You might want to start getting comfortable up in Blue Lake in the run up to the Humboldt Folklife Festival. Start off this evening at the Mad River Brewery with folky fiddle tunes from Fingal, which will be starting it up around 6 p.m. and for free. Remember, kids and dogs are welcome, but leashes for both are preferred. For something completely different, international Afrobeat grooves are on the menu at Humboldt Brews tonight at 9 p.m., courtesy of Barcelona's Alma Afrobeat Ensemble. Welcome them to our northern slice of California with a $10 bill at the door. The Jam in Arcata hosts bass heavyweight Bobby Vega and Prairie Prince tonight at 10 p.m. Bobby's jammed with notables such as Sly Stone, Billy Preston, Booker T, Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Santana to list a few. This guy can play the four strings as funky as anyone and can read a groove like the best stylus out there. I'm not sure on the cover charge for this show, but you'll get your money's worth.
The funky jazz of locals Ultra Secret will return to the Mad River Brewery Tap Room at 6 p.m. tonight. They can hit the tight changes all while keeping you guessing what's coming next, and all while doing it free of charge. Throw 'em a tip when you find the time. Local troubadour Chuck Mayville — whom I constantly rib in this column — will be back at Gallagher's in Old Town Eureka tonight at 6 p.m. playing originals and covers. Although he's playing for free, if you leave a large enough tip, he may cover REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling." Local folk trio No Pardon brings its music and songs to the Humboldt Brews stage at 9 p.m. tonight to support fellow locals and five-member Americana band Rogues' Gallery. It's only $5 for these two talented bands; get there early to catch both sets. I spoke with drummer Tommy Fitzmaurice this past weekend about a recent gig he sat in with Eyes Anonymous, cranking out the hits from the '80s — needless to say he had a blast. Drummer Tyler's back on the kit and you can catch this '80s Mercedes for the Ladies in the Wave Lounge tonight at the Blue Lake Casino and Hotel at 9 p.m. and for free.
The Humboldt Folklife Festival kicks off with music starting early today at the Mad River Brewery. Americana-trio Kingfoot starts it off at 2:45 p.m. followed by Thursday Night Bluegrass and The Detours and all for free. They'll get you warmed up for the continual live music provided by the HFF all week. It's also Pints for Nonprofits and $1 of every pint you buy goes toward the Folklife Festival. Blue Lake keeps it going as the sun begins to set with music at The Logger Bar from Wild Otis. This one almost slipped by under my radar but thankfully guitarist Rick gave me a heads up about the show (thanks for nothing, Dan). They'll be starting it up around 9 p.m. or so and you'll hear some roots-country tunes from their recent release of Don't Let Me Fall. It's a free show, and if you like what you hear, grab a copy of the album. Playing until 1 a.m. Sunday morning, Nighthawk will be slaving away for your entertainment at the Blue Lake Casino if you don't feel like calling it on Saturday. It's also at 9 p.m. and also free. Although not in Blue Lake, MRB band the CropDusters are opening up the Doll-Con burlesque show at Humboldt Brews around 9:30 p.m. Start with the band, stay for the "pop culture themed burlesque/geeklesque show" all for only $13.
It's Annie and Mary Day at the Humboldt Folklife Festival in Perigot Park this afternoon starting at noon. You'll hear from the Timber Ridge Boys, That Buckin' String Band, No Pardon, Gatehouse Well and The Detours. And all for free! Lizzy and the Moonbeams will be over at the Mad River Brewery starting around 5:30 p.m., if you haven't gotten your fill. They're kind and playing for free as well.
Above-mentioned Rick of Wild Otis also informs me that his other band The Low Notes will be performing at Jazz Night for the Folklife Festival in Dell'Arte's Carlo Theater at 7:30 p.m. I don't know the exact order of the lineup but joining them will be the RLA Trio with Francis Vanek, along with The BluntSide Quintet. It's $8 for non-members and $6 for Folklife members.
Missed The Low Notes last night? They're at it again but tonight at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room at 6 p.m. for free. It's Songwriters Night for the Folklife Festival and it'll be hosted by Jan Bramlett and featuring Leah Grams Johnson, Ryan Bisio, Scott William Perry and Rachael Beccaria at 7:30 p.m. in the Carlo Theater at Dell'Arte. Again, this one's $8 unless you're a Folklife member, in which case it's $2 less. Art-punker Harrison Smith, also known as Turtlenecked has a new album out and is on the road and stopping by The Outer Space in Arcata this evening. I didn't catch the exact time or price of this show, but I did see that he's touring with label-mates Cool American.
Piet Dalmolen is up at the MRB Tap Room doing his loopy solo guitar thing at 6 p.m. for free. He likes beer. Help him out with that. At the same time, don't forget it's also Huckleberry Flint night ... err, I mean "Under the Stars" Night in Dell'Arte's Amphitheater, featuring some bands that aren't Huckleberry Flint and then Huckleberry Flint. Oh, I kid the other bands, you're important, too — it's just that everyone loves HF so much and this is pretty much the only show they play each year. If you want to be as beloved, don't play so much. For you musicians who catch the show, know that Huck Flint has a lot going for them but pay attention to their dynamics — that's what separates the best from the rest. While you lie on the grass, drinking your beer and/or wine, staring at the stars awaiting HF, you'll be treated to the also-awesome Kenny Ray and the Mighty Rovers and Rogues' Gallery. This is one of the treats of the Folklife Festival and easily worth the $10 ticket price, much less the $7 for members. If you miss this show tonight, just know that you can catch Huck Flint next year at the Folklife Festival this very same night (couldn't help myself). Legends in their own right, Split Lip Rayfield are coming to our fair county tonight and stopping by Humboldt Brews at 9:30 p.m. These fellas have been at it for over two decades and blend together bluegrass, country, punk and metal all together into a hell of a good time. Fans will know this $10 ticket price is a rare deal.
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. That's all, folks.