I had a one-two punch this week: On Sunday I got to see a beautiful brand new little baby that my friends made and on Monday I spent time in the ICU at St. Joseph Hospital visiting an older friend who is having a tough time after a very invasive cancer surgery. I hope to see both of these people again this week, with the underlying desire that they are both thriving. Life is fragile and often surprising. A baby can spring up out of a pregnant person and be blinking and cooing and sputtering in the world just like that. And, similarly, a big man can be knocked flat into a hospital bed just as helpless as a newborn all over again. Just like that. Life is messy and painful, and life is intrinsically worthwhile. I talk about politics a lot in this column but I have never really commented on the ideological mechanisms behind my own political philosophy. Maybe because I don't get reminded of those ideas enough. Remove the bluster and my caustic ire toward the abusively powerful people of this world, and you are left with what I really believe about the human experience: It's fragile, it's incredibly messy and it's absolutely beyond valuable and deserving of every last effort of nurturing preservation. To those of you who find yourselves lucky enough to be on the outside of both the crib and the hospital bed, I invite you to get every drop of life that you want out of this week.
The Handshakers are playing the Redwood Curtain Brewery at 8 p.m. this evening. This band is one of the best country and western bar bands in the area. Beer, blues and (rule of three, dammit — let's see ... buddies? Yes, that should stick) buddies! Go have some fun; the performance is all-ages and free.
It's the first night of the Eureka Symphony's two-night performance of its holiday showcase "Celestial Celebrations" featuring that grandly truncated classic, Tchaikovsky's
Nutcracker Suite, as well as The Eureka Symphony Chorus belting out some works by Randall Thompson and from the world of cinema. John Hughes' cinema to be exact, as three holiday songs from the movie Home Alone are the pieces in question. Advance tickets are suggested as this is historically a popular performance ($19-$49). The place is the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts, the time is 8 p.m. and there will be rush tickets available an hour before the performance each night ($15, $10 students).
It's a good night to have some fun in Arcata. The Jam is hosting an eclectic and raucous show at 8 p.m. featuring some of my favorite local bands. The Bow-Legged Buzzards will be doing its hybrid sea-shanty, bluegrass, cemetery polka, while The Sturgeons will be jamming on the outboard motor propelled, thrash and surf power trio sound that I have come to know and love. The boys in Blacksage Runners have the blues yelp on tap and a band called Grag that I have yet to hear apparently has some type of benzo-fueled black metal sound, if Facebook is to be believed ($5-$10). Well it's almost 2020, let's stop believing Facebook and come see for ourselves instead, eh?
Two hours later over at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, you will find a mini version of seminal Bay Area hip-hop act Living Legends, when two of its legends hit the stage. I'm talking about Murs and The Grouch, of course, who are on the 12th and allegedly final iteration of their winter tour series How the Grouch Stole Christmurs. ($25, $20 advance). Also on tap for the night are DJs Fresh and Gabe Pressure, as well as Pure Powers and Dr. Oop.
Singer, songwriter, modern bluesman and delightfully anachronistic lover of the Piedmont style of fingerpicked blues Charlie Parr will be at Humbrews this evening. I like many of Mr. Parr's influences from the aforementioned midsouth-Atlantic players to heavy Delta players like Bukka White. And I also enjoy Mr. Parr's music, especially in our dreadful age of highly redundant disposable sleekness. He'll be playing at 8 p.m. ($10). Will you be there?
There's a new band in town and it will be at the Miniplex at 9 p.m. Death Like the Old Days is a throwback Pacific Northwest trio featuring members of the short-lived but rad MRDR MTN, as well as veteran guitarist and creator Oryan from Datura Blues and Die Geister Beschwören, who will also be performing. Portland's Mentat folk act Crowey rounds out the bill (price TBA).
Marco Benevento is coming back to town. I'm excited and you should be, too, because this New York jazz weirdo's music is a rare combination of virtuosity, danceable playfulness and utterly catchy songwriting. I can't endorse this show enough. The last time I saw him at Humbrews, where he'll be appearing tonight at 9 p.m., was some years back and I still occasionally think about how good that set was. His effect-pedal-enhanced acoustic piano is one of the wonders of our modern world — organic and also electronic without the sclerotic coldness of purely digital music. It's the bee's cybernetically augmented knees ($15).
Omni is a post-punk trio from Atlanta whose bright and hollow static sound reminds me of an era of songs about buildings and food when pink flags were flying everywhere. The Miniplex hosts this show tonight with local free radicals Comma Comma and DJ Rosé at 9 p.m. ($10).
I sometimes do sound production at this venue but I will likely be at this show regardless of whether I am on call because it sounds like a hoot.
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.
Collin Yeo would like to announce that this last decade has been a bit of a "lost one" and that he will be working on getting his shit together posthaste. He prefers he/him and lives in Arcata.