Guys! This week is nuts! I feel like I'm 15! So many exclamation points!!! Forget about sleep or saving money or anything other than getting yourself out to at least one of these excellent shows!
Friday: A Thing!
It's not just any ol' thing, The Stringthing. It's a very special type of thing. With strings! But not just any ol' strings. Very special strings! For example, you've got The No Good Redwood Ramblers' powerful blend of boot-stomping rhythm and old-time flavor snaking through everything from traditional murder ballads and whiskey-soaked drinking songs to Appalachian fiddle tunes and bluegrass standards. Banjo! Fiddle! Guitar! Mandolin! Double-bass!
But wait — that's not all! You also get The Cherry Pickers, a young-ish bluegrass band whose twangy style hits that sweet spot between contemporary and traditional.
And the goodness doesn't stop there! Look! It's The Lyndsey Battle Trio, featuring Gulf Coast singer/songwriter Lyndsey Battle, plus Cory Goldman on guitar and banjo, and Brian Hennesy on upright bass, bringing the music of the Mississippi River Delta, folk-style, to Humboldt County.
And that's still not all, because the Stringthing also includes The Compost Mountain Boys, who have performed traditional bluegrass music in Humboldt County since 1991! Over the years one could say they've "composted" their music into an inspirational bluegrass experience. All this foot-pounding mayhem unfolds at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. Doors at 7 p.m., music at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 advance (at Wildberries and The Works), $14 at the door, 21-and-over.
Friday: A groovy thing goin' on
Accomplished singer-songwriters Derren Raser and Michael Dayvid had a brilliant idea: to present an evening of the music of Simon & Garfunkel. Their iconic music stretches across generational lines and, Raser says, "is still as fresh and beautiful today as it was in the '60s when it was originally recorded and performed." Celebrate starting at 7 p.m. at the D Street Neighborhood Center and bring the kids because this show is all ages. Cover is $8 for those 13-and-over, 12-and-under get in for free.
Saturday: Return of the Letdown!
Feel the thrill run through your veins, Humboldt rock fans — once-local garage rockers The Letdown are set to play their first show in 12 years with an-almost-as-rare reunion of Humboldt's Guided By Voices cover band TIGERBOMB! The Letdown consists of Dameon Waggoner (ex-Lowlights, Scared of Chaka), H.A. Nethery (ex-Sin Men, Foster Kids), Ryan Cook (ex-SWoD, Crimewive!) and Bandon Wayne (ex-Hasselhoff, Couch of Eureka). TIGERBOMB! is Ray Johnson (ex-Cutters), Danny McAlerney (ex-Trash & Roll), Aaron Karl (Scary Photographs), Ryan Cook and Jensen Rufe (of Rural Rock and Roll fame and a judge at this year's Humboldt International Film Festival — the reunion is part of HIFF's closing night benefit). We here at the Setlist do very much love a rockin' good time and this is going to be one for the ages, as elucidated by Rufe himself:
Top 3 reasons why people should come to this show:
1. "This may be the last chance to ever see the Letdown perform! It took us 12 years to get these boys back in town at the same time to finally reunite (H.A. is flying all the way from Florida, where he is a doctor of philosophy and a college professor)."
2. "It is a good cause! The cover goes to the awesome student-run Humboldt International Film Festival (see page 29). The HIFF invited me back to be a judge this year. (I'm very excited about that!)"
3. "This show is gonna feel like an old Vista show! There are several dozen ex-Humboldt music scene veterans coming back into town either to perform at this show or just to be spectators in what is turning out to be a general 'reunion weekend' of sorts! For that reason, it is most assuredly going to be at risk of approaching capacity. (So anyone dying to see this show who wants to guarantee their admission should probably get there early.)"
The extravaganza explodes at the Alibi, 11 p.m., $10 minimum but larger donations are welcome, 21-and-over.
Saturday: Your Eureka alt-gig
A very fine option awaits you at the Siren's Song Tavern where synthy garage rockers Companion Animal (I am loving, loving, loving CA's track "Pin Drop," available at www.companionanimal.bandcamp.com) and psych-rockers Strix Vega will play beginning at about 9:30 p.m. Free show! All ages!
Monday: Celtic at the Sanctuary
Groundbreaking progressive Celtic band Alba's Edge celebrates the release of its debut album Run to Fly at The Sanctuary as part of the Northwest leg of its CD release tour. A brother-sister collaboration between pianist Neil Pearlman and fiddler Lilly Pearlman, Alba's Edge has been rapidly gaining attention for its blend of Celtic music with jazz, Latin and funk influences. Over the past few years the quartet has played festivals and concerts around the U.S. and toured Mexico through the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara as ambassadors of American Celtic music. Show starts at 8 p.m., admission is $5 to $20 sliding scale at the door.
Tuesday: The Handsome Family!
Our friends at the Arcata Playhouse invite you to "enter the dark forest of The Handsome Family and let the beautiful branches surround you. ... This is haunting music in the most wonderful way — brilliant, emotionally charged and totally unique." Oh, this will be a magnificent show! (You may remember The Handsome Family from when the duo opened for Andrew Bird last season at Center Arts.) If you're unfamiliar with the band, here's the skinny: The Handsome Family is a 20-year songwriting collaboration between husband and wife, Brett (music) and Rennie Sparks (words). Their lyrics and music are very intense, highly descriptive and full of meticulously-researched narrative and musical re-imaginings of everything from Appalachian holler, psychedelic rock, Tin Pan Alley and medieval ballad. The songs are also full of romantic longing for nature's mysterious beauty and the tiny wonders of everyday life. The duo pairs sweet melody with sad harmony, love poetry with dark beats. This is music of the little deaths that make you resonate with life.
The band's 2013 release Wilderness is a record about animals and the wonders of nature intertwined with true stories of Stephen Foster's death in a Bowery flophouse, General Custer's shiny boots as he lay dead on a Montana prairie, and the capture of Mary Sweeney, the Wisconsin Window Smasher of 1896. The Handsome Family is best known for the song "Far From Any Road," which was used as True Detective's main title theme, but also for keen interest from artists like Andrew Bird who recorded a whole release covering their songs. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with music starting at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $18 general, $15 for Playhouse members. All tickets are $20 day of the show. Tickets are available at Wildberries or via www.arcataplayhouse.org.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Eight Days a Week calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to firstname.lastname@example.org.