We have a busy week this week. The Redwood Coast Music Festival will be in full swing from Thursday through Sunday with live American roots music invading Eureka venues with a passionate intensity matched only perhaps by the tidal drift of neighboring Humboldt Bay. The bands and details are too many to mention in this little column, so please visit the website at www.rcmfest.org to get the facts straight.
Meanwhile we have workshops and group jams, punk shows and spoken word collaborations, miniature hybrid orchestras and fusion funk acts filling the outer edges of our taut little bubble. What did we do to deserve such toothsome musical bounties? I believe that our essential low-rent mysterious and je ne sais quoi nature goes a long way to attract the right sort of folks. I'll share an anecdote as a means of explanation.
Monday night I was at a friend's dirty-30 birthday party. It was a mostly quiet event with nice people in one of those little students- and-locals compounds in Arcata which economic necessity has caused us all of a certain generation to live in. Dogs roamed around, a baby played and good discussions popped up all over the room in eddies and ripples. Then a visiting friend of the birthday boy offered to entertain us. He pulled out his Roland SP 606 — a sort of sequencer/sampler mother box — and began working through his compositions. Sequenced beats were changed up on the fly as he invoked melodic splendor through impeccably sampled and manipulated sound and music passages. He was live editing with rhythmic button mashing and dial-drifting that would paint "impressed" on the face of any thumb-pianist or tabla player while we all sat or stood in rapt attention. I found myself in a mesmeric trance brought on by the music and the hypnotic sight of the man's stretched earlobes, empty of adornment at the moment, wiggling in time to the beat like cutout fleshy chevrons. No one spoke until he dropped the last note of the last beat and everything just stopped perfectly. He thanked us, we thanked him and thus the trinity was complete: a great artist playing to an appreciative crowd in a beautiful place. Perfect.
Have a splendid week.
It's a punk rock showcase at The Little Red Lion as Long Beach's Melted headlines the night (price TBA). The show is filled out by local heavies Dead Drift and the delightfully named Clam Hammer at 7 p.m.
If your tastes are more in tune with the softer side of the rainbow, Americana folk trio The Real Sarahs play a free show tonight at Phatsy Kline's at 8 p.m. Local violinist and non-Sarah Megan Graham will accompany these harmonizing ladies based out of Mendocino County.
YAMS presents another night of fine local music for free at 9 p.m. when funk and dance outfit The Apiary hits the stage at The Jam. It's also half-priced-pint night so if you are one of those beautiful monsters who can dance on a belly full of beer — lord knows I can't — this event would seem tailor-made just for you, my pretties.
The Westhaven Center for the Arts presents a "psychedelic Indian hootenanny" at 7 p.m. as local 10-piece Kirtan plays an evening of music that includes classic spiritual hippie rock covers from the Forrest Gump generation, as well as funky grooves, blues jams and chanting. ($5-$20 sliding scale). It's a mini-orchestra of old-school crossover psychedelia designed to decalcify whichever gland you want awakened.
Over in Eureka at 9 p.m. Portland poet John Dooley and Humboldt's own Mister Moonbeam team up for an evening of words set to music as part of a CD and book release party at Synapsis showcasing the former's newest work ($5).
The Outer Space has a loud one tonight when San Diego's Therapy rubs shoulders with local bangers The Cissies and Smooth Weirdos. It's April 7, for $7, at 7 p.m. You dig?
Meanwhile in Eureka, there's a special Art's Alive going on as Redwood Coast Music Festival presents Rhythm and Roots as local folk, rock and Americana groups play in various Old Town venues starting at 6 p.m. as a free part of the Redwood Coast Music Festival happening across various Eureka venues from Thursday through Sunday. Participating bands for this one include Kingfoot, The Anna Hamilton Trio, Sunny Brae Jazz with Nola Pierce, The Yokels and many more, all cut from the traditional music cloth and jamming from Synapsis to the Vance Hotel. Wander around and see what strikes your fancy. I'll be doing the same.
And finally, tonight at 9 p.m. at The Miniplex, come cut a rug to the Afro-funk stylings of Lovebush, a mutant offspring of Fela Kuti and '70s Motown groove sounds and not some perverse tribute to the worst political dynasty of the 20th century ($5).
Chi-town's Zigtebra has its genesis in the LGBTQ dance scene where members Joe Zeph and Emily Rose met in a troupe called Pure Magical Love. It plays the Outer Space tonight at 7 p.m. with support from local reformed shoegazers Persephone and singer-songwriter duo Blood Honey filling in at the last minute for another fine local act, Chuliya one of whose members is out a travelin' ($5).
An ongoing music meet-up is going down at The Sanctuary this evening as the participation-heavy Eastern European and Balkan music seminar continues for its second week at 7 p.m. There's a $6 one-time drop-in fee or $20 for all six Mondays, though sources suggest the price is somewhat negotiable/donation based.
The Logger Bar hosts a free old-time music jam tonight at 8 p.m. so grab your favorite vintage instrument and roll on out to Blue Lake to join the fun.
Speaking of Blue Lake, that big bright casino has some fun planned tonight as Humboldt's reggae and dub act Woven Roots plays a free show in the Wave Lounge this evening at 8 p.m. If you are in the mood for something friskier, you can experience Australia's approximation of an endless bachelorette party by following whichever of your senses will lead you at the same hour to the casino's Sapphire Palace room and to the baby-oiled, toned and tanned bods of the men in Thunder From Down Under. I won't go near the show with a 10-foot crocodile pole but don't let boring and pale old me decide your fate for you. With a ticket price ranging from $30 for general admission to a five-person $250 VIP package, there is bound to be an experience awaiting any worshipers of Eros to Adonis to grown-up Ganymede and all points in between.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collin Yeo guesses that this must be the place, "this" being Arcata, where he lives.