Technology giveth, and technology taketh away. I've been pondering this thought for a while now. I won't claim to be a fully out-of-the-closet Luddite, but compared to many — my children especially — I am far more wary of the trade off between what we get from technology and what we give to technology. Specifically, I'm less trusting of technology that falls under social networking as opposed to general advances into scientific and/or medical technology. If human brainpower can create new technology showing promise regarding prescreening certain types of cancers, then I'm all for it. If that same amount of human brainpower is spent designing technology in the form of a new algorithm or app to make the process of liking a photo of someone's bowl of soup more fun, I'm far less able to say that's brainpower well spent. I wouldn't be surprised to find out the engineering brainpower spent developing a Pokémon app or dating software (i.e. entertainment) has a much more lucrative monetary return than that same energy spent trying to get humans to Mars. And I'd venture that many more of our great minds are directed toward digital social entertainment than great scientific achievements advancing humanity. Who could blame them? Since a good majority of us click, like, thumbs up, and SnapChat our way through our days, it's not surprising there's a whole industry built to support those habits. But what do we get for all of our clicks?
According to a new study detailed in the Harvard Business Review — about Facebook specifically, if I recall — we get more depressed and more socially isolated in relation to time spent on social media. We're spending more and more time staring at our phones, tablets and computers etc. And the more we do that, the more we develop habits of chasing that "like," "love" or "thumbs up" we might get online. We become addicted to "checking in." Our attention spans collectively shrink. The time we spend in the world and in ourselves diminishes. The trade off isn't working. At least not for us. We play less, sing less, dance less and go out less. Musicians in their own right spend more and more of their time making sure their Facebook pages, Bandcamp pages, Instagram accounts and Twitter accounts are up to date and "engaging" their audiences. They have to. That's become equally as important — if not more so — than engaging real bodies and minds at actual gigs. Technology is a wonderful thing and can change our lives for the better, but it can also come with a heavy price. It has become far too easy for us to become endlessly entertained with the toys we have created. Break free this week and get out to some shows.
Tonight the Miniplex in Arcata is hosting Seattle band Mommy Long Legs, who come out of the feminist punk scene of the Queen City and who are making their Humboldt debut (I think). Local "femme-nasty" rap duo Vagsicle — think Talking Heads art performance blending with some part of The Beastie Boys and a secret musical sauce — out of Blue Lake join Arcata's Clean Girl & The Dirty Dishes as the local support for this 9 p.m. and $5 show.
Thick grooves are on the bill at The Arcata Theatre Lounge around 8 p.m. courtesy of local reggae jammers The Dubbadubs along with Stonechild and trippy-pysch DJs The Desert Dwellers. Harnessing exotic instruments, eastern scales and reverb-drenched foreign female vocals, these dwellers of the desert bring you something you might hear in a yoga tent at Burning Man in the midday once the mushrooms start to kick in. Skip the playa dust; tickets are $30 at the door. Local champs of getting down, The Getdown, will be getting the dance floor moving at The Wave Lounge in the Blue Lake Casino at 9 p.m. with a free show going into the wee hours of the morning. Claire Bent and Citizen Funk will be hitting the Hum Brews stage at 9:30 p.m. and $5 will get you into this funkfest. Another Seattle band is in our neck of the woods courtesy of the Low Hums who are stopping by The Alibi. They count a lot of influences, some among the early psychedelic area such as Pink Floyd, The Velvet Underground, Dead Moon and some early British Invasion bands like Them and The Rolling Stones. With some freakiness from that era and some sounds you might have heard on the radio in the late '90s, the band is on the road promoting their recent release of Shine Rock, so feel free to pick up a copy tonight. Local surf-punkers The Sturgeons will be anchoring the show, which starts around 11 p.m. with only a $5 cover charge.
Some salmon action is on the bill tonight at the Inn at 2nd & C (formerly the Eagle House Victorian Inn) in Eureka, where there is a seafood dinner and benefit concert for local fishermen and salmon protectors. The dinner starts around 6 p.m. but if you just want to get in for the music from Diggin' Dirt and Irie Rockers, $25 is all they'll ask from you. All proceeds from this event go to Salmon Action and will be split between Save the Klamath Trinity Salmon and Klamath Water Protectors along with the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Association. For more info drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org. Up in Blue Lake, you'll find local Americana/rockers/swingers the Delta Nationals at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room at 6 p.m. As with all MRB shows, this one's free and all ages. Local surf-rockers Band O Loko are stopping by Six Rivers Brewery in McKinleyville at 9 p.m. for a free show. Welcome them at their first performance at the Brewery. Local Pink Floyd tribute Money (yours truly included) returns to The Logger Bar in Blue Lake around the same time to play a free show with some of your favorite Floyd tunes. If the '80s is more your scene, stop by The Wave Lounge in the Blue Lake Casino for local superheroes Eyes Anonymous playing more hits than you remembered were from that decade. It's also a 9 p.m. show and free.
Although Friday is still far out of sight, sneak on up to the Mad River Brewery Tap room at 6 p.m. this evening to catch some jazz from Blue Lotus. They'll start around 6 p.m. and go until about 8:30 p.m. and all for free. Bring the kids as well — just keep 'em away from the beer.
Didn't get enough jazz last night at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room? Return this evening as The RLA Jazz Trio with Paula & Don will be doing their thing for you and the family. Same deal as last night — and most nights — with a 6 p.m. start time and free enjoyment.
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.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Album of the Week Show on KWPT 100.3 FM Tuesdays at 6 p.m. He's glad Tinder wasn't around in Beethoven's time.