Arts! Arcata gets us into our weekend and although I'm checking out the weather forecast here more than 20 minutes in advance, it looks like we should have a rather sunny weekend. Starting tomorrow that is. Brave the rain and wind — or whatever we get — to circle around the greater Arcata Plaza for a smattering of local art and music starting around 6 p.m. If walking in a square pattern isn't your thing tonight, at the same time up at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room in Blue Lake and you'll hear the rockin' sounds of Wild Otis who are playing gratis. With some rock originals performed by a solid lineup of locals, you know the Otis are known to slip in a Neil Young tune (or eight) every once in a while. Merrick from The Miniplex is excited to have "true hidden American treasure" Ralph White in town tonight at 7:30 p.m. A founding member of the early 1990s punkgrass band Bad Livers, Ralph's music is sometimes described as "Appalachian trance," which has recognizable elements but a totality that stands alone. It seems like a good fit for Humboldt as we like us some bluegrass hillbilly tunes, but at the same time can't escape those mind-expanding-sonic waves. For this show, $12 will get you in the door. Simultaneously, Hawaiian slack key guitar master Led Kaapana returns to the Old Steeple in Ferndale after a sold-out show last time he was in town. I heard great reviews from a few folks who made it to the last Led show and, if perhaps you can grab a Mai Tai at the VI or Ivanhoe (if you're gutsy, try ordering one at the Palace) before the show, close your eyes during the set and imagine you're in the islands. It's the closest many of us will get. Nor Cal friend and fellow slack key guitarist Fran Guidry opens this $30 show. At Cafe Mokka in Arcata, you've got some gypsy jazz courtesy of Skyline Swing at 8 p.m. This one's free and all ages to boot. You may have heard Michael Eldridge spinning some Theo Bleckmann on KHSU recently in anticipation of tonight's show at Fulkerson Recital Hall on Humboldt State University's campus at 8 p.m. If you're a musician looking to get into jazz, being a vocalist probably isn't one of the easier paths. Not to say that it's an overly crowded field, but instrumental jazz has been a bit more in fashion since the bop days (methinks from my limited jazz history knowledge). If you want to be a jazz singer, you've got to have some serious chops to make it — it sounds like Theo's got 'em. A singer who leaves words behind when it's fitting, he's touring with his quintet called Elegy in support of his new album called ... well, Elegy. The group is comprised of Ben Monder, Shai Maestro, Chris Tordini, and John Hollenbeck. It's $15 a ticket for the general public and only $10 for HSU students. There's a Bob Marley birthday celebration happening at The Jam tonight with Army who are from the Virgin Islands and are joined by a Bob cover band called The Marley Project. This $15 show starts around 9 p.m., I believe, and is also rounded out by locals The Dubbadubs. A few blocks away at HumBrews and at the same time you can hear the tunes of the Grateful Dead by local tribute band The Miracle Show at 9:30 p.m. for $10. Around the same time up in Blue Lake, Peeping Thomas returns to the The Logger Bar for a free show of good times.
Local professor and piano powerhouse Daniela Mineva is at the Fortuna Monday Club at 7:30 p.m. tonight. If you've never heard Daniela play, she has the classical chops of a master and the fiery delivery of one who relishes playing for a crowd. A $10 bill will get you into this performance. Chubritza returns to Cafe Mokka to share their take on Eastern European music, which fits pretty nicely into the surroundings of the forest and frog ponds. With an 8 p.m. start time, this is a free kid-friendly show as well, so get the kiddos a hot chocolate while you get a mocha. Downhome Americana and rockabilly are on the bill at Redwood Curtain Brewery at 8 p.m. with a free show from locals The Yokels. Speaking of Americana, a slice of that is in store at the Logger Bar — also free — an hour later with Kingfoot doing their residency thing. McKinleyville's Central Station hosts local rockers Jimi Jeff and the Gypsy Band to deliver their ripping takes on Hendrix, Prince and others. This 9 p.m. show is also free for you.
It's humpday (as we awkwardly call it) and what better way to remind you that work hasn't snuffed out the last bit of life essence you have left than by going out to hear music tonight? Imbibe some local beer at The Mad River Brewery Tap Room around 6 p.m. so you can also hear some rock originals and covers by the double father-son quartet of Doug Fir & The 2x4s, who are playing a free show. SoHum has some reggae legends in town tonight who always delight our local reggae fans. On the road busily promoting their latest release of Play it Real, Israel Vibration stops by the Mateel Community Center tonight for their Humboldt fans. They share this 8 p.m. bill with Roots Radics and Rocker T & the 7th Street Band, who open up the show. Only $30 for these pros tonight.
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 Album of the Week Show on KWPT 100.3 FM Tuesdays at 6 p.m. Most music makes him want to go to Hawaii.