I'm finally kicking the flu but I am not at full speed, so this has been a slow and wet week. I tried going out but didn't do well with that and ended up crawling back into my lair to listen to blues music and dispense sluggish and hazy bon mots to my friends and family via text and Facebook. Early nights are good for mending the immune system but are not a part of my typical routine. That dreadful existential tug the younger set calls "fear of missing out" has got me looking at the sunrise upon waking up with the sort of bitter apprehension usually associated with cemetery ghouls and other unclean things. I feel evil, which sounds pretty cool, but it's not a sexy Dracula kind of evil; more like a pathetic Burke and Hare sort of evil lackey scuttling around the fringes of society like a leper. It's gross being gross.
However, I am stoked about the shows this week. There are some real knockouts rolling through town and I intend to see at least a couple of them. Also, since I have been living off of oranges and noodles, my entertainment fund is a little fatter than usual for the end of the month — perhaps I can go up a shelf or two when I order cocktails this week in the noisy evenings. There we are, some silver linings. Silver linings that are more than just the tinseled strands of the waning gibbous moon tickling the skin of my rejuvenating body as I lay in the necrotic pit of my bedroom. Actually, I just did a nice and thorough cleaning of my bedroom — the final step of recovery for me — so it's really more of a charming spot than a charnel one. What a delight.
Have a nice week.
Tonight is a good night for hearing the human voice in its most spectacular setting: the live stage. Up the hill at the Van Duzer Theater Ladysmith Black Mambazo brings its South African gospel finesse and Zulu footwork to crack the boards at 7 p.m. ($49). Although many in the industry of sound refer to Paul Simon's Graceland album as the best example of a gated drum sound from the big production days of the '80s, it is better known among fans as the introduction of this group's stunning vocal harmonies and melodies to the world stage. The years haven't slowed the singers down at all, so come join members old and new as they cover the group's half century catalog of peace songs. You can read my interview with tenor Albert Mazibuko at www.northcoastjournal.com.
Earl Thomas was born in Tennessee but he cut his teeth as a singer in our small town of Arcata while he was attending Humboldt State University in the 1980s. Perhaps best known on the charts for his tune "I Sing The Blues," which was a minor hit for Etta James, he has spent the last three decades building up a reputation as one of the greatest blues singers alive today. When he plays Humbrews tonight at 9:30 p.m., expect a fiery gutful of glorious heaviness ($18, $15 advance). Treat him like the returning hometown hero he is with a champion's welcome. He's earned it and then some.
The Palm Lounge in the Eureka Inn has a shapeshifting ambience. On an early or an off night, it has an eerie Bardo-esque waiting room of the dead feel; a comforting dreamland where neither the void nor human existence can touch you — low ceilings and a snazzy bar! On a busy night or with a live music act, it transforms into a gallery of oddness, like a lost generation party at the Overlook Hotel if it had a progressive view toward LSD micro-dosing back then. How will the room feel during a punk show? Come find out tonight at 8 p.m. when a local trio of loud bands, Dead Drift, Clam Hammer and Imperial Destructo rock the Casbah (price TBA).
Imagine the up-tempo, chugging drone of a Krautrock-inspired rhythm section with a wild and jagged lead guitar in a mix lanced through the center by vocals that sound like an improbable blend of Gary Numan and the Go-Go's. That's a bit of what Los Angeles' Flying Hair sounds like and if you don't believe me you can find out for yourself at 11 p.m. at the Alibi. ($5). Local high and lonesome cactus crooners Oppossum Sun Trail open.
Maybe you are one of those staid and collared types who is in bed by nine and has a nice morning every morning because you understand the importance of rest and self-care. Or perhaps you are more like me and the odds are even that you spent Saturday night chasing the kind of fun that comes with a bottle redemption value and a headache. Either way, you need to eat so perhaps come and to the Bayside Community Center from 8 a.m. (ugh) to noon for Breakfast in Bayside and enjoy the music of the Humboldt Music Academy Fiddlers ($8, $5 kids and seniors). If you are feeling tender-headed, folks will be selling mimosas along with breakfast so there is that taken care of.
Redwood Curtain is hosting a free and open bluegrass jam from 7 to 9 p.m. so grab your dobro, banjo, guitar, fiddle, washboard, upright bass, tub bass, jaw harp, mandolin, banjolin, mandola or harmonica and come join in!
Saxophonist Arrington de Dionyso and drummer Ben Bennett have been touring under the moniker This Saxophone Kills Fascists and are noted for their ability to merge the vitriolic protest of punk music with the supreme love sonic cavalcade of free jazz in a fascinating way. They will be supported tonight at The Outer Space by local raga raging music collective Medicine Baul and Eureka's queer-folk artist Julio Lopezhiler at 7 p.m. ($6). Come and feel the clouds lift a little and the smoke make way for the dawn of a better day.
The last two decades saw a bit of a renaissance for loud and heavy Japanese psyche bands. From the melodic ecstatic glory of Boredoms to the mind-melting shatter of DMBQ, the island nation has a knack for creating bands which recycle tired rock clichés into a new sound that might be unlistenably pretentious and obtuse with Western hands deep in the mix. One such band is Green Milk From the Planet Orange, a Tokyo band whose sound is defined by the vocal and instrumental interplay of founding members A on drums and occasional synth, and dead k on guitar. The Miniplex hosts them tonight at 9 p.m. with support provided for by local metallic knockouts War Möth ($10).
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.
Collin Yeo is built for comfort, he ain't built for speed. He lives in Arcata.