Humboldt! I hope you've been getting enough sleep and eating well because we've got a busy weekend ahead. Please note the following options and plan accordingly.
Thursday: Stellar hip-hop
Call this the "most legit show of the week": Oakland hip-hop duo Zion I, with special guests Los Rakas and Locksmith at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. On the heels of the boom-bap oriented Masters of Ceremony EP, Zion I drops Libations, the reflective second installment of their three-part series. The album's more introspective feel stems from a friend of the band passing away suddenly — Zion I refers to the record as "a prayer" in some ways, a sonic "pouring out" to a lost friend. Doors at 9 p.m., music at 10 p.m., tickets $18 advance at Wildberries, People's Records and The Works, $20 general, show is 21-and-over.
Friday: Electronic ecstacy
Taking over Toph's down in Garberville is MartyParty, a South African-born, Brooklyn native who's been busy seducing North America with his varying flavors of hip-hop, trap, dubstep and EDM. Tickets are $18, available in advance from www.brownpapertickets.com. Show starts at 9 p.m. Bring an ID if you're hoping to buy booze.
Friday: You will get down
Arcata's reigning 10-piece heavy funk band Motherlode is revving up for an exciting year of touring and a new album, says drummer Pete Ciotti. The band is kicking things off with a gig at the Jambalaya, with popular local faves Liquid Kactus opening. Tickets are $10 and available at the door, which opens at 9 p.m. Show is 21-and-over.
Friday: Hey, an alt-rock show!
Brooklyn-based, Americana-influenced rock band Animal Years plays at Humboldt Brews with A-town/C-City's Fire Pony opening. Tickets are only $10, show is 21-and-over and begins at 9 p.m. Trivia bonus: Animal Years' video for "Forget What They're Telling You" stars True Blood's Bailey Noble.
Friday: Low-effort option
Want to just kick back with a cocktail and enjoy some retro-rock? The Bucket Listers play for free at the The Clam Beach Inn, 9 p.m., 21-and-over.
Saturday: From the City of Angels
Josephine Johnson returns to Arcata to perform her signature style of lyric-driven, post-folk rock at the Arcata Playhouse. Johnson, who relocated to Los Angeles last January and has been involved in that city's music scene, is looking forward to her Arcata return. "Getting back to Humboldt puts me in touch with my roots, the formative years of my songwriting," she said, "and I will get to play music with some of the kindest, hardest working musicians in the community." Joining her for the night will be guitarist Piet Dalmolen (Free Rain, Full Moon Fever), bassist Dan Davis (Wild Otis) and drummer Jay Forbes (Strix Vega, Full Moon Fever). Local acid-country, gloom-grass duo Electro Saloon (Colin Begell, Alanna Powell) open — their sound a comforting twang of pensive lyrics and decisive fiddle. The evening also showcases local art and poetry with Therese FitzMaurice and Matt Beard.
Johnson is asking showgoers to bring one or more canned food items for a Food for People collection barrel. Food and money go directly to support Food for People's recovery efforts after having lost a full shipment of food when a delivery vehicle perished in a fiery crash in December. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the show beginning at 8 p.m.
Saturday: Murder ballads
Frank Fairfield takes you into the darkness and leads you out through the other side via old-timey down-home songs straight out of Appalachia. Think of it as an existential confirmation – with fiddle, guitar and banjo. He's joined by Meredith Axelrod at the Sanctuary. Doors at 7:30 p.m., tickets $10 to $20 at the door. All ages.
Saturday: Better than church
Singer-songwriter Ryan Montbleau's music is the kind that makes you happier and a better person for listening. Find him at Humboldt Brews with compatriot and fellow "road dog" Cris Jacobs, former frontman of Baltimore's The Bridge. Tickets are $15, doors at 9 p.m., 21-and-over.
Saturday: 'Sweet and dread'
I'm going to go with the artist's description here: "Sammy Dread epitomizes the magical radiance of the Jamaican roots singer who delivers a visionary philosophy that yearns for a stolen past and knows that music must be both sweet and dread for people to understand." This roots reggae gig is at the Jambalaya, 10 p.m., $15, 21-and-over.
Saturday: Hey, a punk show!
Ensuring we have a punk rock option: Arcata's The Mother Vines and Eureka's Dead Drift at the Alibi, 11 p.m., $3, 21-and-over. Dead Drift notes, "We are a traditional punk rock trio from Arcata drawing comparisons to The Lawrence Arms." Consider yourselves informed.
Sunday: Deeply delicious electropop
Another big show at the ATL — Giraffage aka San Francisco-based producer and beat guru Charlie Yin, makes a stop on his No Reason Tour, with Spazzkid and Rhizae. Giraffage's signature sound has won him praise from musical tastemakers Pitchfork ("dynamism and depth that's always powered his music") and XLR8R ("bedroom dream pop"), which sounds pretty sweet, right? Doors open at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, recommended in advance and the show is 21-and-over.
San Francisco's Howlin' Rain offers an invigorating combination of psychedelic blues, funk and classic 1970s stadium rock at Humboldt Brews. The Blank Tapes open. Tickets are $15, show starts at 9 p.m., 21-and-over.
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 email@example.com.