My freshman year in high school, I'd hitch rides to school with my friend Cameron and his mother. Cameron and I would groggily listen to cassettes his older brother gave him: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan. We listened to Dylan from The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan up to Blood On the Tracks and anything in between, often rewinding them because we were too enthralled to let go of what we just heard. The words were more colorful, more vivid and more real than the California coast passing by our windows those early mornings. After one of many mornings listening to "Mr. Tambourine Man" on loop, Cameron and I were working in the high school theater, hanging lights and running sound cables when our "shop teacher" Matt Gourley — yes, the Matt Gourley — put on Bringing It All Back Home and things got sublime. The Southern California sunshine flowed through the doors and we all got lost in the groove of our tasks, hands seeming to melt into the ladders we climbed, our boots vibrating on the steps. "Evenin's empires has returned into sand ... the ancient empty street's too dead for dreaming ... take me on a trip upon your magic swirling ship, my senses have been stripped, my hands can't feel to grip, my toes too numb to step ... I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade ... the smoke rings of my mind, down the foggy ruins of time ... out to the windy beach ..." Fifteen feet in the air, we waited for the peak, for the magic to reveal itself, and it happened. "Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free. Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands. With all memory and fate, driven deep beneath the waves. Let me forget about today until tomorrow."
Celebrate Dylan with your neighbors next week (more info below).
Get your bluegrass on tonight as our own Compost Mountain Boys are back doing their string thing at the Mad River Brewery Tap room at 6 p.m. Like all MRB shows, it's free and all ages. Just don't let your kids sip your beer alright? Once you're done there, leave the kids in the car — please leave the window cracked — and head over to the Logger Bar just a few blocks away for some "banjo punk" from Alaska courtesy of Samm Bones. Country crooner Gabe Rozzell will be the local anchor so make sure you get there by 9 p.m. for this free show. Should a gentleman come in and start screaming at the bartenders that it's too loud, be kind to the guy and help remind him where the door is and that foam earplugs have been in existence since 1972.
Sticking with Blue Lake, you'll find the country stylings of Cadillac Ranch at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room at 6 p.m. Same deal as usual, it's free and all ages, but feel free to tip the band. The RLA Trio is hosting its third show in the Westhaven Center for the Arts Jazz Series at 7 p.m. The featured artist this evening is Francis Vanek who is a "superb saxophonist," according to none other than the S.F. Chronicle. It'll be top-shelf jazz with a sliding scale of $5-$20. It's the silver anniversary of The Eureka Symphony, which will be celebrating at The Arkley Center for the Performing Arts at 8 p.m. The orchestra will play Mendelssohn's Concerto in E Minor with guest violinist Otis Harriel. Some Copland is on the bill and fans of the National Park System will get a rare treat in here, as well, according to a press release I received. If you're to believe the website, however, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony a.k.a. "The Ode to Joy" is on tap for the night. Either way, you're in for great playing tonight. Prices run from $19 to $49. Show starts at 8 p.m. My friend Shane wanted to make sure I was in the know about a show happening at The Miniplex in Arcata with Australian rockers Shovels, who are in town and joined by Colossal Yes from the Bay Area. Shane says the latter are "super cool" and have a "former member of Comets on Fire, Utrillo Kushner, who is an old Eureka punker. He's in a lot of cool bands in the East Bay." Add locals The Tweeners to the bill and only a $5 cover charge and you're pretty much guaranteed a packed house. Show up early to get in before the music starts at 9 p.m.
One of the more cheekily named local bands, For Folk's Sake — or is it For Folks' Sake? — are at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room at 6 p.m. and for free. Enjoy the show, the local beer and feel free to let me know how to spell the band's name correctly. "One-Man-Psychedelic-Acoustiloop musician" Holus Bolus also known as Tom Boylan is stopping by the Westhaven Center for the Arts at 7 p.m. to do his loopy groove thing. Opening up the show is Trinidad local singer-songwriter Bruce Taylor. Not sure on a ticket price for this one. In case you missed The Eureka Symphony performing whatever it is they performed last night, you've got another chance tonight at 8 p.m. Look above for more information. Is it just me, or has Scottish fiddle music been making a strong appearance in Humboldt lately? Nothing wrong with it, of course, and with that said, the Hanneke Cassel Band is in town tonight at the Arcata Playhouse at 8 p.m. Expect to hear plenty from last month's release of Trip to Walden Pond with her band featuring husband and cellist Mike Block along with guitarist Christopher Lewis. $20 will get you a seat to hear these virtuosos all together in an intimate setting. For something a little jammier, head to Humboldt Brews to catch Edge of the West with Buddy Cage which features members of Jefferson Starship, the David Nelson Band, New Riders of the Purple Sage and Great American Taxi. The jams will weave in and out and will start around 9 p.m. Not sure on the ticket price for this one, but maybe something in the $25 and up range would make sense. Humboldt's favorite Beatles tribute band Silver Hammer returns to the Wave Lounge in the Blue Lake Casino and Hotel at 9 p.m. tonight and for free. Sing and dance along, and give it up for the band. Filling about three hours with songs that are mostly under three minutes ain't no small task. In Arcata, you'll find "all vinyl garage rock DJs" Garage Au-Go-Go spinning it up at the Alibi joined by local spin-masters Adam and Red with the show starting around 11 p.m. and for only $2.
Bob Dylan turns 76 today and that means it's time for the seventh annual Bob Dylan Birthday Bash happening at Blue Lake's Mad River Brewery at 5 p.m. Local musician/promoter/engineer/nice guy Chris Parriera has been organizing these tributes so make sure you thank him for all the hard work. I know Bob's voice isn't for everyone, but he, like The Beatles, is an artist who has shaped our realities more than we'll ever really appreciate. Remind me some time to tell you about the last time I was at the Brewery and overheard some college kids saying they "didn't think The Beatles were that good." Let's just say I left mid-beer before making a scene. You'll hear Dylan's songs, and the entirety of Nashville Skyline performed by locals The Detours, Jeff Kelley, Jan Bramlett, Les Scharnberg, Rosalind Parducci, Matt Brody and above-mentioned Parriera. It's a free show, but again, feel free to show your appreciation to these locals paying tribute to one of America's heroes.
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 email@example.com.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Album of the Week Show on KWPT 100.3 FM Tuesdays at 6 p.m. Love - Zero = ?