If you've been holed up since New Year's trying to stay dry through our winter storms, you've got a full weekend of events to check out. You can start out tonight at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room at 6 p.m. for free "alternative folk/rock" tunes from Cygne. Local poet Jerry Martien will get some musical support tonight at the Arcata Playhouse from local friend Fred Neighbor along with the heavy-hitting Thad Beckman Trio at 8 p.m. A touring musician for 30 plus years, Thad brings the roots and blues to the singer-songwriter genre. He's been a hired gun for Bo Diddley, B.B. King and Albert Collins, and has shared the stage with The Band and Emmylou Harris, to name a few. So you know this guy isn't messing around. He's bringing his band to the Playhouse for two nights and for only $15 a show. Jumping back in time one hour, you'll find the godfathers of ska-punk, the Voodoo Glow Skulls, returning to Eureka at 7 p.m. They'll be sharing this punk bill — at a fitting venue, the Eureka Veteran's Hall — with Buck-O-Nine out of San Diego, who've been playing together since '91, and from Australia, The Porkers, who are celebrating 30 years as a band. It's $20 for this punk fest. I'm trying to imagine any punkers torn between seeing the above-mentioned show or heading over to Hum Brews for some "slamgrass" courtesy of said-grass pioneers, Leftover Salmon. Always a favorite of the Humboldt jamgrass scene, LoS is joined by local heroes the Absynth Quartet, whom you may have just heard on NYE. $30 for this 9 p.m. show.
Back in Blue Lake, get your ears ready for some "eclectic acoustic mayhem" courtesy of your space pilot for the evening, Kaptain Kirk's Kosmic Koncoction. As is custom, this Mad River Brewery Tap Room show will start at 6 p.m. and will be free. I've been hearing from a few folks about the Bryan Sutton Band, in town tonight opening up The Old Steeple's Winter Season in Ferndale. Bryan's no slouch on the guitar. Having won a Grammy playing with Doc Watson and getting to play with the likes of Dolly Parton and Ricky Skaggs, he's an immense talent to come to our neck of the woods (he's also played with a plethora of other big names in the country music world, some whose music I won't let reflect poorly on Bryan). He's also a nine-time International Bluegrass Music Association Guitar Player of the Year, so there's that, too. He and his band take the stage at 7:30 p.m. and you should bring $30 to get in. Local musician and storyteller Jeff DeMark has gone crazy — which won't surprise many — and has lived to tell about it (perhaps more surprising). He'll be performing his show "Writing My Way Out of Adolescence" tonight at the Humboldt Light Opera Company's The Space. He's performed this show across the country so it's a treat to catch it locally. I've not seen the full show before but I've heard enough of Jeff's stories regarding bad acid trips, hanging out with Bob Dylan and being hauled off by the cops in his birthday suit to want to check this out. Jeff politely declined to be interviewed for this column but he did provide me with the following self portrait explaining that this "big nose storyteller, now eligible for the senior discount will tell wacked-out stories of lying to a one-eyed nun, stealing a car and breaking into a nudist camp, going to a rock fest in the middle of Illinois and ending up babbling on the outer asteroid belt of psychedelic consciousness. He's a bratwurst bohemian, chillin' but still occasionally grillin'. Let him drop some storytelling science on your young-ass skulls." I couldn't have intrigued you more myself. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and is $15. Miss the Thad Beckman Trio last night at The Arcata Playhouse? They're on the stage again tonight at 8 p.m. for $15. Miss Leftover Salmon and Absynth Quartet last night at Hum Brews? They're on the stage again tonight at 9 p.m. for $30.
Some might say the more sane of the DeMark brothers reached out to let me know that the Honky Tonk Detours will be at one of their usual joints tonight, the Mad River Brewery Tap Room, at 6 p.m. for free. Paul also mentioned that Mark Jeffares of The Trouble — now comfortable in his dad jeans — has become a full-time member of the Detours. If I were Paul (I'm not) I'd say (he didn't) check this show out instead of the weird one-time nudist hippie down at HLOC's The Space in Sunnybrae. That's right, Jeff DeMark's back at it again tonight (more details above). Also at 7:30 p.m., the Fortuna Concert Series presents one of the world's premier Celtic harpists, Patrick Bell, at the Fortuna Monday Club. Pay $10 for this captivating show. For you Talking Heads fans who always wondered why your hill-living reggae friends couldn't quite get into the Heads, tonight might be your chance to convince them. Hum Brews is hosting The Talking Dreads tonight (see where this is going?). At 9:30 p.m. catch this Caribbean take on the Head's music. It'll be recognizable enough to you and it'll have reggae rhythms to relax the dance moves a bit. It's $10 to get in and if anyone has an oversized Rasta-colored suit, you should get in for free.
Fans of vocal harmonies (who isn't?), you've got a real treat tonight at the Arcata Playhouse. Chicago-based "pop vocal super-group" The Flat Five is on the road supporting their debut album It's a World of Love and Hope. As I repeat that album title to myself a few times and wonder what world these folks are from, I have to assume that they are a little more optimistic than I am. Also far more talented. In their singular capacities, they've played music with folks like Neko Case, The Decemberists, Andrew Bird, Mavis Staples, Iron and Wine, and The New Pornographers, as a quick snapshot. Kudos to them for mentioning that this album was "100% band-financed," which leads me to believe that there was no begging on Kickstarter or anything like that. Since they didn't hit you up to help them record their album, you can now give them money for the album if you like it. That's $16 for students, $18 for everyone else, and the show starts around 8 p.m.
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. Paul or Jeff? You decide.