While I spend a few hours on Sundays putting together these very insightful, informative and professionally written columns, I take some time to listen to some of the artists who are playing during the upcoming week and familiarize myself with the ones I'm not, well, familiar with. In chatting with a former music writer for this paper, Bob Doran, during the North Country Fair, he mentioned having a difficult time writing his column The Hum recently when the Internet went down. We laughed about how reliant we've all become on technology and how, for a lot of us, being productive is tied up with a stable Wi-Fi connection.
Sunday rolls around and as I work on this column, my Internet goes out. The will to live immediately leaves our children and as I screw around with our router, I realize I'm not able to preview music from many of the artists listed below. I wait it out a bit — wondering if Bob somehow jinxed me — and fill in some information while I assume the benevolent gods of broadband — and of my shitty router — will rectify the situation.
I recently replaced my old, dead record player. Without getting into the slow decline of my player (circa 1976), I've slowly been dusting off my old LPs, amazed at how many are still in great shape. Pink Floyd's Ummagumma? Sounds great. Willie and Family Live? It's still got it. E.L.O's Into the Blue? Not sure where sides 3 and 4 disappeared to but it's holding up. My son came into my office and saw this strange black 12-inch disc spinning clockwise on my desk. After explaining that this was, in fact, a new record player — it starts with the push of a button! — and not the old one fixed up, he asked how it worked. I can't pretend I did a good job of explaining but he found the whole concept pretty interesting (similar to a child in a natural history museum). He then asked something like, "Is this how you used to listen to music before YouTube?" I couldn't help but laugh (and cry on the inside) and simply answer, "Yes."
The Internet sputtered back on. Then off again. This went on for a few minutes. I initially got excited, then frustrated as it shut off again. Eventually I stopped caring. All the while, the perfect black circle just kept spinning at 33¹/³ rpm. Never slowing and never stopping.
Bass playing, Motorhead lovin' Dan Davis of Wild Otis tells me that not only will the WO be playing at Mad River Brewery this evening around 6 p.m., but that the band is celebrating the birthday of guitarist Norman Bradford at the gig. So if you needed a reason to head to Blue Lake and party, here's your opportunity. It's a free show, so feel free to buy Norm a beer or bring presents. In Arcata at The Jam, you'll find an "electro-soul dance party" gettin' you groovin' around 9 p.m. courtesy of Wurlybird and Blacksage Runners. This party is only $5 but get ready for a blast. The Soul Rebels have been skipping around continents this year — so far only missing Africa, South America and Antarctica — playing with artists such as Nas, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Marilyn Manson, Joey Bada$$, Big Freedia and Lettuce, I'm told. Well, they're bringing their funky soul to the Van Duzer around 9 p.m. with heavy-hitter Talib Kweli for only $35. Grab a ticket before they run out.
While trying to wrap my head around what an "underground music scene" truly is — a state of being where unfamous bands gig? — I hear that Balkan Beat Box exploded out of said scene in 2005 with its self-titled debut. With electronic beats and bass married to "Mediterranean-inflected" and Eastern European melodies, this show is geared to please us Westerners who want to dance and groove, but feel like we're hearing/learning something from another culture. $25 will get you into this show where doors open around 9 p.m. In the Eel River Valley you can find The Undercovers at Bear River Casino around the same time for free where they'll bring you your favorite hit songs spanning multiple decades. Farther north, you'll be able to hear the sounds of Jimi Jeff and the Gypsy Band at Cher-Ae-Heights Casino, also at 9 p.m. and also for free.
For those of you looking for some bluegrass — and beyond — the Humboldt Hills Hoedown at the Mateel in Redway is the place to be. Folks there are celebrating their 12th year of putting this on and have some great local (and regional) talent hitting the stages. You'll be able to catch the likes of April Moore & Ranch Party, Midnight North, The Real Sarahs, The Shook Twins, Cliff Dallas & The Death Valley Troubadours, Hillstomp, and Curly Wolf just to name a few on the indoor and outdoor stages. Doors open at noon, with music starting around 12:30 p.m. $25 will get you into this all day event with vendors, a kid corral, barbecue and a bar for those of you over 21. The Old Steeple in Ferndale is opening its season up tonight with Mendocino Folk Duo Gwyneth Moreland and David Hayes at 7:30 p.m. Great songwriting paired with Van Morrison's former bass player means you'll be in for a treat, and all for only $20 in the Cream City. Bob Doran tipped me off to a hardcore punk show with punkers from Finland who've been going strong since 1982. Riistetyt are visiting us so give 'em a nice Humboldt welcome and throw down $7 to help get the band back home. The Finns are joined at the Little Red Lion in Eureka by Komatose, Cross Contamination around 8 p.m. If you're at the top of the hill in McKinleyville, you'll be able to hear music from locals The Movers and the Shakers around 9 p.m. for free. Feel free to leave 'em a tip. You late night rockers will find some melodic doom from Portland via Young Hunter down at The Alibi tonight at 11 p.m. The band is joined by local "igneous rock" band Ultamafic and $5 will get you in the Alibi doors.
It may be the middle of the week but that doesn't mean you can't get your sweat on tonight at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. World Famous and Lucid Dream Lab are presenting the Weird and Wonderful Tour with sets by Liquid Stranger, Bleep Bloop, Perkulat0r and Shlump (shlump day, anyone?). Music will be around 9:30 p.m. and drop a Jackson — soon to be a Tubman — to get in the doors.
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.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Night Show on KWPT 100.3 FM weeknights at 6 p.m. He likes to spin right round baby. Right round. Like a record baby.