It's time for the big walk this weekend and no, I'm not talking about the trip into the Pacific Ocean that I've got booked for sometime in the next 40 years in lieu of a functioning retirement plan because the world is dying and the previous generations have destroyed the notion of upward economic mobility. I am talking instead about a much more optimistic and beautiful walk, specifically the one which ends with a freshly minted college graduate and a diploma. My roommate is consummating his first major education achievement this Saturday at the Redwood Bowl — congratulations, Shea! — and we are throwing a big deck BBBQ at my house in celebration. (As a nod to The Simpsons, the extra B in BBBQ is for BYOB because we are a household of students and working class proles, after all.) Anyway, congratulations to all of the graduates and their families. What follows in this column are some very good suggestions on how to celebrate your new spawning into adulthood. Gift of Gab from Blackalicious is in town! How swell is that? We also have indie heroes, electronic space invaders, psychedelic warlocks and war-ladies, and a fine trio on Sub Pop records called Moaning to help bring us into the quiet salad days of summer.
So please disregard my moaning, it's mostly gallows humor, and instead focus on my literary hero Bertie Wooster's favorite Robert Browning poem, "Pippa's Song":
The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearl'd;
The Lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven —
All's right with the world!
Have a nice week.
It's that time of year when the students graduate and the streets and motels become briefly congested. It's also the time of year when you can enjoy free senior recitals from the talented music department at Humboldt State University. Tonight at 8 p.m. Fulkerson Hall will host the recital of Eric Tolfa, a talented young man who will be performing original pieces as well as pieces from other artists from around the world. The instruments involved include marimba, bass clarinet and trumpet and the first movement of Mr. Tolfa's original duet for flute and piano, "Into The Void," is featured in the program.
Gift of Gab is the lyrical half of talented Sacramento hip hop duo Blackalicious. Tonight he is appearing in a locals-heavy show at the Jam at 9 p.m. ($20, $15 advance). I've seen Blackalicious a few times in Humboldt and have always walked away with a high opinion. One needs only to look up the now-viral track "Alphabet Aerobics" to see what I am talking about. Included in tonight's lineup is Little Kid Lost with B. Swizlo, Hiway, DJ Just One, Nac One and my homie Big Jay, aka DJ Goldylocks. Live art will be provided by Julia Finkelstein and there will a free all-ages meet and greet with the headliner at the Fatbol Store at 6 p.m.
Barbara Manning was a mainstay of the West Coast lo-fi indie rock scene in the '80s and '90s, having released many albums during that time on labels of note like Matador, K Records and Teenbeat. Her now-defunct bands World of Pooh and SF Seals paved the way for the sort of twee sports-referencing songs that later labelmates Belle and Sebastian would take to the bank many times over. Tonight she is playing Siren's Song at 9 p.m., appearing on a perfect bill made of bands who have followed in the wake of her considerable musical influence. Those groups are Blood Hunny and Monster Women, two formidable champions in the lineage of local indie songsters ($5).
Moaning is a trio from Los Angeles that traffics in the kind of post-punk urgency that made Placebo and Interpol household names two decades ago. And even though that aesthetic often presents itself with the brutalist architecture of terminally serious band photos — thank you Ian Curtis and the rest of Joy Division — I am a complete and total sucker for the form. The band's music totally blasts too, so tonight's 7 p.m. show at the Outer Space should be a special one ($7-$20 sliding scale). Local dreamweavers mister moonbeam and Spirit Notes should provide plenty of pineal provender for all assembled lovers and dreamers.
The always fantastic Opossum Sun Trail celebrates its return from a mini-tour — tour-ette? — with a hometown CD release party for its newest offering, Strontium Highway, at the Miniplex tonight at 9 p.m. ($5). Come join my pal Dieter and co. and score a record or a cactus skull from the merch table during a night of utter lone range-trippin' fun. Along for this stardust-y ride is the superb sound machine known as D3D and globe hoppin' local journeymen cosmonauts White Manna. Don't be shy, get in the mix.
I caught Tristan Norton gigging with Lovebush last Friday and I can say that the man can really play guitar masterfully and with taste. Catch him tonight at a solo cover-free gig at the Creamery Building at 6 p.m. to hear him work through a repertoire of blues, folk, jazz and various American tunes.
It's Whomp Whomp Wednesday at the Jam again tonight at 9:30 p.m. ($10). Come enjoy an evening dedicated to the deepest of grooves possible in the bass-heavy world of electronic dance music. Tonight's celebrants are Hullabalo0, Masta Shredda, Pägån and OrangeKhemist. If a club-sized dose of bespoke electric pandemonium is attractive to you, come and get some.
The Outer Space hosts an interesting Pacific Northwest hybrid punk show tonight at 7 p.m. Memory Boys are from Langley, Washington, and play minor-key punk songs fitting for the often gloomy rainscape of Whidbey Island. WEEED is a quintet from Portland, Oregon, that specializes in experimental sound jams played on all sorts of instruments, from strings to synths to flutes. Imagine Nirvana but instead of the grunge band, the actual state of nirvana.
Opening the evening will be local digital/analog mutants CV and, like most Space shows these days, admission is a sliding scale of $7-$20. Come and get it.