It takes a certain audacity for a young Brit named Declan Patrick MacManus to take on the name of the King of Rock ‘n' Roll at the start of a music career, but Elvis Costello did just that. His audacious 1977 debut on Stiff Records, My Aim Is True, lived up to the name. It rocked, and it helped define the ‘70s punky new wave aesthetic, but it also demonstrated some serious songwriting chops. The next 35 years saw Costello record 21 more albums absorbing jazz, country and soul and making it his own, even writing an opera. A few years ago Costello served as host of a TV series, Spectacle, which found him interviewing and performing with music icons including Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson, Elton John, James Taylor and Bruce Springsteen. Elvis demonstrated that he's right there with the best. Mr. Costello plays a solo show at HSU's Van Duzer Theater on Wednesday, Sept. 26, your opportunity to see another icon in action.
Friday, we're hoping you'll come to North Coast Journal's Best Of Humboldt Party at the Eureka Theater. We have two of the best bands around, Huckleberry Flint and The Trouble, and the awesome Missing Link DJs to boot, plus other fun you can read about elsewhere in the paper.
In the interest of fairness, I'll note that there are other shows happening Friday: The Jamaican roots reggae combo The Abyssinians will play the Red Fox with DJ Pressure.
The "all-star" psychedelic jamband The Avalon Allstars is at Van Duzen Grange with Mark Karan from Ratdog, Bobby Vega from Zero, KVHW etc., Eric Levy and Alan Hertz from Garaj Mahal, KVHW, etc. Come to think of it, this is KVHW with Karan instead of Kimock.
AS Presents has Tomorrows Bad Seeds from Hermosa Beach in the Depot playing Sublime-ish reggae-rock. Opening: San Diego's Through the Roots, who add electronic beats to the reggae-rock mix.
Humboldt Brews has DJ Zephyr and DJ Red's "All Vinyl Hi-Fi Garage Rock A-Go-Go." Red promises "all the boss-out garage, psych, surf, soul, girl groups, doo-wop, moldies and more."
It was a couple of years ago when Ethiopian-born jazz/folk singer Meklit Hadero met retro soul singer Quinn DeVeaux, leader of an Oakland band called The Blue Beat Revue. When he opened for one of her shows in San Francisco's Mission District they closed together with a cover of Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me." That led to an ongoing collaboration and a CD, Meklit & Quinn, which came out this week. The duo takes on an eclectic modern songbook beginning with an Arcade Fire cover, continuing through soulful, jazzy reworkings of MGMT, Talking Heads, Lou Reed, Stevie Wonder and Neil Young tunes (and a few originals) before concluding with the Cooke song that started it all. The theme? "It's about home," says DeVeaux. Meklit sees it as a statement about continuity. Let's hope the musical partnership sees some of that. A CD release tour brings Meklit and Quinn to the Arcata Playhouse Thursday night. Check them out.
If you're in the mood for something a bit harder and darker on Thursday, tattooed metal-fusion goddess Otep Shamaya is at Nocturnum with her band, OTEP. As you might guess by their names, the openers, Butcher Babies, One Eyed Doll and locals Angel's Cut, are along the same lines.
The Cut Throat Freak Show is here to shock you Thursday afternoon at Old Growth Tattoo in Eureka with classic sideshow acts like pounding nails up noses, doing gymnastics on broken glass, hanging things from eyelids. Musical accompaniment comes from Gunsafe.
Thursday is also opening night for the new Redwood Jazz Alliance season with the John Abercrombie Organ Trio in the Kate Buchanan Room. (More details on the RJA season in the calendar.)
It's a good weekend for neo-old time stringband music, starting Thursday with a rollicking show at the Jambalaya featuring Olympia's Blackberry Bushes Stringband plus the hot local "bluegrass"-ish outfit The No Good Redwood Ramblers.
Both of those bands -- and many more -- are part of Saturday's all day Humboldt Hill Hoedown at the Mateel. They'll have local and imported music on two stages, including the murder ballads of The Pine Box Boys, scumbag country by Hellbound Glory, a dead-on Johnny Cash tribute by Cash'd Out, Americana stomp-grass by Polecat, dirty roots music by Three Times Bad, trad country by The Hicktown Homeboys, and a bunch of bands you probably know: Absynth Quintet, Rooster McClintock, Compost Mountain Boys, Dirt Floor Band, Way Out West, The Raspberry Jam Band and Striped Pig String Band, who will be teaching square dancing. Add in a mechanical bull, chicken poop bingo and a cakewalk and you've got yerself a hoedown. Yahoo!
More neo-country/folk Tuesday at the Arcata Playhouse with Coyote Grace returning with a fine new album in hand, Now Take Flight. The twangy trio is touring with Fast Rattler, a band out of Portland that includes the late great Utah Phillips' son Brendan Phillips. Expect a mix of originals, reimaginings of trad folk classics and, of course, some of Utah's songs.
Wednesday at the Playhouse "Best Solo Musician" Chris Parreira presents a wild alt. stringband show featuring another Portland combo, Shook Twins, with Katelyn playing guitar, Laurie looping her banjo and beatboxing, and both of them singing in sweet harmony. Niko from The Bucky Walters is doing his Cyber Camel looping thing and will probably play with the twins too. Young Caitlin Jemma opens the show. It all sounds good.
There are several Saturday evening benefits: Ferndale Repertory Theater has the ever-soulful bluesman Earl Thomas plus young (12-year-old) singer/songwriter Aaron O'Gara, and a soul food feast by Ferndale's master chef Steve Sterbeck, with proceeds going to Ferndale Rep.
On the classical side you have the annual fall concert benefit for the Humboldt County Breast Health Project at Calvary Lutheran Church, with pianist (and doctor) Luther Cobb, along with Pat Person, Elisabeth Harrington, Greg Granoff, The Heartbeat Chorale, and the Cindy Moyer and Friends String Quintet.
Last but not least there's "1 in 88: An Autism Awareness Event" Saturday at Far North Climbing Gym with DJ Jaymorg (from the Missing Links Crew) and DJ Gabe Pressure providing music for dancing. Some facts: 129 children are diagnosed with autism daily. Autism spectrum disorders affect one in 88 children in the United States. Proceeds from this one go to the Ernie Els Foundation for autism research.
AS Presents has another Depot show Saturday with the Org?ne up from L.A. for some supremely funky soul tinged with Afrobeat that should appeal to fans of The Meters or Fela. Vocalist Niki J Crawford is the bomb. Kyle "DJ Knutz" Stasse opens the show.
What is hip? The horn-heavy soul funk band Tower of Power, masters of the "Oakland Stroke," still on the road after 44 years. Those who caught Tower of Power at last year's Blues by the Bay know the band still has it. Yes, the boys did "You're Still a Young Man," and yes, the now 60-something founding members still sound good. CenterArts brings TOP to the Van Duzer stage Sunday night.
This coming Tuesday the Jambalaya marks the debut of Savage Henry's C-U-Last Tuesday, a monthly stand-up comedy review planned for every last Tuesday of the month. This one features David Gborie from S.F. plus Stroy Moyd, Andrew Moore, and Humboldt's own Josh Duke. Want more funny? The Ba-Dum-Chh Comedy Crew is invading the Pearl Lounge Thursday night. This is your chance to see Humboldt's "Best Comedian" Sherae O'Shaughnessy in action. (She is funny.) We haven't asked yet, but we might convince her to tell a few jokes Friday night. She'll be at our party. We hope you will be too.