According to my Facebook friends, November is about two things: mustaches and gratitude. Men, I hope you've been able to meet your facial hair goals. With regards to the expressing appreciation theme, here goes: Despite the onslaught of press releases relaying all the crime and horror surrounding us, the fact is, Humboldt County remains a sweet place to live. Walk away from the computer, go play in the sand at Luffenholtz, cruise your family up to Fern Canyon for a hike, take your girlfriend down to Loleta Baking Company for a grilled cheese and some soup, and make sure to fling yourself out to one of the shows happening in our consistently quality music scene.
Back to the beat
Whether leftover turkey or tension needs working off, Saturday offers a fine selection starting with Butch Clancy at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. The Motown native is best known for street dancer Marquese Scott's performance to his interpretation of Foster The People's "Pumped Up Kicks" — 78 million YouTube views and counting. But the hip-hop, house, dubstep remix genius has a ton of other credits to his name, including headlining over 20 dates across the U.S., winning Beatport Play's remix contest with a rendition of Zeds Dead's "Cowboy," Ellie Goulding commissioning an official rework of her single "Anything Could Happen" and Steve Aoki hand-picking Clancy's "Where I Can't Follow" to feature on a forthcoming Dim Mak compilation.
Doors open at 9:30 p.m. and $15 limited advanced tickets are available at People's Records, DTA, Wildberries, The Works and via relentlessbeats.com. This show is 21-and-over.
Over at the Alibi, as usually happens on Saturday nights, some rock 'n' roll for the modern age. You've got your Big Days of Tundra, Macktown mathcore heroes, plus Portland's Lahontan Cutthroat, which is not only the band's name, but also that of a threatened fish native to the Eastern Sierras and Nevada's state fish. The two-piece band has a track called "Lucid and Rambling," which, in addition to being a finely restrained chunk of musical grunge, sums up the general vibe of Lahontan Cutthroat's Tumblr as well. For example, from the band's last stop in Arcata: "... Sam and I decided to grab a drink at a cafe called Blondie's. Turns out they were hosting an open mic later that night. So we showed up, played last, blew some eardrums and it was all gravy on a biscuit. Soon as we packed up, the illustrious and formidable Justin Tuttle took us to his good friend Ray's casa where we proceeded to drink and be merry. To all our surprise, an hour later, we were unexpectedly dosed with acid (it was in the vodka; a joke Ray's friend had played on him earlier in the week without his knowing ... go figure). Naturally, that left us all a bit confused, but no worries as it turned into quite a beautiful evening."
You can have your own beautiful evening with the shaggy-haired travelers for a mere $5. Things get going around 11 p.m. and, yes, as always, it's 21-and-over, kids.
Dance, dance your cares away
Continuing our theme of Saturday-brings-it-back-with-a-vengeance, three different dance options lie in wait for those the legal drinking age and above. First, Missing Links Records' venerable Soul Night at Humboldt Brews. This month's theme is, appropriately, Tryptophan Pajama Jam. Tickets are $5 and, as always, going fast. Music starts around 9 p.m.
Around the corner, the Jambalaya hosts "a hard core German Sparkle Party" in honor of Tamtam's and Qaiel's birthday. Electric Gravy starts things off with some hip-hop improv at 10 p.m., followed by the heavy, synth-laden, hip-hopera trio Space Biscuit, who promises songs about all sorts of "twisted fantasies." DJ Chris Que closes with a sure-to-be-juicy dance set. Cover's $5.
Finally, you got your free electro-soul dance party with WurlyBird at The Logger Bar in beautiful downtown Blue Lake at 9 p.m. With all this, you'll need a seriously legit excuse to stay home Saturday night. After all, your body needs to move, and our local clubs and promoters have made sure you've got choices. Thanks, guys!
Rest up on Sunday, because this is happening on Monday
Coming up on Monday — whoa, it's December! — Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears return to Humboldt Brews. The band's latest album, Electric Slave, was produced in large part by Grammy award winner Stuart Sikes (White Stripes, Cat Power, Modest Mouse) and recorded at Church House Studios in Austin. Three of the new tracks were recorded and produced by John Congleton (Explosions in the Sky, St. Vincent, Okkervil River) at Elmwood Studios in Dallas. They bring it, folks, they bring it. What is it? A smokin' sexy vibe, of course, like all the best live music, and a deep understanding of the place where Southern soul meets Midwestern blues and vagabond punk — given that Lewis calls Austin home, it's no surprise. What's more unlikely is the way he channels both the rhythm of James Brown and the rawness of Iggy Pop in a one-two punch that'll knock you silly. Be prepared to get down. Radkey and Think No Think kick things off around 9 p.m., tickets are $15 and you'll want to get them now.
Keller Williams returns
In more get-your-tickets-ahead-of-time news, the Arcata Theatre Lounge presents the very popular Keller Williams on Thursday, Dec. 5. From the beginning, fans have raved about Williams' solo live shows — and his ability to improvise to his determinedly quirky tunes despite the absence of an actual band. Once he began releasing recordings, starting with 1994's Freek, Williams was embraced by an even wider community of music fans, particularly the jam band crowd. Dream, Williams' 2007 release, found him in the company of such iconic musicians as the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir, banjo master Béla Fleck, bass great Victor Wooten and many others. You've definitely heard him on KHUM. Tickets for this one will run you $20 in advance (People's, Wildberries, The Works, arcatatheatre.com) and $24 at the doors, which open at 8 p.m. Music starts around 9 p.m. Show is 21-and-over.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Eight Days a Week calendar and online. Send your show info and high-res photos to email@example.com. And I hope your days, whatever you do with them, are lovely ones.