actually mean? I honestly have no idea but if you are curious to find out, head down to the Mad River Brewery in sunny Blue Lake at 6 p.m. to find out for yourself for free.
No Age, a Los Angeles punk outfit on Drag City Records, plays the Outer Space tonight at 7 p.m. ($10). "Dream punk" tour buddies Flesh World from San Francisco, featuring members from Brilliant Colors and Limp Wrist, sit mid-lineup, while Arcata's own punk darling Grocery Outlit provide a little local flavor. This should be a nice jump up and down diversion.
Cuco is the stage name of 18-year-old Omar Banos, a mixtape-making musical wunderkind whose 2016 album "Wannabewithu" put him on the map as a uniquely talented multi-instrumentalist. He plays the Kate Buchanan room tonight at 9 p.m. as a special treat for the kiddies and also undoubtedly as an artifact of precociousness designed to make the rest of us feel so very old and useless ($10).
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 wants to believe that some actors could also make good songwriters. He lives in Arcata.