Love is pretty wild, isn't it? There isn't a lot of raw data suggesting that love as a pursuit will pay out in dependable dividends of domestic comfort. The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus suggested that a lack of pain and a tranquility brought on by a dearth of fear over one's mortality were the keys to the height of happiness. Do those sound like they are the rudiments of romantic love? No, because romance is so much messier than happiness.
But we still do it and it's probably for the better. We should love each other and we should perhaps love a special few even more than the regulation rations allow. We can be specialized, we can be selective, we can home in on our targets. But we can never fully choose how romantic love hits, can we? It's often a big, wet, mushy goober that ignores our better instincts and so often props up some fairly shitty candidates with terrible resumes. What the hell are we all doing?
We are living our best lives, I suppose, all following the roots of our desire.
With that in mind, try to get some goodness out of it this week, please.
The Duncan Burgess Trio is back at it again down in the Basement tonight at 8 p.m. (free). Duncan is probably one of the best jazz guitarists in the 707 and an all-around entertaining and knowledgeable fella to boot. If you want to hear music from a better era done right, this is your evening.
Friday (Valentine's Day)
It's the holiday of love. Sometimes I find myself recommending heartbroken or vigorously non-couple-friendly events on this day as a salve for the bitter, lovelorn or romantically unemployable among us. However, it's a Friday night and I've found something perfectly appropriate for singles or doubles (or more, it's a brave new world after all, and who am I to judge?). There's a Barn Dance over at the Arcata Veteran's Hall at 7 p.m. that is worth our attention. Striped Pig String Band will be providing the tunes, and Lyndsey Battle will be calling the dances, which I am told require no previous experience or a partner. Just show up and give it a try. ($10, $5 Humboldt Folklife Society/Arcata Playhouse Members, students, seniors and veterans; children under 12 get in free).
Inscrutable Rabbit is a trio helmed by Jeff DeMark, with his brother Paul and the talented veteran guitarist John Dillon on guitar. Named after a statuette procured by Jeff at a street market in my erstwhile hometown of New Orleans, the group mixes original songs with storytelling and homages to make for an original concert. Tonight's performance at the Westhaven Center for the Performing Arts features the singer/songwriter Tim Breed and will involve the music of the late, great Doug Sahm. Catch it at 7:30 p.m. ($6-$10 sliding scale).
Meanwhile at 9 p.m. way down south county, the legendary Steel Pulse returns to the Mateel Community Center for a night of OG reggae. Local dub favorites Irie Rockerz open up the night's smoke-bala ($40, $35 advance).
Treasured American ex-pat humorist and the man whose elfin voice was truly made for the written word, David Sedaris returns to our homeland to preach the art of the perfectly-honed story this evening at the Van Duzer Theatre at 7 p.m. I've probably read nearly everything by this son of Lou, brother of Amy and Paul (and more), so I'm a bit of a biased source when I tell you that if you can swing the $66 ticket, you should go listen to this weird little man speak. He's a delight, a comic genius and a modern lighthouse for those of us laboring in broke obscurity waiting for our own shot at the marquee.
Chicago's Ezra Furman is back in town at the Miniplex for an evening of Bruce Springsteen-tinged brilliance at 9 p.m. ($15). The last time Furman was in town it was to promote the excellent Transangelic Exodus record, and the show was splendid. Tonight ought to be better because he is joined by Sub Pop artist and San Francisco transplant tunesmith Kelley Stoltz, whose musical CV is basically a soundtrack of the best underground Bay Area sounds from the last 20 years.
The Sanctuary has an artist residence showcase tonight at 8 p.m. Ithaca, New York's Matthew Puleo and Jessie Gray roll through dark electronic sounds to make a contemporary sonic landscape of jazzy strife while Portland, Oregon's Claire Rigsby and Keegan Kyle make hay with a piece called Palindrome Machines ($10-$25 sliding scale). FYI, this is also the last day to register to vote in California in person, email or via postmarked mail for the primary. And you don't want to mess that up, do you?
There's a good folk and country bill happening tonight at 9 p.m. as simpatico modern acoustic troubadours Willy Tea Taylor and The Sam Chase join forces at Humbrews for some roots music ($15). Expect soulful and sincere songwriting and delivery, which is something of a rarity these days.
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 prefers he/him pronouns and thinks that it's cool that Rashida Tlaib booed Hillary Clinton for bad-mouthing Bernie Sanders. He lives in Arcata, where he will continue to celebrate his political heroes and boo the zeroes.