I have to admit it: I am a bit of a Grinch. It isn't because I dislike Christmas as a holiday, mind you; I enjoy the lights and the bonhomie and the carols (the minor-key ones anyway). I even like fruitcake and being cold, though both in very small doses. As I write this I am weaning myself off of the hangover vapors of a Christmas tree decoration party that was kindly forced on me as I listen to the Blade Runner soundtrack and drink something warm.
I don't dislike this holiday at all, but being far left of liberal economically, I despise the monetization of love and goodwill. Every ersatz commercial excuse to con people into spending money they don't have on people who would likely prefer love to material goods — or who have no notion of love at all and are enslaved nihilistic consumption-bots — helps drive my heart closer to the nuclear midnight of pure evil. And I don't want my heart to do that; I would prefer to leave every year's December with my soul intact, so to speak.
However parsimonious I am toward this annual event of gift trading is nothing in comparison with the slim nightlife of this week, though. Things are slowing down and so places are shutting down as the tinseled morning of the 25th looms ahead. That's OK, though. We can still seek out fun in the ebbs of the yuletide even if our stars shine darkly over us, to paraphrase that other famous quote from The Twelfth Night, which doesn't mention music being the food of love. We can always try to make some noise, and to hear some music, and to some have fun. What a gift!
Share it generously.
At 6 p.m. at Phatsy Klein's Lounge in The Historic Eagle House, DJ Marjo Lak is spinning an all vinyl set of vintage Brazilian music spanning the 1950s to the '90s from her private collection. Come on down and shake your Bossa Nova. (Free.)
Seabury Gould and Evan Morden continue their 6:30 p.m. Thursday night residency at Gallagher's Irish Pub and Restaurant. Expect dining room sets of traditional Celtic and Irish tunes. Sláinte mhaith. (Free.)
For Folk Sake will play exactly the sort of set you would expect a guitar, dobro and upright bass trio with that name to play at 6 p.m. at The Mad River Brewery Tasting Room (free). It's a nice setting for those sorts of down-home and earthy sounds, and on these long cold nights we could all use a little beer and a lot of cheer.
Siren's Song hosts a night of hip hop at 8 p.m. when DJ Chuck Angeles presides over "The Naughty List," a night of MCs brought to you by Savage Mentality Entertainment. This evening's rhyme spitters and microphone assassins are kSwag, Maniac the Rapper, James ForeveryZone, Willdabeast &DC, Travii Bondz and Bobby Boe. It might not be "Christmas in Hollis," but for the B-Boys and Girls of Eureka, it'll do. ($10/$5 advance.)
Local classic rock cover band BluEnglish plays its last gig ever tonight at the Blue Lake Casino at 9 p.m. It's tough work being in a cover band and it requires not only great musical chops but a passion and enthusiasm for the songs one plays night after night. Come celebrate that passion this last night with the folks in BluEnglish. (Free.)
Deep Groove Society continues curating its Sundaze series at The Jam. Kicking off at 9:30 p.m., it's a dance party celebrating the eternal flame and sparkle of that wonderful genre of 4/4 808 generated beats: House music. (Price TBA.)
It's that time of the year. The big day for the most western Christian churches (being on the Julian calendar many Eastern Orthodox Churches have to wait until Jan. 7 to celebrate). And while it is also a big day for liquor sales, Chinese restaurants, fans of the NFL (many locals will rejoice as their beloved Raiders take the field against the Eagles at 5:30 p.m.) and rehashing Facebook arguments with extended family in real time, it is not a good day for live music.
Venues are closed today and, as I mentioned above, the music scene in general takes a bit of a hiatus until New Year's Eve. So I can't recommend anything for the live music patron. However, I will say that if Christmas music just gets you down, there is always the blues and gospel, two surefire cures for me when I am feeling seasonal fatigue. Though as the Queen of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson, once pointed out, "Anybody that sings the blues is in a deep pit, yelling for help." If you are in that pit, and music can't lift you up, I ask you in all seriousness to reach out for some help. This season kills some people and no one should have to feel alone when so many others around them are not.
The Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services suggests calling the 24-hour hotline at Sempervirens at 445-7715 if you are having a mental health crisis. Additionally, there is a Monday-Friday, 5 to 10 p.m., Friendship Line if you just want someone to talk to at (888) 448-9777. For the same service over the weekend, including Christmas Eve, there is a Warm Line at 565-4466. If needed, there is also the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Be safe and take care, the world is a better place with all of your voices in it.
Redwoods Raks World Dance Studio hosts its weekly African Dance class at 5:30 p.m. with lessons taught by instructor Dulce Cavallo. When it comes to music, I have always subscribed to the notion that if you can't make it, you'd better learn how to shake it. This is a fine venue for the latter. ($10.)
It's ¡Bomba Sonido! night at Toby and Jack's. Join DJ Gabe Pressure and Zero Juan at 10 p.m. as they play heavy dance favorites from popular tropical subgenres like cumbia, reggaetón, dancehall, Latin house and all points in between. (Free.)
It's Salsa Wednesdays at the Griffin. Dance off those gingerbread men and sugarplum fairies (I am actually never too sure where to land when it comes to sugarplum fairies. Are they an edible sweet treat or a mystical being sacred to the general Christmas Canon of Enchanted Beings? Either way, I'd likely eat one). Staring at 9 p.m. DJs Sondido Pachanguero and East One will play the Puerto Rican and Cuban-influenced hip shaking rhythms loved by the most discerning dancers. (Free.)
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 would like to remind you that what looks like a black cloud is probably just the blues, cynicism is love cloaked in grief and peppermint schnapps are not meant for drinking ever. He lives in Arcata.