There's something about those couple of weeks leading up the end of the year, when it seems like half the people you pass on the sidewalk are stressed — holiday shopping and finals will do that to a person — and the other half are excited for Santa, family time and a break from school. As a student, I could procrastinate with the best of 'em (and let's be honest, as a regular workin' Jill, that hasn't really changed), but I often found my motivation to power through in a good, live show; something powerful enough that I could get home afterward and use the leftover energy to bang out a paper, return a handful of emails and make some Christmas presents.
That motivation is coming together Thursday, Dec. 10 at Humboldt Brews, where Sallie Ford and Tacocat are tearing things up. Ford, formerly backed by The Sound Outside, and Tacocat have played locally a handful of times and have quite the following. This time around, Ford is backed by her newer "all girl" band, which released an album called Slap Back last year. Most of the tracks are straight-forward, lo-fi rock, great for dancing or swaying, whichever your style. Tacocat also released a new album last year, called NVM, which reminds me a lot of some of my favorite bands from the late '90s. The band has a song called "Crimson Wave" (about "that time of the month") that's a crack-up. There's a $15 cover, worth every penny for two fantastic touring bands.
In addition to the ladycentric show at Humbrews, how about two nights of experimental world fusion and electronic music with a world renowned professional belly dancer at the Arcata Theater? Beats Antique has sold out every show it's played in Humboldt over the last six years, according to Matty Roberts from World Famous Productions, and I expect no less for this Friday and Saturday night. "[Beats Antique] usually plays venues much larger than anything in Humboldt," says Roberts, "so it's really nice to experience them in such an intimate setting." The group puts a lot of energy into its stage production, from the stage props, lighting and instrumentation (band geeks will enjoy the clarinet, violin and full drum kit, accompanying the electronic music tools) to belly dancer Zoe Jakes, who performs as part of the ensemble.
Beats Antique will share the stage with west coast hip-hop artist Lafa Taylor on Friday night, and alternative hip-hop producer and DJ Amp Live (he also happens to be half of Zion I) on Saturday. Advance tickets are $25 while they last, and $30 at the door (if they last).
Attention dancers: Jakes, who teaches belly dance around the world, is holding two dance workshops on Saturday at Redwood Raks, in Arcata's Creamery Building. From Noon to 2 p.m., she'll do an "old school belly dance" workshop, then from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., she'll teach pop-lock choreography ("Just what it sounds like!" according to the Facebook event page). Workshops are $35 each, or $60 for both, and reservations are necessary. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 616-6876 to secure your spot.
Arts! Arcata (see full art and music listings on page 32), 6 to 9 p.m. Don't forget to visit Santa in Jacoby's Storehouse!
Jazz Trio with Michael Curran, Jim Wild and Damien Roomets at Persimmons Garden Gallery in Redway, 7 p.m. Curran and Holly Sweet will also do a reading and signing of their new children's joke book, Just Kidding. No cover for this family event.
Pink Martini, 8 p.m. at the Van Duzer Theater at HSU. Multilingual, multicultural music spanning Cuban dance music, samba, classical chamber music and more. Tickets are $25 for HSU students, $56 for the general public.
Kingfoot (modern Americana originals by singer Joe King) and Jeff DeMark (a couple of stories and songs with fellow LaPatina Knick Moore) at the Logger Bar in Blue Lake, 9 p.m. No cover on this one (and worth far more, from what I hear!), so tip the bands well.
SantaCon Eureka, a Santa-themed bar hop, noon at the Shanty. Come in your best Santa Claus outfit (or best variation thereof). The event will somehow benefit Food for People.
Blue Lake Art Night, 6 to 8 p.m. around the booming, artsy metropolis of Blue Lake. Live music, art and food at businesses. While I haven't received a list of the hot spots, the town isn't very big. Park by Dell'Arte or Mad River Brewery and see where your feet take you.
Va Va Voom Revue: Ophelia Cox's Birthday Soiree and Ho-Ho-Holiday Show featuring world famous burlesque star Jeez Loueez from Chicago and Ophelia Coeur De Noir from the Bay Area, with music by Pressure Anya at the Eureka Theater, 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, $12 in advance. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Emma Center and Eureka Theater restoration.
Heart of a Dog, a film by Lou Reed's widow, Laurie Anderson, at Richard's Goat Tavern, 5 p.m. Described as a "documentary on love, death and (Anderson's) piano playing rat terrier," and dedicated to Reed. There is a $5 cover. This film will have its final run at Richard's Goat the following Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 16 and 17, at 7 p.m. The cover is $8 for those two showings.
John Prine, the songwriter all of the other songwriters claim as an influence, at the Van Duzer Theater, 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 for HSU students or $76 for the general public. NOTE: There were literally FIVE tickets left as of the beginning of this week. They could be yours, if you act quickly! (What a great pre-Christmas present, eh?)
Monica Topping has been involved in just about every aspect of the local music scene at some point or another over the last couple decades. It doesn't take much arm twisting to get her out of the house for a show ... as long as she can find a babysitter.