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Green Fire

Humboldt Green Week, Humboldt Fire, The Skatalites, Dark Star Orchestra, fifth of World Famous and an EPIC gala



So, we're heading into another Humboldt Green Week. The now-annual celebration heralds the coming of spring and all things green and growing as we approach the stoner holiday 4/20 (April 20), a week from Saturday, and Earth Day, April 22. (It's a long week.)

It's a collection of loosely related events promoted by a loose assemblage of businesses and nonprofits, some working on ecological issues, some serving the burgeoning indoor/outdoor growing industry, some just music promoters whose patrons like stony, earthy music. As the organizers put it, Green Week "celebrates Humboldt's passion for gardening, the arts and live music," any kind of music, from electronica and soul to jambands, reggae and African dance.

It begins this weekend with the second annual Humboldt Garden Expo, Saturday and Sunday afternoons (noon to 5 p.m.) at Blue Lake Casino, where you'll find the latest supplies for whatever it is you want to grow. There's a parallel Family Arts Day Saturday at the Morris Graves Museum of Art, with kids doing projects with recycled and re-used materials.

Then Saturday night Jamaica's legendary The Skatalites play a Green Week show at the Jambalaya. The Skatalites are the prototypical ska band, the guys who invented the hiccupping genre a long, long time ago -- in the early '60s. At this point most of the original line-up is dead or retired. The exception is Lester Sterling, now 76, a trumpet/sax player who has been playing music professionally since 1957. He helped form The Skatalites in 1964 and was part of the reformation in 1984 when Britain's two-tone movement renewed interest in ska. The band, still going strong with mostly younger players, just released a new album, Walk With Me. Since DJ Gabe Pressure is a major fan, you know he'll be there to spin some classic ska 45s, even though Pressure Anya has a second gig that night at the Ritz, part of a whole weekend of shows celebrating Anya's birthday.

There are a lot more Green Week events this weekend, including tours of Humboldt Regeneration Brewery, a Friends of the Dunes "Get Outside" gear sale on Sunday, and an afternoon of dance with Mami Wata West African Dancers at the Graves, also on Sunday. (See www.humboldtgreenweek for a full schedule.) And there are more big Green shows next weekend (see next week's Hum).

The other major Green concert this coming week is a Passion show with Dark Star Orchestra on Monday at the Eureka Theater. DSO is the quintessential Grateful Dead tribute, a road tested machine that's been touring since 1997 with a specific concept. Don't expect the Dead's "hits." As explained on the DSO website, "On any given night the band will perform a show based on a set list from the Grateful Dead's 30 years of extensive touring," using that as a launching pad for Dead-style jams. The show is early (7:30 p.m.), which leaves time for an official after-party at the Red Fox with funky electro-jammers Moo-Got-2.

Not officially affiliated with Green Week, but along the same lines: Thursday's third annual Humboldt Fire Pin-Up Party at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. The local rolling paper company always throws a great bash. This one is a fundraiser for the Humboldt Music Project featuring Snarky Puppy, a very cool jazz/funk/world music collective out of Dallas/Brooklyn with a big sound. Gregg Moore of the Humboldt Music Academy has arranged an afternoon session for interested music types: Show up for sound-check at 4:30 p.m. and a few band members (presumably including founder/bassist Michael League) will explain how the Snarky fusion of genres works. Adding to the fun that night: music by local world music combo Vidagua, dancing by Beat Vixens, juggler Steven Weven's Humboldt Fire Rolling Contest, a photo booth, an auction and raffle, and the Humboldt Fire Pinup Girls dressed in 1940s-era attire (the whole party has a '40s theme).

The Humboldt Fire Girls will also be on hand for EPIC's Spring Gala Saturday at the Arcata Community Center, the annual bash supporting the local green warriors. It starts with a New Orleans-style feast with jambalaya, collard greens and the like (along with appropriate cocktails), but if you're on a budget you can skip dinner and just come for the (really good) music. The headliner, Petunia and The Vipers, is a truly fine honky tonk combo out of Canada. Anyone remember the late Ray Condo and his Ricochets? The Vipers are some of the same guys, but with Petunia (a dude) out front yodeling and channeling Jimmie Rodgers, Elvis and Woody Guthrie. Sharing the bill: Sour Mash Hug Band, a quartet from San Francisco, now based out of New Orleans, with a red hot mix of ragtime, gypsy jazz, klezmer and jug band music. Epic fun all around.       

Mochipet, the EDM producer in the cute dino suit, returns to Humboldt Thursday for a different sort of show at Nocturnum. He explains, "The new live show is an ever expanding project I started working on this year. I basically got tired of doing the Ableton Live/DJ thing that's become so prevalent today, so I started incorporating more instruments, visual projections and other secret gadgets to my set." He's touring with Zoogma, an improvising EDM-meets-rock quartet; Selector Science opens.

Same Thursday at the Jambalaya, Sound Culture 004 brings more electro-beats with Hellfire Machina, Zaggasaurus, Piper and Astro Tarot filling the dance floor.

World Famous party-master Matty Roberts marks the fifth anniversary of World Famous Productions Friday with a really big show at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. It starts during Arts Arcata (6 p.m.) with an art talk by mystic visionary artist Alex Grey and his wife Allyson. Later it's a blast of electronica by some WFP faves, EPROM, Andreilien, B. Bravo and The Starship Connection, with Alex and Allyson back for live art, visuals by Johnathan Singer, lights by Beams, ambiance by Ambird and bass-heavy sound by Basscraft. In between there's an exclusive catered dinner/meet 'n' greet where you can hang with the whole crew; check for details.

Soulful Humboldt expat Berel Alexander returns for a live recording session at the Red Fox Friday backed by cellist Mike Lee and keys king B-Swizlo among others. Berel's buddies Jesi Naomi and The BoomKats open (another Green Week event BTW).

The ComiX Trip Tea Party on Friday at HSU's Campus Center for Appropriate Technology is another fundraiser is for the in-progress ComiX Trip movie with comedians, Knee High Puppet Co. and music by Green & Lilac, Lyndsey Battle and Ka'le Dreams, plus a bit of ComiX Trip.

Friday is Arts Arcata night, which means some of the usual suspects all over town. Around the time the art walk wraps up (9-ish) you can catch the amazing Senegalese kora player Youssoupha Sidibe and his band The Mystic Rhythms at Om Shala Yoga above Humboldt Brews.

HSU's various jazz combos play two concerts Friday night in Fulkerson Recital Hall, first up (at 7 p.m.) three bands: The No-Chordtet, Twice Around The Thing and Matt Engleman's Musical Man Family Friendly Gang Band. Part two (at 9 p.m.) has two bands: The Hip Replacements and La Musique Diabolique. You can also hear La Musique Diabolique on Saturday at the Arcata Library, where the gypsy jazzers play for a jazzy book sale.

Ready for some wild ass country-ish rock? Brett The Truck plays a rare full band show Saturday night at the Logger Bar with Gunsafe opening.

Saturday is also the launch of what may be the greenest thing around, the Arcata Farmers' Market. Opening day music comes from Cajun faves The Bayou Swamis. Laissez les bon temps roulette!


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