In our hyper-partisan 21st century world, you'd be forgiven for thinking that we, as Americans, don't like ourselves very much. Although more and more of us profess to drop out of the two party political system, we still tend to be quite tribal and quarantine ourselves into like-minded camps. Drive a Chevy truck? Your friends probably do, too. Drive a Subaru or a Prius? Your latte-lickin' friends probably do as well. Like Larry the Cable Guy or Bill Maher? FoxNews or MSNBC? Rush Limbaugh or Amy Goodman? Bacon or kale? Coors Lite or Brother Thelonius? American Sniper or La Dolce Vita? Washington Redskins or Washington Indigenous Native Americans? I could go on. If your preference was the first of any of those options, there's a 94-percent chance you prefer Trump/Cruz/Rubio to Sanders/Clinton/O'Malley. Couple our Red Team vs. Blue Team proclivities with access to anonymous digital mouthpieces, and we really separate ourselves from "them."
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones? This is a silly question, as I wouldn't want to live in a world without either Abbey Road or Exile on Main St., but when it comes to music, some barriers begin to break down. Maybe you don't care for either. Although that is rare and breaks my heart, I bet there is something that moves us both. Johnny Cash? Merle Haggard? Johnny Paycheck? Willie Nelson? John Coltrane? Lee Morgan? De La Soul? Beethoven? Bach? Mahler? George Fornby? Gerry & the Pacemakers? Albert King? Freddie King? Robert Johnson? Hell, I'll even meet you at that Selena Gomez song my daughter used to play. My point being, if you spend enough time with someone — or just cut to the chase and chat music — it will be very hard for you not to find something in common with them, musically speaking. Christ, even Paul Ryan likes Rage Against the Machine! Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders could belt the chorus of "All You Need is Love" at the top of their lungs should they ever find themselves at karaoke together. Music may be the one thing that can bring us together these days. There's sure as shit nothing else that pops into my mind.
Hard workers Kingfoot find themselves at The Logger Bar with an unusual opening group: The Dell'Arte Cabaret opens, so make sure not to be late for the free 9 p.m. show.
Recalling the band's humble beginnings on the Lower East Side back in '81, The Toasters' LES-Beat sound will emanate forth from the South Central part of Arcata at Humboldt Brews. Show up at 9:30 p.m. to catch locals The Dubbadubs kick off the show for a mere $15.
Take a detour up the 299 to Blue Lake for a free show of country tunes courtesy of The Honky Tonk Detours at the Mad River Brewery Tasting Room. Says drummer Paul DeMark: "We love old and new country music, and we include some of [guitarist] Jake Wiegandt's originals. There's a lot to it. It's got soul and it's fun to play. That's it." What else do you need? Rounding out the group is Rick Levin on guitars and Ron Sharp on the bass. 6 p.m. for this tonk.
The Fortuna Concert Series presents local a cappella artists A Company of Voices. Expect some "classical choral repertoire, some African-American spirituals and some jazz." Catch the company at the Fortuna Monday Club (610 Main Street) at 7:30 p.m. for $10.
Featuring a blend of rock, R&B, reggae, "some Dead and even a little country," The Rockiteers will be playing at 9 p.m. at the top of the hill in McKinleyville at Six Rivers Brewery. Free show, but feel free to share the wealth.
Keeping things going late, Humboldt Free Radio presents Arcata mega-poppers The Wild Lungs being joined by some Portland punkers, TOIM tonight at The Alibi. $5 will get you in the door, 11 p.m. show time.
No stranger to our neck of the woods, Tommy Castro returns to Humboldt to support his recent release of Method to My Madness. Tommy's been playing guitar since about '65 and you may have caught him at numerous Blues by the Bay festivals over the years, but this is the first album of his 22-year recording career that Tommy produced himself. He'll be joined by his band The Painkillers at Humboldt Brews in Arcata at 8 p.m. Bring $20 to hear tunes from his new album.
Like some of you still disconnected from the cable television world, I am unfamiliar with the show The Voice. I've heard of it, and, perhaps unfairly, lump it into the American Idol variety of musical television shows. Say what you will about the shows themselves, the musicians and artists who make it on these programs are often quite talented and have been hustling on the road for years. One such fellow is Joshua Davis. Steeped in Americana and folk music, the Michigan native has been writing and gigging for the past 15 years, so he's no overnight studio-made musician. Making it to the finals in the show, Joshua is glad to be hitting the road again. "I'm so excited to get back to the West Coast," he says. "It's been quite a few years since I've been out there and this will be the first time since the Voice. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with longtime friends and meeting new fans." Become a fan or a friend tonight at Humboldt Brews tonight at 9 p.m. Just remember, friends don't let friends play for free. Bring $15.
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.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Night Show on KWPT 100.3 FM weeknights at 6 p.m. He doesn't like reggae or old-time music, but is glad you do.